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January 6, 2017
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For the second straight game, the Wellington Dukes fell behind by two goals and had to make a comeback, but this time came up just short, losing 4-3 in double overtime to the Markham Royals.


Following a 6-3 come-from-behind win over Newmarket on Thursday night, the Dukes came out flat against the Royals on Friday night, getting dinged for two Sam Hu goals in 17 seconds in the opening two minutes of the contest. Brayden Stortz would get one back for the Dukes off some hard corner work from Nic Mucci, his 25th of the season. Shots favoured Markham 12-6.


After a close-checking first half of the second frame, former Cobourg Cougar Russell Nowry blasted a drop pass from Josh Hardiman low blocker-side past Dukes goalie Victor-Olivier Courchesne 10:37 into the period. The Dukes pulled back to within one on a Justin Bean one-timer through the wickets of Marcus Semiao on a late powerplay. Mitch Mendonca set up Bean for the marker and Brody Morris added the secondary assist. The Dukes also rebounded to overtake the shot count, outshooting Markham 18-8.


An exciting, back-and-forth third period saw only one goal scored, but it was a big one for the host team. A cohesive effort from Nic Mucci (to hold the puck in on a Markham clearing attempt), Brayden Stortz (to grab the puck and center it to the middle) and Colin Doyle (to receive the pass and put the puck top shelf) clicked perfectly to tie the game up at three. Doyle's eighth of the year came at 4:18. That set the stage for just the second overtime game played at the Duke Dome this season and the first since the Dukes' home opener back on September 9. Shots were even 11-11.


Opportunities were abound for the Royals in a pressure-packed overtime period, but Courchesne shut the door to hold them out. With 45 seconds remaining in the period, Mendonca took a costly checking to the head penalty that would carry over into the second overtime frame. Markham outshot Wellington 6-1 in the period.


That penalty would burn the Dukes just 1:07 into the second OT period, with Laine McKay hammering a feed from Royals captain Lucas Condotta past Courchesne into the back of the Dukes net. The goal gave Markham their fifth overtime victory in six games this season.


Wellington falls to 1-3 in overtime and 20-12-1-3 for the season. They remain tied with the Kingston Voyageurs for fourth in the East division with 42 points. The Dukes will take their three points on the weekend out to Toronto and historic St. Michael's College Arena, where they will face the host Buzzers for the one and only time this season.


Story by Brock Ormond

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