Story by Brock Ormond
Photo: Ed McPherson/OJHL Images
A tight battle between the two Quinte-area OJHL teams in Game 1 of their conference final series is setting the stage for a thrilling series.
Special teams and goaltending were the keys in the Trenton Golden Hawks 3-1 victory over the Wellington Dukes at Lehigh Arena.
The G-Hawks dug deep and found a way to kill off five straight penalties, stumping the Dukes top-ranked powerplay and put another dent in Wellington’s struggling penalty kill with a game-winner on a man advantage of their own from Adam O’Marra.
Ben Bonisteel of Trenton and Wellington’s Jacob Osborne were both stellar in the first 40 minutes, keeping each team’s threatening offensive attacks at bay.
Neither team broke through until 1:29 into the third period, when Jaden Raad stormed into the Dukes zone and put a feed off Duncan Grube’s skate and in.
The Barrie, Ont. native, who was credited with the winner in Game 7 versus the Toronto Jr. Canadiens in Round 2, notched his second of the postseason.
Wellington had a quick answer just 11 seconds later however, with Luke LaPalm continuing his hot run of play with his fifth tally in five games on the rebound from a Matheson Mason shot.
Edward Moskowitz drew the secondary assist on that marker.
After a slashing penalty taken by Jacob Dietz, the G-Hawks went to work on the man advantage, with Nathan Oickle setting O’Marra up for a lightning-fast release off the far post and in over Osborne’s glove for the clinching goal.
Jordan Fuller chipped in a helper as well, as he and O’Marra both extended their respective point streaks to three games.
Bonisteel shut the door from there, with Zev Podolski’s empty-net tally in the last minute of play sealing the win.
The shots were deadlocked at 32, with Bonisteel making 31 stops for the first star, and Osborne saving 29.
Game 2 is set to be a barnburner, as the G-Hawks aim to take a 2-0 series in front of what is sure to be a loud Duncan McDonald Community Gardens on Saturday at 7 p.m.