Story by Brock Ormond
Photo: Ed McPherson/OJHL Images
A hard-fought game ended with an unfortunate result for the Wellington Dukes.
Toronto Patriots captain Zach Ophoven forced a turnover outside the Dukes blueline and crashed the net, knocking it slightly ajar right as Nolan Ling buried the centering pass for the double overtime winner in a 2-1 victory over Wellington.
Both goaltenders, Jacob Osborne for Wellington and Toronto’s Chris Quizi, stole the show with several quality stops to give their respective teams a chance to win.
Ryan Nichols broke the scoring open with a tally on a rebound while stationed in front of the Dukes cage with five minutes or so left in the first.
That lead stood for a bit thanks to some brilliant saves by Quizi, including one where he reached post-to-post to rob Matheson Mason and another where he gloved a close-range shot from Ed Moskowitz.
Eventually the Dukes broke through for the tying marker at 13:48 on a powerplay from David Campbell.
The Sault Ste. Marie native’s goal was a highlight, as he toe-dragged around a Pats defender, pulled to the backhand and raised it over Quizi’s left shoulder.
Jacob Dietz and Luke Lapalm drew the helpers on Campbell’s 13th of the season.
The third period and first overtime came and went without any goals, despite both teams’ best effort.
Toronto’s heroics came exactly two minutes into the second extra frame, with Ophoven driving the net and putting a pass out to Ling for the winner.
Wellington argued to the officials that the net was off before the puck was in the net, but the goal stood.
Osborne made 29 saves in the defeat, with Quizi denying 33 Dukes opportunities.
The Dukes did earn a well-deserved and important point despite the loss, moving to 52 on the year and into sole possession of third place in the Southeast Conference with a 24-8-2-2 record.
Wellington is off the rest of this weekend but will have a key matchup with the conference-leading Toronto Jr. Canadiens at Lehigh Arena on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.