Dukes fall in heartbreaking fashion

Story by Brock Ormond

Photo: OJHL Images/Wellington Dukes

The Wellington Dukes 2023-24 season is in peril after a heartbreaking defeat on Thursday night.

Ethan Lindsay snuck in undetected for a tap-in goal with only three seconds to play in regulation time to surge the Toronto Jr. Canadiens ahead of Wellington 4-3 in Game 4 of their OJHL quarter-final series.

The game was played with a frenetic pace at times, starting with a first period that saw the two teams tied 2-2.

The Dukes battled back after yielding goals to Nathan Phillips and Nick Athanasakos, with Cory Jewitt working the puck off the end boards and sticking it in front to Connor Hunt for his second of the postseason to first cut the deficit in half.

Jewitt himself finished a rush with Will Mitchell to equal the score late in the first for his second of the playoffs as well.

The game remained tied through the second, as Jack Lisson made some terrific saves as part of his 28 total to hold off the Jr. Canadiens dangerous offensive attack at bay.

Late in the third, after taking a penalty, Toronto broke clean out on the offence shorthanded and Athanasakos beat Lisson blocker-side for his second of the night and a 3-2 lead.

That only lasted 25 seconds, as Mitchell buried his third of the series on the same powerplay to re-tie the score.

It appeared this game was destined for overtime, until Athanasakos found Lindsay sneaking past Wellington players toward the net for the game-winner in the dying seconds of the third to put Toronto up three games to one.

Jewitt and Mitchell each finished the game with three points, while Hunt contributed two. Nick DiPaolo also got on the scoresheet with an assist on Mitchell’s marker.

Wellington outshot Toronto 39-32, and now must string together three wins in a row to salvage their season, starting Saturday at 4 p.m. at Lehigh Arena.