Story by Brock Ormond
Photo: Wellngton Dukes/OJHL Images
The Oakville Blades met and passed a true character test versus the Wellington Dukes.
The Dukes had a pair of huge opportunities in the third period to tie and possibly go ahead down by one, but couldn’t convert on two two-man advantages and fell 3-1 on Sunday.
The Blades, who will host the 2024 Centennial Cup National Jr A championship in May 2024, employed a stingy near-impenetrable defensive system to hold the Dukes to only 17 shots over 60 minutes.
Two goals in 83 seconds in the second period from Gleb Akimov (on the powerplay) and Luke Johnston gave the Blades a lead that they wouldn’t fully relinquish.
Wellington did get one back before the end of the middle frame when Nick DiPaolo used his speed to set up Dimitri Tzaferis for a shot and a rebound that eventually found its way in past a downed Gavin McCarthy in the Blades net.
Will Mitchell added the second helper on Tzaferis’ fourth of the year at 17:37.
The Dukes then got their chances to overcome the Blades on their powerplays but Oakville got in every shooting lane to thwart their attack.
Jack Churchill iced the Blades win with an empty-netter in the final minute.
Coming off two straight shutouts, Jack Lisson made 30 stops in the loss to finish a busy, but successful weekend.
The Dukes drop to 16-10-0-2 and will be off from game action until Friday at home versus the St. Michael’s Buzzers at 7:30 p.m.