The Wellington Dukes fell victim to a comeback at St. Mike’s on Friday but the locals played a little comeback tune of their own on Monday night in Cobourg to salvage their weekend set of road games.
While only gaining two of a possible four points looks bad on paper for a team with designs to take the top spot in the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Southeastern Conference, Wellington was able to keep pace with the leaders of the loop.
Although the Dukes (30-8-2, 62 points) trail East Division and Conference leading Trenton by three points, Wellington has three games in hand and can still boast the Confrence’s best overall winning percentage at .775. This all sets up a massive weekend for the Dukes as the club enters four point game territory of the 2019-20 campaign.
Wellington hosts league-leading Trenton on Friday night and then entertains the Toronto Patriots for the CHCH OJHL Game of the Week on Saturday afternoon. Puck drop for the afternoon affair on Saturday is 3:00 p.m.
On Friday Wellington would surrender the game’s first goal just under 90 seconds into the contest but quickly answered as Justin Paul’s seeing eye shot from just inside the blue line slipped past Buzzer netminder Sebastian Lebora’s blocker at the 5:10 mark.
The locals would get the only goal of the second and it came on the heels of an impressive penalty kill where Wellington denied the Buzzers any kind of easy zone entry.
Evan Miller cruising to the loose puck would fan on his attempt but Brodie McDougall would follow up the play and beat the St. Mike’s goalie to the glove side to make it 2-1 Wellington at 7:28 of the second.
That lead would last until early in the third period when Brad Somers laid a puck into the slot area and found a streaking Evan Tanos who back handed the puck past Wellington starter Matt Keeley at 3:21.
Tied 2-2 inside the final minute, the game seem destined for overtime but the Buzzers had different ideas.
Just after Labora would rob Dylan Massie on a one timer effort from the high slot, the Buzzers turned in some offensive zone time into a Ben Lawrick goal. The Mississauga, ON native who gave up the puck that allowed Wellington to jump ahead 2-1 sent a shot through a maze of legs and past Keely with just 31 seconds left to put the Buzzers ahead to stay at 3-2.
Heartbroken on Friday, Wellington made sure they were the heartbreakers and points takers on Monday in Cobourg.
Despite outshooting the Cougars 34-16 through two periods, the Dukes found themselves heading towards the second intermission down 2-0. With time winding down in the second, Frank Vitucci 25th of the campaign set the stage for a third period offensive explosion. Massie would set up Jake Gagnon 29 seconds in to tie it and the Dukes pulled ahead to stay exactly 40 seconds later when Ben Evans put a puck past Ethan Robertson.
Evan Miller checked in with his fifth of the campaign at the 3:20 mark and then fired a dagger to the heart of the Cougars with a power play goal at 8:5 that made it a 5-2 final in favour of Wellington.
While Wellington won the contest, they did lose the services of a couple of key forwards.
Evans has a four game sit down thanks to a physical abuse of officials misconduct and White, acquired from will have to wait a day to make his Wellington Dukes debut as he will sit out Friday’s game thanks a gross misconduct involving head gear.
Wellington should have the services of goaltender Matt Dunsmoor Friday who was undergoing some lower body maintenance this weekend.