Story by Brock Ormond
Photo: OJHL Images/Wellington Dukes
Strike number one in the OJHL’s Southeast Conference Semifinals goes to the Wellington Dukes.
Two quick goals in 45 seconds in the third period from defencemen gave Wellington a 4-2 Game 1 victory over the Haliburton County Huskies at Lehigh Arena Friday night.
Julien Jacob tied the game with an off-balance shot at 4:13, before Nolan Mozer zinged home the eventual game-winner at 4:58 for his second of the playoffs.
The physicality of both teams, who had played to an even 2-2-1 season series, was on full display for much of the night.
Both teams got a fortunate bounce in period one, with Lucas LaPalm taking the ricochet off a point shot and firing it top shelf for his first goal of this year’s playoffs at 8:56 to begin the scoring and Isaac Sooklal deflecting a Boyd Stahlbaum shot to even the count late in the frame on a powerplay.
Jacob Dietz and Jared Langdon got helpers on LaPalm’s marker and Patrick Saini picked up the secondary marker on Sooklal’s
Christian Stevens put Haliburton ahead on another man advantage at 12:28 of the second from Saini and Sooklal, but the Dukes third period magic was about to be conjured up again.
Much like in their last regular season game where the team strung together five straight goals to stun the Huskies, Wellington saved its best for last.
As he was falling down, Jacob winged a shot through Aidan Spooner moments after the Huskies goaltender stole a goal from Jacob Vreugdenhil.
Barret Joynt and LaPalm drew the assists.
Mozer’s winner was helped out by Connor Hunt and Corbin Roach.
Jacob Osborne was steady in a 25-save effort, with a few big stops to keep the Huskies at bay and getting some assistance from the crossbar at a couple points.
Shots finished 27-25 in favour of the Dukes, who have a quick turnaround to head to Minden for Game 2 at 4 p.m. Saturday.
The Dukes are holding a watch party at Lehigh Arena, with doors opening at 3 p.m. and further details can be found on the team’s Facebook page.