Story by Brock Ormond
Photo: OJHL Images/Wellington Dukes
Lucas Lapalm broke out of a goal-scoring slump in a big way for the Wellington Dukes on Sunday.
The 19-year-old Stirling-Rawdon native broke open a tie game with a tally in the final three-and-a-half minutes to cap off a three-point afternoon and lift his team to a 4-3 victory over the Haliburton County Huskies.
The win snapped a small two-game losing skid for the Dukes.
Wellington was held off the board for the fifth full period in a row in the first after being shut out by the Toronto Jr. Canadiens on Thursday, despite outshooting Haliburton 15-9.
Jacob Vreugdenhil got on the board early in the second frame, depositing a centering pass from David Campbell underneath Huskies goalie Aidan Spooner’s right leg for his 19th of the year.
Ryan Cutler then finished off an odd-man rush by steaming toward the Haliburton net and redirecting a Lapalm shot over Spooner’s left shoulder for his first as a Duke.
Ryan Smith drew the second assist on both tallies.
After being held off for the better part of 40 minutes, the Huskies responded with two quick goals in under a minute from Leo Serlin and Ben Hofstetter to even the score.
Wellington never relinquished control however and re-established the lead on Lapalm’s first of the day.
He accepted a long pass from Julien Jacob and aced a shot through Spooner’s pads for his 19th of the year.
Quinte Red Devils graduate Trevor McDowell added his first assist and point in a Wellington uniform on the goal.
Jack Staniland blew by the Dukes defence to equal the count again a little less than two minutes into the third and set the stage for a chaotic finish.
After missing on a powerplay, Wellington fell behind five-on-three for more than a minute after back-to-back penalties, but survived thanks to airtight penalty-killing, great goaltending by Jacob Osborne and a bit of luck with Haliburton’s top goal scorer Ty Collins hitting a post.
Lapalm was left alone to convert the game-winner through Spooner’s legs on a shot from the left faceoff circle to give the Dukes the win with 3:28 remaining in regulation.
Cutler added a helper for his second point of the afternoon, with Nolan Mozer contributing on the scoresheet as well.
The big two points gave the Dukes their 25th win of the season, and first against Haliburton in three tries.
Final shots were 38-37 Huskies, with Osborne denying 35 of the visitors chances for his 11th win of the year.
The Dukes will do a quick turnaround to face another East Division rival, the Cobourg Cougars at 7 p.m. Monday at Cobourg Community Centre.