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February 10, 2017
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The Wellington Dukes have seen stellar goaltending all season in 2016-17 from Connor Ryckman, especiailly in big divisional games.


As per usual for the Minesing, Ont. native, he came up large once again on Friday night in Trenton, shutting down the host Golden Hawks 2-1 on the strength of 44 saves.


The mighty G-Hawks threw everything they had from start to finish at the Dukes goal, including 13 in a tight first period. Wellington got on the board first in the fourth and final installment of the Battle of Quinte when Thornton, Ont. product Jackson Arcan rolled off the right wing half wall and ripped a clean wrist shot underneath the blocking arm of Trenton netminder Elliot Gerth. Arcan's eighth of the year was helped out by defencemen Keegan Ferguson and Mack Warren. The late goal held up into the intermission, with the shots at 13-9 Trenton.


Both teams continued to press in the second frame, with Trenton contiuing to fire some high-grade shots on Ryckman. The Dukes would get a fortunate break almost halfway through the period at 9:30 when a missed opportunity from Michael Silveri escaped out through the neutral zone and into Trenton territory. Rory Milne caught up to the rolling disc and slapped a knuckler over Gerth's left shoulder for his eighth of the season, unassisted. Trenton answered back a minute-and-a-half later when Lucas Brown finished off a pretty tic-tac-toe play between himself, Michael Silveri and Jordan Chard. Brown's 29 of the season came at 11:02 of the period and sparked some momentum in the G-Hawks. Dawson Baker came back less than a minute later and shoved in a loose puck in the G-Hawks crease, which appeared to have tied the game. However, after an official consultation, the goal was waived off due to a kick-in, keeping the score at 2-1. Shots in the period again favoured Trenton 19-7.


Ryckman was on the ball once again in the third, turning aside chance after Trenton chance, including a few powerplay opportunities. The Dukes penalty killing work proved to be sharp the entire game as well, with special accolades going to Colin Doyle, Austin Labelle and Brayden Stortz. Trenton's number one ranked powerplay shot blanks on eight opportunities in the game, thanks to the full team effort from the County guys. The G-Hawks won the shot advantage 13-6 in the third period and 45-22 for the game total, but it was a solid effort top to bottom from Wellington that earned them their first victory in the season series.


Wellington improves to 28-18-1-3 and handed Trenton just their third regulation loss on home ice in the process. The Dukes also jump into a tie with Kingston for fourth in the east division with 60 points. Their next game will be on home ice Sunday afternoon as they take on the Lindsay Muskies for the final time this season at Essroc Arena.


Story by Brock Ormond

Photo by Ed McPherson, OJHL Images

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