Wellington on cusp of East Division title

Edward Moskowitz scored the game winning goal in Lindsay Friday night at the Dukes shaded the Lindsay Muskies. Wellington has a one point lead atop the East Division heading into the final week of the 2022-23 OJHL regular season. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)


The Wellington Dukes missed out on an opportunity to put more daylight between themselves and the Haliburton Huskies but the locals remain in the driver’s seat to claim the top slot in the East Division and second overall in the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s South East Conference. 

Wellington (35-12-5, 75 points) have a one point lead on the Huskies entering the final week of the 2022-23 regular season along with a game in hand on the Dogs.

Wellington bested the host Lindsay Muskies Friday night 3-2 and subsequently lost a 3-2 decision in Trenton on Sunday evening.

For Haliburton, it was a tough weekend as they were blown out by the Toronto Jr. Canadiens 7-1 at home on Saturday and then dumped 6-4 by the Menace in Milton on Sunday.

Jacob Osborne (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

Wellington hosts Lindsay on Friday and then travels to Oakville on Saturday.

The Huskies host North York on Saturday. 

Wellington needed every bit of offence they could muster and some  hard work and puck luck down the stretch in Lindsay to stave off the Fish.

After a scoreless first, Wellington’s Corbin Roach converted a Julien Jacob feed at 12:49 of the second to break the ice and give the visitors a 1-0 lead.

Early in the second, former Duke Will Mitchell came back to haunt his former club setting up Zack Lewis at the 2:06 mark to make it 1-1.

But the Dukes mustered their offensive forces and captain Jacob Vreugdenhil would score a go ahead goal just under three minutes later to restore the one goal cushion. 

The Dukes would successfully kill off a minor penalty with just over five minutes left in the contest and then added an Edward Moskowitz solo effort goal with just over 90 seconds left in the game to make it a 3-1 score.

Wellington would need an insurance marker as Lindsay would score with an extra attacker on the ice but that was the final but of fighting from the Muskies as Wellington net minder Jacob Osborne shut down any other volleys sent his way and preserved his 16th win of the season.

On Sunday, Wellington and Trenton played close through 40 minutes with the hosts getting a goal midway through the third to claim the final instalment in the Battle of Quinte 2023 edition.

The teams traded goals in the first with Matt Cato beating Osborne at 2:29 into the period to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.

Vreugdenhil would answer just over 10 minutes later, putting a David Campbell-passed puck through Ben Bonisteel to make it 1-1.

In the second, Wellington established their first lead of the game when Barrett Joynt scored at 2:28 to push the locals ahead.

Cato would add his second of the contest on the power play with less than two minutes left in the frame to make it a 2-2 tie.

In the third, Sami Douglas-Najem would break the tie game with a blast from the blue line at 10:49.

The Dukes would be afforded a 6-on-4 scenario to finish the game thanks to a Trenton penalty but the OJHL’s top power play unit came up empty.

Assuming the Huskies beat the Rangers, Wellington needs a single win or two regulation points in their last two games to claim the East Division.

That would lead to Wellington taking on St. Mike’s in the opening round of the Buckland Cup playoffs. Slipping into third means a date with the Toronto Patriots is more likely although the Pats could possible leap frog the Cobourg Cougars leaving the Dukes with a date with the Cats.