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September 10, 2017
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Story by Brock Ormond


The Wellington Dukes earned a split of their season-opening weekend road trip Sunday afternoon with a hard-fought 3-2 victory in Milton over the Icehawks.


Coming off a offensive battle with the Burlington Cougars the day before, the Dukes looked to work a shutdown game against an Icehawks team that won only four games in 2016-17. The Icehawks didn't prove to be pushovers though and they managed to crack the goose egg first over eight minutes into the contest.


Lucas Kells buried a shot past Dukes goalie Pierce Nelson, with assists going to Kevin Shirmaly and Paul Spadafora. Wellington would answer back a bit later in the period as captain Colin Doyle potted his third goal in two games past Milton goaltender Noah Battaglia. Belleville native Zach Uens picked up his first OJHL assist and point on the marker and Jackson Arcan added a second helper. The score would remain tied into the intermission, with the Dukes outshooting Milton 17-10.


Wellington pelted Battaglia with 17 more shots in the second period, with the Icehawks backstop continuing to hold steady against a strong attack. Eventually, Arcan would break through with his first goal of the season at the 12:03 mark of the period, with assists going to Doyle and Eric Uba. The Thornton, Ont. native missed the first game against Burlington due to a suspension carried over from the previous season, but made up for lost time in this game with his two points. Minutes later, Andrew Rinaldi was hauled down on a breakaway and was awarded a penalty shot. The younger brother of ex-Kingston Voyageur and current Union College Dutchman Anthony Rinaldi made zero mistake in beating Battaglia for the eventual game-winning tally and his first OJHL goal.


The Dukes didn't slow down in the third frame, continuing to control the pace offensively, but the Icehawks wouldn't go away quietly. With 2:48 to play, Brandon Lucchesi slipped the puck past Nelson to move Milton to within a goal, with assistance from Kells and Shirmaly. That would be as close as the hosts would get though, and the Dukes tacked their first victory in the win column.


For the second straight game, Wellington blasted at least 50 shots on the opposing goal in a dominant offensive effort. Highlighted efforts came from Doyle once again, Arcan and Rinaldi. Pierce Nelson was solid at the other end, stopping 29 of 31 Milton shots for his first OJHL win.


With their first win behind them and three out of four points in the bank, the Dukes can feel confident heading into  their home opener with the Kingston Voyageurs next Friday. Game time is 7:30 p.m. from the Essroc Arena.

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