Dukes edge Spirit in physical game

Story by Brock Ormond

Photo: Wellington Dukes/OJHL Images

A penalty-filled game at Lehigh Arena ended with a narrow win for the Wellington Dukes on Sunday afternoon.

Nick DiPaolo led the Dukes offensive attack with a goal and an assist, including the winning goal at the end of a string of three goals in 50 seconds in the second period to give the Dukes a 3-2 win over the Stouffville Spirit.

Wellington notched all three of its goals in the middle frame after Odaro Ewere opened the scoring on a shorthanded breakaway at 12:45 of the first.

Dimitri Tzaferis answered back with a shorty of his own, blasting a shot off the left wing boards that hit a Stouffville stick and beat goalie Stephen Toltl.

Connor Hunt and Will Mitchell picked up the assists on the Montreal, Quebec native’s seventh of the year.

The Dukes got sparked after Sacha Trudel got in a fight with Stouffville’s Riley Pope while sticking up for his teammate that was hit awkwardly, scoring on the ensuing 5-on-3 on a one-timer from Cory Jewitt.

DiPaolo and Hunt set up the Clinton, Ont. forward’s 15th of the year.

The Spirit responded with another shorthanded tally on the second half of the five-on-three from former Duke Cam Kosurko 29 seconds later, but DiPaolo hit back 22 seconds after, extending his stick to knock a shoot-in off the end boards past Toltl on the short-side for the difference-making goal.

Wellington faced a bevy of penalties in the third, but killed them all off, going a perfect 10 for 10 while a man short and preserved the victory. The teams combined for 64 penalty minutes.

Shane Shelest made 18 stops to help Wellington win the season series versus the Spirit and improve to 20-13-0-2 on the year with 42 points to stay alone in third in the OJHL’s East Conference.

The Dukes are back at home to welcome the North York Rangers for a rare Tuesday night game at 7:30 p.m.