With fresh faces behind their respective benches on Saturday, both Prince Edward County Junior Hockey teams won their opening games in the 2023 preseason schedule.
In Renfrew on Saturday night, the Dukes saw five different goal scorers as they skated away from the Wolves 5-2. Earlier in the day, the new-look Picton Pirates were also 5-2 winners. They bested the Campbellford Rebels in a neutral site game in Cobourg.
Dukes bench boss Kent Lewis had to be satisfied with his club’s effort as Wellington clicked on the power play twice in a solid road effort.
With the game tied at 2-2 midway through the contest, Cowansville, Quebec native Sacha Trudel found Hayden Pimm at the 12:53 mark of the second stanza putting Wellington ahead to stay.
Trudel, who had 28 points in 49 games for the Pembroke Lumber Kings last season, sniped his first of the preseason in the last ten minutes of the game to add some insurance.
Wellingon’s Corey Jewitt added a shorthanded empty-netter in the late going to finalize the score.
The clubs split the first period 2-2. Dimitri-Alexander Tzaferis and Jack Nolan lit the lamp for Wellington.
The Dukes started Nolan Lane who made 15 stops in the first half while Jack Lisson was spotless in the back half, making 18 saves — 14 in the final 20 minutes.
Wellington resumed their exhibition slate on Wednesday in Cobourg where they took on the Cougars. The Cougars return the favour on Friday as they come to Lehigh Arena for a 7:30 p.m. puck drop.
Meanwhile the Pirates saw preseason success on Saturday with new bench bosses Jeff Diamond and Greg McMurter running the Picton lines.
The Pirates got outstanding goaltending from 18-year-old Jayden Tang. He kept Picton in the game early, making 17 saves in the first period.
Picton got on the board first when Jack Osborne beat Campbellford starter Brayden Freidrich at the 3:12 mark to make it 1-0.
Rebels forward Jacoby Martin would tie the game just over a minute later but a power play goal off the stick of Zack Dewar at 7:46 of the opening frame had the Pirates in front 2-1.
In the second, it was the Ellis show.
Campbellford’s Ryan Ellis would score a power play goal to square the affair at 2-2 but the Pirates and Owen Ellis had two goals in under a minute to put Picton on top to stay.
The Campbellford Colts product would net a shorthanded marker at 16:59 of the second thanks to helpers from Luke Amat and Liam Rice.
At 17:35, Mr. Amat would set up Mr. Ellis on the power play with Mr. Rice getting his second helper of the game to make it 4-2 Picton.
The Pirates had the only tally in the third as Mr. Rice picked up his third assist on Napanee native Mr. Osborne’s second goal of the day just three minutes into the period.
Mr. Tang made 20 saves while Eric Csizmadia had five saves on six opportunities in relief.
The Pirates are back in action on Sept. 11th when they travel to Amherstview for a pre-season tune-up with the Jets.