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March 4, 2017
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Despite finishing 15 points behind the Whitby Fury in the OJHL's Northeast Conference standings – and having not won a single regular season matchup against them – the Wellington Dukes earned a pair of big victories in the first two games of their quarterfinal series on Thursday and Friday nights. Here's a recap of those first two games.


Game 1 - Thursday, March 2 – Dukes 3 Fury 0

After going 44 regular season starts without a shutout, Dukes goaltender Connor Ryckman posted up his first 'goose-egg' of the season with a 32 save performance on Thursday night in a 3-0 victory.


Whitby native Mitchell Martan made his home at Iroquois Park Sports Centre in his minor hockey days and showcased his comfortability with the rink by scoring a pair of goals, including the game-winner at 15:29 of the second period from Austin Labelle and Evan Foley. Martan's second goal was a perfect shot on a two-on-one with Brayden Stortz to add some insurance, with Nic Mucci earning the secondary assist. Colin Doyle finished the scoring off with an empty-netter from Brody Morris as the Dukes stole home-ice advantage away from the Fury.


Unfortunately for the Dukes, they lost recently-committed Hunter Gunski for Game 2 after a blocked shot to the face. Final shots favoured the Dukes 33-32.


Game 2 – Friday, March 3 – Dukes 3 Fury 2 (OT)


Despite the loss of one of their top defenseman, the Dukes earned a gutsy victory Friday. Colin Doyle scored the final goal for the second straight night – this time at the 12:49 mark of overtime – to give the Dukes a second win in a row in the series.


After a scoreless first, Ryan Taylor converted a goal just six seconds into a powerplay with Austin Labelle in the penalty box. Morris answered back for Wellington with a powerplay marker of their own to knot the score with less than two minutes to play in the second period.


Stortz got on the board for the first time in the postseason following his 37-goal regular season to give his team the lead 1:17 into the third. The lead was held until with five minutes and change left in regulation on a Ryan Heeps goal that would force overtime.


Both teams went back and forth in the OT period, forcing Ryckman and Fury goaltender Austin Cain to make some brilliant saves to keep their teams in it. Stortz and Morris set-up Doyle for his heroics late in the fourth frame, as he beat Cain on a goalmouth scramble.


With the Game 2 victory, the Dukes are halfway to a second straight second round appearance following four consecutive first round exits. The Dukes get a lengthy rest before Game 3 Tuesday night back in Whitby.


Story by Brock Ormond

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