Dukes outgun Royals to get back into win column

Story by Brock Ormond

Photo: Wellington Dukes/OJHL Images

A nice rebound effort gave the Wellington Dukes another victory on a snowy Sunday afternoon.

The Dukes outgunned the Markham Royals 7-4 for their first head-to-head win against them this season and their 32nd overall after losing on Friday night to the St. Mike’s Buzzers.

After spotting the Royals a early goal courtesy of Ben Lalkin, Wellington strung together three unanswered markers courtesy of Brad Barker, Ethan Quick (on a powerplay), and Will Mitchell to wrestle the momentum fully away.

The offensive activity simmered down considerably in the second period, with only one goal coming from Ryan Schaap, who jammed home his 23rd of the season on a powerplay in the final minute to reignite the scoreboard.

Cory Jewitt spanked home a rebound off a blocked shot to complete a three point game and extend the Dukes lead to four before the Royals began to threaten with Lalkin’s second of the day (and league-leading 49th of the year) and Ryan Forberg’s 40th.

Following a perfectly-executed timeout, the Dukes climbed back into the game and got a second goal from Mitchell on a dart top shelf off the left wing, giving him his third point.

Markham’s Owen Halloran knocked in a rebound to make it 6-4, but Logan Sitlani finally put the Royals away for good with 32 seconds left on a long blueline shot that floated past Markham’s goalie Sebastian Monaco.

Pana Efraimidis and Connor Hunt had two assists each, while single helpers went to Quick, Schaap, Sitlani, Josh Rumolo, Dimitri Tzaferis, Colin Smith and Ben Vreugdenhil.

Jack Lisson was a rock in net with 40 saves.

The Dukes are now even in points with St. Mike’s with 67 each and are four points up on the Royals, with Markham still holding one game in hand.

A quick turnaround will see the Dukes face off against the OJHL’s best team, the Collingwood Blues, at 2 p.m. Family Day Monday.