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January 22, 2017
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Following a difficult divisional loss on Friday night to arch-rival Trenton, the Wellington Dukes rebounded in large fashion Sunday afternoon, pounding the Lindsay Muskies 8-2 at the Duke Dome.


Brayden Stortz scored a hat trick to reach the 30 goal mark, notching goals 29, 30 and 31 on his season and adding a single assist to boost his league-leading point total to 71 on the season. Linemate Nic Mucci also scored four points on the afternoon, with two goals and two assists to help pace the Dukes' offensive attack.


Stortz opened the scoring at 11:46 of the first frame with Mucci drawing one assist and former Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL) defenceman Bryson Michel picking up the other helper, his first as a member of the Dukes. Shots were even 12-12 after one.


Wellington would break things wide open in the second, as they would get four goals about three-and-a-half minutes apart, with a Muskie goal wedged in. Stortz scored his second and third markers of the game, split between a Ryan Smith goal from Lindsay. Mitch Mendonca and Mucci would score less than a minute apart and over three minutes later, Rory Milne found twine on a long shot that handcuffed Muskies 'tender Sean Green. That goal would chase the overager from the game in favour of Tyler Richardson. The Dukes held on to the 6-1 lead after two, with a heavy 23-10 shot advantage.


The Dukes collective foot did not let up one iota from the gas pedal in the third, as Mucci (with his second of the contest) and Evan Foley both scored to add to the big lead. A Noah Dollo goal rounded out the scoring as consilation. The Dukes cruised to their 22nd win of the season with a total shot advantage of 49-33, 14-11 in the third.


Wellington goes into the OJHL Winter Showcase on a high note, as they now sit just two points back of fourth in the East division and fifth in the Northeast Conference behind idle Kingston. The Dukes and Voyageurs will play each other Wednesday afternoon at 4:30, but first, they will get set to tangle with the Aurora Tigers at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night at the Duncan McDonald Memorial Gardens.


Story by Brock Ormond

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