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PATS EDGE DUKES IN GOALTENDER'S DUEL
December 10, 2016
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The Wellington Dukes and Toronto Patriots engaged in a feisty battle on Saturday night, with the host Pats coming out on top 2-1.

 

The goaltenders stole the show in this game, with former Kirkland Lake Gold Miner Victor-Olivier Courchesne performing brilliantly in the Dukes' cage in his first start in the red and blue and Cam Gray matching him in the Patriots' net.

 

For the third straight game, there were goose eggs on the board after one period of play with the Patriots outshooting Wellington 14-6. The second period was even in pace of play, with the Patriots outshooting the Dukes again 12-10 and the score squared at one. Two minutes and change into the frame, Eric Eremita would find Dante Spagnuolo out in front of the Dukes net and the Newmarket native beat Courchesne from in tight to give the hosts an early lead. Nik Kalpouzos added the other assist on Spagnuolo's sixth of the year. The Dukes tied things at the 8:48 mark of the stanza when Brody Morris forced a Patriots turnover, sent Colin Doyle into the attacking zone, who found Brayden Stortz streaking in. Doyle hit Stortz with a perfect pass and the overage forward snapped a hard and quick shot past Gray to earn his 20th goal of the season and team-leading 52nd point.

 

The score remained tied until with 5:45 to play in the third when Lee Lapid scored on a bit of a controversial play. The Patriots worked it down low and got the puck to the net, where Lapid crashed the crease, bumping Courchesne in the process, and slid the biscuit through. The Dukes protested, but the eventual game-winning goal stood. Wellington made a solid push at the end, but it was too late, as the Patriots hung on to win. Toronto outshot Wellington 13-11 in period three for a total of 39-27. Things also got a little feisty near the end, but cooler heads would prevail in the end. Despite the defeat, Courchesne played admirably in his Dukes debut, making 37 saves and giving regular starter Connor Ryckman a much needed – and deserved – rest.

 

Wellington falls to 17-11-1-2 with the loss, remaining tied for fourth in the East division with idle Kingston. They will finish off the pre-Christmas portion of their schedule with three consecutive home games, including "Pink-in-the-Rink" night next Friday versus those Kingston Voyageurs in a very important divisional battle. The Dukes ask fans to wear pink to support breast cancer research. The team will wear pink jerseys to be auctioned off during the game and all proceeds will go to charity. Come out and support this worthy cause!

 

Story by Brock Ormond

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