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DUKES SHELL SPIRIT, STILL FALL BY ONE
January 27, 2017
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Just like December 18's 2-1 loss on home ice, the Wellington Dukes threw everything in their arsenal at the Stouffville Spirit and netminder Aaron Taylor, but fell just short, by only one goal. This time, they lost 4-3.

 

A wild first period saw six goals bulge the twine and some rough stuff to go along with it. First, Tyler Kulba was sprung for a breakaway by Josh Argier and beat Dukes goalie Victor-Olivier Courchesne glove side high. Less than a minute later, Nic Mucci tied things up with his 24th of the season on a strange bounce from Brayden Stortz and Brody Morris. Mucci then took a stick in the face from Taylor on the next shift with no penalty call. He would get the Gormley, Ont. native back though almost halfway through the period when he buried a loose puck past him for his 25th of the year and then got in his face with a few choice words. It garnered him an unsportsmanlike penalty, which Argier scored on from Kulba shortly after. The Spirit would then take the lead on an Andrew Hughes marker from Brody Jennings and Connor Evans late in the frame, before Mucci batted home his 26th goal of the campaign for his hat trick from Stortz and Colin Doyle in the dying seconds of the period on the powerplay. The eventful period came to an end with the Dukes having outshot Stouffville 11-9.

 

For the second frame, Connor Ryckman was slotted in place of Courchesne after a tough first period. Both teams had their opportunities with the Spirit getting a couple of odd man rushes while shorthanded, including a Josh Argier breakaway that Ryckman turned aside. The Dukes also had several great chances that Taylor stood tall on. It took until the final minute of the period before another goal was scored, as Joseph Visconti beat Ryckman on a short side shot from Jack Varga with 46 seconds to go. Wellington outshot Stouffville by a large margin in the frame, 21-8 for a 32-17 total heading into the final period.

 

The Spirit locked things down in the third, with Taylor continuing to steal the show. The Dukes did get two goals called back against them in the frame, which stunted their momentum. Their 18 shots in the period was simply not enough, despite their best efforts. Final shots favoured the Dukes 50-28, as Taylor's 47 saves gave him 102 total stops in the last two game in the County.

 

Wellington falls to 24-17-1-3 with the loss, staying stagnant at 52 points, two behind Kingston for fourth in the East division and sixth in the Northeast Conference. The team will hit the road to the GTA, facing the North York Rangers for a 3 p.m. matinee affair.

 

Story by Brock Ormond

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