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DUKES CLAIM PENALTY-FILLED WIN OVER SPIRIT
October 6, 2017
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When the dust settled from a game that featured 71 minutes in penalties, the Wellington Dukes came away with a 5-3 victory over the Stouffville Spirit 

 

Wellington would get on the board first 8:25 in when Colin Doyle buried his sixth goal of the season on a rebound from a Zach Uens shot on the powerplay. Doyle did a great job of winning the faceoff and going straight to the net to hop on the available puck. Mitchell Martan drew the secondary assist. Stouffville tied the score a little later on when Quinton Wheeler cleaned up a mess left by Thomas Tinmouth for his first goal as a member of the Spirit. Despite the tie score, the Dukes dominated the majority of the first frame, outshooting Stouffville 12-0 at one point and finishing with a 17-12 advantage.

 

The play of Stouffville goaltender Nathan Torchia continued to be a factor in period two, as he made several high-area saves, including a sliding stop to rob Daniel Panetta of his second goal of the season. Andrew Hughes fired home a powerplay goal top shelf to give the Spirit their only lead of the game at 9:25, but it didn't last long. Mitch Mendonca batted in a loose puck past Torchia to tie the score from Andrew Rinaldi and newest Duke Ben Evans three-and-a-half minutes later. The score remained deadlocked after 40 minutes, with Wellington outshooting Stouffville again 19-10.

 

3:25 into the third, Mendonca went upstairs on a nice setup from Eric Uba and Declan Carlile for his second of the night and third of the year to give the Dukes the lead. The penalty trouble continued for both teams though and Dawson Ellis of Wellington received the biggest blow of them all, receiving a five-minute major penalty and a game-misconduct for a check to the head of Stouffville defenceman Justin Mahabir. The host side dodged a major bullet on the kill, allowing just one goal from Adam Petric to tie the score once again. Moments later, the Dukes caught a break when Jacob Breckles went off for tripping and they took advantage. Montreal, Quebec product Andrew Rinaldi struck quick just five seconds in when he walked into the slot, made a nice toe-drag and whipped a backhand shot through Torchia's pads to give the Dukes their eventual game-winning goal. Evans would ice the game with a nifty empty-net goal for his first as a Duke with 39 seconds remaining. The Dukes completed the win and the clean sweep in the shot count, with a 15-9 advantage in the third for a 51-31 total.

 

Mendonca's three points earned him first star honours and stellar games from Evans, Rinaldi and Doyle helped lead the County club. Pierce Nelson was also steady in net, stopping 28 of 31 shots for his third individual win of the year.

 

With the win, the Dukes are now unbeaten in seven games, the stretch including six wins. They will move to a Northeast Conference-best 8-1-1-3, with 20 points. They'll continue their Thanksgiving weekend with a home game Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. versus the Markham Royals.

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