Three games in less than three days proved to be a bridge too far for the Wellington Dukes this weekend.
Wellington (16-10-2) were able to pick up wins over visiting Aurora and host Stoufville Friday and Saturday evenings, respectively, but couldn’t find high gear against the Oakville Blades at Lehigh Arena Sunday.
In front of just over 500 fans Friday, Will Mitchell and team leading scorer Cory Jewitt each had a pair of goals to lead the locals over the visiting Tigers.
Towards the end of the sloppy first period where neither team could apply pressure, Mr Mitchell would collect a Pana Efraimidis pass with under four minutes to play in the frame.
Connor Hunt’s team leading 14th goal of the season under 30 seconds later would be more than enough to pace Wellington to a win.
Jack Lisson would make 35 stops in picking up his second OJHL shutout.
On Saturday in Stouffville, Wellington starter Shane Shelest was able to stifle the Spirit with 28 saves including a clutch penalty shot stop with the contest in doubt in the late going of the final stanza.
Wellington staked themselves to a 2-0 lead through 20 minutes thanks to Ben Vreugdenhil and captain Will Whelton who cashed in his first OJHL tally at the 13:30 mark.
After a scoreless second, former Trenton Golden Hawk Duncan Grube would finally solve Mr. Shelest on a Stouffville power play with under seven minutes remaining.
The Wellington goaltender was whistled for a delay of game penalty with under two minutes to go, providing the opportunity for the Spirit’s Peter Kioussis to take a penalty shot with 1:39 left in the game and the score 2-1.
The Stouffville shooter cruised through the hashmarks and tried low glove side on Mr. Shelset but the Quebec native denied Mr. Kioussis with a left pad save.
With just over half a minute left, Sacha Trudel would bag his fifth of the season into a vacated Stouffville net.
On Sunday, The Blades and Dukes would play in a penalty-filled contest that saw each team receive nine power plays.
Oakville would break the ice in the second when Gleb Akimov would score on the man advantage at the 7:09 mark. Just under 90 seconds later, Luke Johnston’s 11th would give the Blades a two goal lead.
Wellington would finally get to Gavin McCarthy at the 17:37 mark on the power play to give the Dukes some life but the Oakville goalie was sharp down the stretch as were his teammates in front of him. The Dukes would only manage four volley over the final 20 minutes and Jack Churchill’s shot in a gaping Wellington net with under a minute to play sealed the scoring at 3-1.
Mr. Lisson took the tough luck loss, making 31 stops.
Wellington is back in action on Friday when they host the St. Mikes Buzzers. On Sunday, they are in Niagara Falls to play the Canucks.