Prince Edward County’s Newspaper of Record
June 14, 2024
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Sports
February 28, 2024
Volume 194 No. 9

Dukes go reeling

Dukes sweep away Muskies in home-and-home series to stay in the hunt for home ice advantage in the playoffs
<p>(Left) Wellington Dukes Pana Efraimidis and (Right) Zander Latreille celebrate (Centre) Nick Dipaolo’s<br />
first period breakaway goal in the club’s 8-1 win at home over the visiting Lindsay Muskies on Sunday.<br />
(Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)</p>
(Left) Wellington Dukes Pana Efraimidis and (Right) Zander Latreille celebrate (Centre) Nick Dipaolo’s first period breakaway goal in the club’s 8-1 win at home over the visiting Lindsay Muskies on Sunday. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

By virtue of a pair of lopsided wins over the Lindsay Muskies, the Wellington Dukes are very much in the thick of things when it comes to the second seed in the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s 2024 Buckland Cup playoffs.

The Dukes beat the Fish 8-2 in Lindsay on Friday, then replicated the rout with an 8-1 win on Sunday in Wellington. The decisive victories move Wellington to a record 34-18-3, good enough for 71 points and a share of second place in the Eastern Conference.

The Dukes narrowly missed a stroke of good luck Sunday as the Pickering Panthers were leading the St. Mike’s 3-2 with under five minutes left — but the Cats couldn’t hold off the Buzzers and lost in overtime.

That game will likely factor into the final standings when the dust from the 2023-24 regular season settles this weekend.

Wellington got off to a hot start Sunday afternoon, scoring on the powerplay to break the ice. Dmitiri-Alexander Tzaferis’s 12th of the season whistled past a screened Ethan Fraser at the 7:54 mark for a 1-0 lead.

The Dukes doubled down just over three minutes later when Connor Hunt fired home a Corey Jewitt feed from the corner. Mr Hunt then went spiralling into the Lindsay goalie, setting off a brief donnybrook.

Wellington was shorthanded when the Muskies finally solved Dukes’ starter Shane Shelest. Brandon Nye’s 11th of the season came at 14:58.

But the Dukes restored their two-goal lead with just under two minutes left in the frame as Nick Dipaolo was provided a breakaway. Mr. Dipaolo, a recent commit to the NCAA Niagara Purple Eagles for next season, beat Mr. Fraser to the glove side to make it 3-1 Wellington.

In the second, the Dukes kept up their scoring pace and a chippy contest quickly turned into a blowout.

Mr. Hunt spotted Mr. Jewitt lurking at the far faceoff dot and the Wellington’s leading goal scorer snapped home his 28th of the year on the power play at 8:48.

Wellington Dukes forward Zander Latreille tries to tip Pana Efraimidis’s shot past Lindsay Muskies netminder Ethan Fraser. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

Zander Letreille extended the Dukes’ lead to 5-1 at 11:28. Mr. Jewitt scored again at 16:43 and then Ethan Quick got his 16th of the campaign with just over a minute left in the second stanza.

In the third, Austin Montgomery scored on the powerplay to give the Dukes eight goals on the afternoon, matching their offensive output two nights prior in Lindsay.

Big win on the road

On Friday night at the Lindsay Recreation Complex, the Dukes got on a roll late and cruised to an 8-1 win.

A pair of goals by the host Muskies bookended eight straight tallies by Wellington. After Tyler Johnston beat Jack Lisson at the 5:03 mark of the first, Wellington went to work reeling in the Fish with authority.

Josh Rumolo’s point blast on the powerplay at 17:36 tied the contest at 1-1.

Just 47 seconds into the second, Mr. Hunt fired home his 24th of the season to establish a Dukes lead that would never be in doubt.

Mr. Dipaolo and Sacha Trudel would also beat Mr. Fraser in the second to make 4-1 Wellington after 40 minutes.

Mr. Hunt’s second of the night came on the powerplay and opened the third period scoring at 5:17.

Colin Smith, Ethan Quick and Ben Vreugdenhil would light the lamp inside the final ten minutes of the period to make it 8-1 Wellington before Kyle Grasby converted a feed from Mr. Johnston with 3:59 left in the contest.

Wellington makes their first visit to Nature Fresh Farms Recreation Centre in Leamington on Thursday for the first ever meeting between the former Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League franchise and the Dukes. The locals will end the season in Southwestern Ontario and be relegated to score board watching as the OJHL wraps up its 2023-24.

After the Dukes are in Leamington, the Flyers then travel to St. Mike’s on Friday. The Buzzers then take on the Toronto Jr. Canadiens on Sunday.

This text is from the Volume 194 No. 9 edition of The Picton Gazette
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