If nothing else, it was decidedly an “Up and Down” weekend for the Wellington Dukes.
After posting a mid-week win over the host Pickering Panthers Tuesday afternoon, the stage was set on Saturday at Lehigh Arena for the CHCH nationally broadcast OJHL Game of the Week on Saturday afternoon.
All the trappings of a Canada wide showcase were present-a throng of kids learning hockey jerseys in the stands, good attendance of over 500 souls watching on and plenty of accessory events such as a mid morning public skate with the players.
The only snag on the day for the Dukes was the outstanding play of Lindsay Muskies net minder Yacine Chemrouk. The Montreal native rode into Wellington as one of the hottest goalies in the loop, having post three straight wins for the middle of the road Muskies and backstopped his club to a 2-1 upset over the host Dukes.
But on Sunday, the Dukes had their ‘Up’ moment as they were able to down the host Trenton Golden Hawks in overtime 2-1 thanks to a Ryan Smith tally in the extra session.
The win leaves the Dukes with a 23-8-3 record with a home game against Markham on Tuesday night remaining as the final contest in 2022.
Wellington’s week started off with morning bus ride to Pickering on Tuesday with the Panthers waiting at the Pickering Recreation Complex.
Wellington was afforded an early power play opportunity and at 3:02, Edward Moskowitz was set up by David Campbell for the game’s opening tally.
Pickering’s top sniper Elijah Pilosof would skate up the ice and tie the game just over a minute later and the teams would remain tied through the end of the frame.
In the second, Wellington’s power play unit would go back to work and Campbell was able to find Connor Hunt with time and space and the Centre Hastings native found the back of the Pickering net at the 9:13 mark of the middle stanza.
Midway through the third, former Panther Lucas LaPalm came back to haunt his former team midway through the third when he set up Moskowitz for the Toronto native’s second of the game.
Jacob Osborne made 24 saves in the 3-1 win for Wellington who was 2 for 3 on the power play.
On Saturday, the Dukes Moskowitz would again provide an early jump for the Dukes, firing him his 21st of the campaign at 4:32.
The Dukes would fire 35 pucks at the Lindsay net compared 19 volleys coming from the Muskies and a power play blast off the stick of William Emerson at 4:33 would square the affair at 1-1.
In the third, it was Lindsay pushing through at Everson would set up Cole Patey at the 9:50 mark to put the visitors ahead 2-1.
Despite a valiant push by Wellington, Chemrouk was brilliant and preserved the one goal margin.
On Sunday in Trenton, Osborne was solid early in the game, allowing Wellington to get their legs going.
Late in the first, a point shot off the stick of Ethan Sullivan skipped off a Trenton Golden Hawk and eluded Ben Bonisteel for the game’s opening goal with just 1:11 left in the opening frame.
Early in the second, Trenton found the net as Osborne made a sprawling save to deny Zev Podolski’s back hand attempt from in close. The rebound came straight to Adam O’Marra who wasted little time in depositing the puck behind Osborne at 2:03.
Neither team would score in the third setting up a wild overtime that saw both clubs miss on glorious chances in the opening minute to end the game early in the 4-on-4 frame.
Early in the first five minute session, a broken play in the Trenton end allowed Ryan Smith to gather the puck and beat Bonisteel high to the glove side to give the Dukes the valuable extra point and take a 2-1 lead in the 2023 Hasty P’s Cup.
After Tuesday’s home game against the Waxers, the Dukes are back in action Fri. Jan. 6, 2023 against the Toronto Patriots.