The Wellington Dukes have historically been known as a club that’s strong up the middle and that strength will be on display this season as the club has two of the best netminder in the entire Canadian Junior Hockey League minding the mesh mansions at Lehigh Arena.
The club announced late last week that Matt Dunsmoor, 20, is returning to the club for his final season of junior hockey. As it stands currently, Dunsmoor will be one half of the Wellington tandem this season with 17-year-old Kingstonian Ethan Morrow. Morrow, a 2020 draft pick of Sudbury of the OHL, may or may not make that squad club when Major Junior teams test out prospects later this month.
The Guelph native was with the Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey and saw action in seven games in that loop’s abbreviated season.
Prior to his sojourn to the far end of the St. Lawerence, Dunsmoor turned in perhaps the finest season a Wellington Dukes netminder had ever produced. In 2019-20, ‘Dunny’ was stellar for the league-leading Dukes club, posting a 24-5-2 record along with a 2.25 goals against average and a .932 save percentage.
Wellington was looking every part the buzzsaw and the rest of the Ontario Junior Hockey League the logs as the club swept aside the Cobourg Cougars in four games and were ready to take on the arch-rival Trenton Golden Hawks in round two of the 2020 South Eastern Conference championship. Of course, every hockey fan knows what happened next and it appears the Dukes aren’t forgetting that either as the club’s motto is quickly morphing into the concept of “Unfinished Business.” Dunsmoor said exactly that in a message to Wellington Dukes Twitter followers Wednesday afternoon.
“Hey Dukes fans, happy to be back in Wellington again and we’ve got some unfinished business to take care of this year,” Dunsmoor said. Indeed, the hockey club and its faithful are thirsting for OJHL games of consequence to be played Lehigh Arena and opposing rinks this season.
“Matt is a known quantity to us and we are very happy to have him back in our dressing room,” Wellington Dukes Coach Derek Smith said. “He’s the type of goalie that can keep things calm around the net and let your team buy time in case they have to get their feet underneath them.”
Smith added that any experience at the Major Junior level can only benefit a player of Dunsmoor’s skills. Wellington is continuing to work out at Lehigh Arena on a regular basis and is preparing for the start of thier official training camp on Friday, Sept. 10. With OHL teams set to play exhibition games as early as Sept. 3, it appears players attending that wish to keep their NCAA eligibility will be back in OJHL camps well before mid-September.
The Dukes will play six preseason games against three teams that consist of home and home series with Trenton, Carleton Place of the Canadian Central Hockey League and the Cobourg Cougars. Wellington opens the slate Saturday, Sept. 11 at 3:30 p.m. against Trenton at Lehigh Arena. The Dukes are in Quinte West the following evening for a 7:30 p.m. puck drop.
LEDES AT LEHIGH: Former Wellington Dukes scoring star Luc Brown has been picked up by Idaho Steelheads of the East Coast Hockey League for the upcoming season. The Napanee native had 91 points for Wellington in 2015-16 and subsequently attended Union College in the NCAA for three seasons. Brown played seven games in the ECHL last year, splitting time with Greenville and Orlando.