Dukes still searching for consistency prior to home opener

REELED IN Carlton Place’s Ryan Bonfield gets a step on Cole McGuire during Wellington’s 3-1 win Friday. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)



It was another strange weekend for the Wellington Dukes as the club tries to prepare for next week’s opening of the 2021-22 Ontario Junior Hockey League season.

As was the case in a home-and-home set against the Trenton Golden Hawks, the locals looked every bit the perennial OJHL powerhouse within the comfy confines of Lehigh Arena. But upon leaving Prince Edward County, it appears the Dukes left their skill at home as the club was drubbed on the road. This past weekend saw Wellington hook up with the Central Canada Hockey League’s Carleton Place Canadians.

Matt Dunsmoor. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

At home Friday night, Wellington was able to keep the visiting squad off the score sheet through the 58th minute. After a scoreless opening stanza, Wellington would break the ice in the final minute of the second as Mason Reeve’s feed set up Hayden Webster and allowed the Oshawa native to tickle the twine behind Canadians reliever Joe Chambers at the 19:28 mark.

Webster was back at it early in the third with Ethan Quick playing the role of set up man for Wellington goal at 4:28. The Wellington lead would be extended to 3-0 just over three minutes later when Corbin Roach beat Chambers to make the Dukes spread a field goal.

Dukes goaltender Matt Dunsmoor went the distance for Wellington and had a preseason shutout bid going until 18:28 of the third when, with Chambers lifted for an extra attacker, Bill Gourgon finally solved Wellington’s starter to get the Canadians on the board.

In total, Dunsmoor would make 32 stops and Wellington would skate off the ice 3-1 victors.

On Sunday, the Dukes seemed to start off well and the club would beat Chambers twice in the opening five minutes to lift Wellington to a 2-0 lead.

Roach potted his second of the home-and-home set off a turnover and then hulking Emmet Pierce would bat home a Jonathon Balah rebound on the powerplay at 4:10.

Then, something that might have never happened in the history of the Wellington Dukes occurred- Two opposing players registrered hat tricks in the same period. Gourgon and Jake Code victimized Wellington starter Ethan Morrow three times each in the final 14 minutes of the first to give the hosts a 6-2 lead.

Wellington would again score to open a period with Webster redirecting a Quick feed to make it 6-3 for the hosts. But then the flood gates really opened as both goal lights got a good work out. Reid Oliver’s powerplay goal at 7:17 restored a four goal margin. Will Mitchell’s second of the preseason for Wellington at 12:45 started a span of four goals in a little under five minutes but unfortunately the final three were all for the homeside with Derek Hamilton’s volley at 13:21 chasing Morrow in favour of Dunsmoor. A Jacob Vreugednhil powerplay goal in the third was sandwiched by a pair of Canadians tallies that made the final 12-5.

Wellington will finish off the preseason this weekend, hosting Cobourg Friday night at 7:30 p.m. and then travelling to the Cougar den on Monday evening.