February 24, 2017 by Brock Ormond

DUKES END REGULAR SEASON ON LOSING NOTE VERSUS FURY

On a special night for the Wellington Dukes franchise, the Whitby Fury came into the County and spoiled the party, claiming a 5-2 victory in both teams' final games of the season.

The Dukes honoured former volunteer and current Kingston Voyageurs/Kingston Frontenacs' broadcaster Allan Etmanski – who is battling cancer – with a pregame ceremony and fundraiser. The team then went to work on the ice and put the strong crowd of 658 on their feet with a powerplay goal courtesy of Colin Doyle. The Campbellford product's 14th of the year was helped out by Brayden Stortz and Justin Bean. The lead didn't last long however, as  former Duke Nik Coric slid in career-high 23rd goal of the season from John Hudgin and Scott Kirton less than a minute later. Shots favoured the Dukes 15-13 in a back-and-forth period.

Only one goal was recorded in the second frame, as both Connor Ryckman and Austin Cain stood tall in their respective creases. John Hudgin marked down his eighth of the year and fifth as a member of the Fury at 7:42, unassisted. Despite being down 2-1 heading into the third, the Dukes pelted 13 shots to Whitby's eight and showed promise that they would fight ahead.

Things looked good early on in the third stanza for Wellington, as Mitch Mendonca bulged twine just a shade over five minutes in from Austin Labelle and Bean. But it was all Whitby after, as Ryan Heeps scored twice, including once into the empty Wellington cage, placeheld by a Ryan Taylor powerplay goal. Along with the Fury winning by three goals, they also won the shot count, 44-41.

The Fury took all four games in the season series from Wellington with the win Friday night. In addition, Whitby snapped Wellington's five-game winning streak. Despite the defeat, the Dukes finish another successful season with a 31-19-1-3 record and 66 points. Although they are tied with the Kingston Voyageurs for fifth in the Northeast Conference, they will claim the higher seed by virtue of having three more wins than their East rival. They'll turn their sights to the postseason, getting set to face either Cobourg or Whitby in round one. As previously mentioned, the Dukes went 0-4 against Whitby this season, with more success against the Cougars, playing to a 2-2 record.


December 16, 2016 by Brock Ormond

DUKES ROLL OVER VEES IN PINK IN THE RINK NIGHT

A hugely important East division rivalry matchup landed in the Wellington Dukes' favour in big fashion Friday night, as they handed a 7-2 trouncing to the Kingston Voyageurs.

Coming into the game, the two teams were tied for fourth in the East division and sixth in the North East conference with 37 points each, Wellington having earned two more wins. The game didn't start like the two teams were even, with the Dukes dominating the first part of the first period. Brody Morris and Rory Milne notched goals just 29 seconds apart in the first two minutes and change of the game. Morris finished off a tic-tac-toe play with Brayden Stortz and Colin Doyle for his fourth of the year, then Milne found the back of the net on a picture perfect feed from Jackson Arcan for his first goal as a Duke. The Voyageurs rebounded to control the back half of the period however, and got a goal from Adam Kim with Mitch Mendonca sitting in the box. The powerplay marker was Kim's sixth of the year. Kingston's dominating play earned them a win in the shot count, 14-8.

This didn't stop the Dukes in the second frame, as they got off to another hot start to a period. Milne would bury the rebound from a Kyle Prendel shot for his second of the game and the season. 55 seconds later, Colin Doyle showcased his workman's hustle by beating a Kingston defender to the puck and sliding it through the legs of Kingston netminder Ryan Glander. Doyle's sixth of the season chased Glander from the net in favour of backup Zach Springer, but the change in goalies didn't halt the Dukes progress. Morris would rip home his second of the game on a high, hard shot to boost the home side's lead to 5-1. Cole Edwards would cut the Wellington lead to 5-2 late in the frame, but the Dukes still held the three-goal advantage heading into the third. They also outshot the Voyageurs by a wide margin, 25-9.

The County kids would add two more tallies, both hat trick markers from Milne and Morris to round out the scoring. Things would get feisty towards the end, with Mack Warren and Cole Beckstead engaging in some fisticuffs. Then, a big melee broke out following a Keegan Ferguson crosscheck on Kingston's Andrew Suriyuth. In the end, the scrums cost the two teams over 100 minutes in penalties combined.

It was a complete team effort overall for the Dukes on Pink in the Rink night. Leading the way with a four-point effort was Doyle, joined by multi-point efforts from Milne, Morris, Stortz, Arcan and Prendel. Victor-Olivier Courchesne also earned his first win in a Dukes uniform and on home ice, stopping 34 shots in a solid performance.

Wellington improves to 18-11-1-2 and 39 points, taking sole possession of fourth in the East division. The Dukes will now get set to face two North division powers before the Christmas break. They will face the Stouffville Spirit for a matinee affair Sunday at 2 p.m., then will welcome in the Markham Royals Tuesday night at 7:30.