Dukes edge Golden Hawks in first tune up of 2020-21

GONE FISHING- Wellington Duke Jacob Vreugdenhil had the game winning goal against the Trenton Golden Hawks Friday. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

JASON PARKS

STAFF WRITER

The single longest drought between drops of a puck in the history of hockey games being played by junior teams representing Prince Edward County was broken on Friday.

The Wellington Dukes travelled to Quinte West Friday afternoon to take part in an exhibition game against the host Trenton Golden Hawks as the Ontario Junior Hockey League and the governing Ontario Hockey Federation-as all strict guidelines governing numbers of persons in arenas, COVID-19 screening protocols, modified return to play procedures (no bodychecking), etc. – were enforced and permitted such activities.

Just stepping on the Duncan MacDonald Memorial Gardens ice with Ontario Hockey Association officials, battling against another Jr. A organization seems like a major accomplishment considering the path these young athletes have been forced to endure over the past eight months is a significant achievement.

Former Picton Pirates defenceman Jacob Dietz had a goal and an assist in Wellington’s 3-2 win Friday. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

What makes the achievement of actual OJHL hockey actually being played Friday afternoon is that, naturally, the Wellington Dukes were able to recapture a lead and shade the hosts in a 3-2 preseason win.

Wellington built a 2-0 lead through the first period only to see Trenton come back with tallies in the second and early part of the third to tie the contest 2-2.

With time winding down and the game in the balance, Picton Pirates grad Jacob Dietz sprung veteran Jacob Verugdenhil at the 16:41 mark, beating Frankford native Nick McGowan at the 16:41 mark of the third.

After the newly acquired Eli Shiller was prefect through the first part of the contest, the former North York Ranger gave way for Ethan Morrow. The Kingston native surrendered a pair but was solid in the third period, making 17 stops as the Golden Hawks penned Wellington in its own zone, looking for the go ahead marker and, later, pressing for the equalizer.

Wellington took the lead when James White opened the scoring at 4:42 when Ben Woodhouse and Evan Miller teamed up to feed the former Golden Hawk who beat Trenton net minder Oliver Troop.

The Dukes would extend that lead with under 30 seconds left in the stanza as Miller and new comer Tyler McBay fed Dietz who was able to get to a prime scoring position and find a hole in Troop at the 19:32 mark.

Trenton started the comeback past the midway point of the frame when both clubs had changed their goaltending compliment.

Shiller’s night being completed with 26 stops, Jaxen Boyer beat Morrow at 12:30 to get the Golden Hawks on the board.

Just over two minutes into the third, Wyatt George beat Morrow to tie the game at 2-2, setting the stage for Wellington’s late win.

LEDES AT LEHIGH: McBay was picked up from the Cornwall Colts earlier this fall and the Elmira, ON born defender had a pair of assists. The 20-year-old who represented Team Canada East in the 2019 World Jr. A Challenge is heading to St. Lawrence University (NCAA) next season…Dukes fans will recall Shiller, 19, being part of the tandem the Rangers rode into the 2018 OJHL Conference finals along with County native Jett Alexander…Former Duke Frank Vitucci found a home in NCAA Division I hockey with the University of Alabama-Huntsville Chargers. Meanwhile, last season’s starry net minder Matthew Dunsmoor was elevated to the Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.