Sublime goaltending and stingy defence was the order of the weekend for the Wellington Dukes in their attempt to climb into the top of the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Southeast Conference.
Wellington (10-5-2) rattled off three straight road wins away from Lehigh Arena-an impressive feat in itself- and did so with a pair of shutouts.
After opening the weekend with a 7-2 win in Lindsay, Jacob Osborne and the Dukes blanked the host Toronto Patriots on Saturday night 3-0.
Then, in a four point affair in Cobourg on Monday evening, Ethan Morrow came up with his best start of the season, stopping all 21 Cougar volleys in a second successive 3-0 whitewash.
The winning weekend moved the Dukes to within six points of second place Trenton with Wellington holding three games in hand on their arch rivals.
If the Dukes have designs on establishing themselves as one of the power brokers in the Conference this season, the weekend that was will be a milepost they look back on with satisfaction.
On Friday with the game still in question, Wellington exploded in the first half of the third period to effectively lure, boat, stuff and mount the Muskies.
Ahead 3-1, Wellington got goals from Jacob Vreugdenhil, Connor Hunt and Connor Paronuzzi in a 51 second span to push their lead to 6-1.
Lindsay’s Taylor Barnett answered with a goal at 7:18 but Vreugdenhil’s second of the frame on the power play at 9:58 finalized the scoring.
David Campbell and Will Mitchell had big nights, each bagging a goal and a pair of helpers while Barrett Joynt, returning to Wellington after a stint with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks of the British Columbia Hockey League, sniped a short handed goal in the second period.
Morrow stopped 22 in the win.
The next evening, Wellington called on Jacob Osborne and the Ottawa area didn’t disappoint, picking up his first OJHL goose egg although he likely could have played the contest in a barcalounger as the Wellington defence limited the Pats to a dozen volleys on the night.
The Dukes were made a winner at the 14:28 mark of the first when Campbell set up Julien Jacob for a power play goal.
In the second, Ryan Smith counted on another and advantage opportunity to make it a two goal spread.
Finally, newcomer Matheson Mason set up Cobin Roach late in the third to salt the game away for Wellington at 3-0.
After going 2-for-5, Wellington’s power play continued to produce in Cobourg. Campbell would fire a pair of first period power play goals to push the visitors ahead 2-0.
In the middle stanza, Joynt had his second of the weekend to put the Dukes up a field goal heading into a scoreless third period.
Morrow saved his best for last, making a number of big saves in the final frame in his first OJHL shutout since February 5, 2022.
Wellington will look to build on this winning weekend and a four game winning streak with a home contest versus the North York Rangers on Friday.
The Dukes continue their two game home stand on Sunday with an afternoon affair against Mississauga.