Story by Brock Ormond
Photo: OJHL Images/Wellington Dukes
The Wellington Dukes will officially have home ice advantage for the first two rounds of the OJHL Playoffs.
David Campbell’s tally 5:27 into the third period stood as the game-winner as the Dukes nipped the Haliburton County Huskies 3-2 on Sunday to give them their second straight East Division title.
Prior to the game, the Dukes honoured their seven overage players for their contributions to the team this season, and it was their man in net, Matt Dunsmoor, that was steady in net with 24 saves to help the club earn their 34th of the season.
The first period wasn’t an ideal frame for Wellington however.
After Ethan Quick scored on a bank shot off the end boards from Creo Solomon and Jonathan Balah 8:31 into the game, the Dukes fell behind with two late tallies on turnovers.
Will Gourgouvelis kept in a Wellington clearing attempt on a pinch along the left boards and let a shot fly that beat Dunsmoor over the right shoulder at 14:02.
With Wellington on a powerplay, the team struggled to get organized and just before the final minute, Nick Athanasaskos forced a cough up and went in to score on a partial breakaway to give Haliburton County their only lead.
The Dukes made it even on special teams when Jacob Vreugdenhil set up Emmet Pierce for a backdoor conversion to knot the score at two apiece.
The captain’s league-leading 44th goal of the season was made possible by a launch pass from Dunsmoor in the Wellington zone.
In the third, Jacob Dietz led a charge into the Huskies end and set up Vreugdenhil for a direct pass to Campbell, who buried his shot past Christian Linton on the shortside for the eventual winner.
The Dukes finish the season at 34-13-0-7 with 75 points and with Trenton’s loss later in the day, they finish atop the competitive East for the second consecutive full season and third time in the last four full campaigns.
Wellington is set to play the Cobourg Cougars in a best of three Round 1 series that is slated to start Sunday.
The full schedule will be posted once it becomes available.