Story by Brock Ormond

Photo: OJHL Images

For the first time since 2017, the Trenton Golden Hawks will represent the East region in the Buckland Cup Final.

Jordan Fuller’s spinaround shot 2:29 into the second overtime session sunk into the net off a skate to lift the G-Hawks to a five-game series victory over the Wellington Dukes to send much of the faithful home heartbroken from Lehigh Arena on Friday night.

A tight game was dominated by the goaltenders, with Jacob Osborne posting the most saves of his season with 53 on 55 Trenton tries and Ben Bonisteel turning aside 37 of 38 Wellington shots.

That meant offence was at a premium and in fact, both goals in regulation were scored on the same penalty.

With Jacob Vreugdenhil in the box, Corbin Roach proved frustrating for the G-Hawks defence in forcing a turnover and giving Barret Joynt a quick shot from the high slot that eluded Bonisteel for the shorthanded.

Joynt’s 8th of the postseason came at 7:24 was also assisted by Trevor McDowell.

Nathan Oickle provided the quick answer only 54 seconds later, taking a Ryan Holmes pass and stringing a shot top shelf for his third of the playoffs.

Matt Cato jumped ahead for the sole lead in OJHL playoff points with 22 by contributing a second assist.

Those two markers kept the score deadlocked all the way through regulation.

As usual in a close game, several chances missed by next to zero range, with Duncan Grube whiffing on a open net for Trenton and Matheson Mason getting a deflection off a goal post, among other close opportunities.

Wellington broke away in the first overtime period, getting some of the biggest chances that Bonisteel denied.

The double-overtime magic started when Cato drove a play through center ice and into the Wellington zone before the puck got knocked off his stick.

Fuller then grabbed hold of it and did the simple thing, wing it on net – and it paid off with the conference championship winner.

The Springwater, Ont. native’s fifth of the postseason put the G-Hawks in the 2023 OJHL Championship final series versus the Northwest Champion Collingwood Blues.

The Dukes gave it their all and left it all on the ice in a truculent effort, with Osborne stealing the show in net for much of the playoffs, and deserve to look back on a fantastic season very fondly.

The Golden Hawks-Blues series will begin as soon as next Wednesday, April 19 in Collingwood. Game 2 will be in Trenton.

The full schedule will be released shortly, stay tuned to InQuinte.ca and the OJHL social media channels for the list of games.