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December 20, 2016
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The Wellington Dukes ended 2016 on a winning note with a solid 3-1 victory over the visiting Markham Royals in a rare Tuesday night matchup.


Both goaltenders, Connor Ryckman for Wellington and Marcus Semiao were steady in the first period, turning aside a combined 27 shots. Markham had the edge 16-11. Neither team was able to break through on the scoreboard until over halfway through the second frame, when Rory Milne eluded the Royals defence, made a slick deke and slid the puck through Semiao's legs to give Wellington the 1-0 lead. That goal would hold up through the rest of the period, as the Dukes came back to outshoot Markham 17-7 in the period. Brent House and Justin Bean picked up assists on Milne's fourth goal as a Duke.


The goose egg of Ryckman's was broken at the 8:49 mark of the third period on a Sam Hu goal. Hu's 10th marker of the season tied things up and was assisted by Josh Hardiman and Adriano Leone. The turning point of this game however, came at 11:56 of the third with Mitch Mendonca in the penalty box. Off a faceoff, Semaio played the puck behind the net and lost sight of it. Brayden Stortz beat everybody to the puck, wrapped it around the net and stuck it in easily to give the Dukes the lead. Stortz's unassisted, shorthanded marker was his 21st of the year, leading all Dukes, and proved to be the eventual game-winner. Stortz then iced the win with his 22nd goal of the season, and his league-leading 58th point of the year after a great play by Nic Mucci to feed him in the middle. Colin Doyle drew the secondary assist on the empty netter. Shots favoured Wellington 12-9 in the frame for a total advantage of 40-32 for the home side.


Wellington's solid effort was puncuated by Ryckman's solid performance in net. The Minesing native stopped 31 of 32 shots in the victory after giving way for three games to Victor-Olivier Courchesne. Many of those shots were from close range and required some athleticism from the Dukes netminder


The Dukes head into the Christmas Break with a 19-11-1-2 record, good enough for fourth in the East division. They will face Newmarket when they return to action in the new year on Jan. 5. The Dukes organization would like to wish all fans a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and hope you return to support the team for 2017.


Story by Brock Ormond

Photo by Ed McPherson, OJHL Images

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