Dukes blank North York 1-0

(Wellington Dukes goaltender Matt Dunsmoor earned his first shutout of the season on Friday night)

Story by Jeff Gard/Total Sports Quinte

One goal was enough and goaltender Matt Dunsmoor earned the shutout as the Wellington Dukes blanked the visiting North York Rangers 1-0 in Ontario Junior Hockey League action Friday night at Lehigh Arena.

While the Dukes name defenceman Jonathan Balah as the goal scorer, the official scoresheet credits Brodie McDougall with the power-play goal at 8:17 of the first period that stood up as the winner. Balah and Jacob Vreugdenhil drew assists on the play.

Regardless of who scored the goal, it was a big win for the Dukes (7-6-0-2) over the South Division-leading Rangers (11-4-1-).

Matt Dunsmoor (Photo by Christian Bender/OJHL Images)

“We played great tonight. The guys in front of me really bought in and executed their assignments which made my night pretty easy,” said Dunsmoor, who made 23 saves in recording his first shutout of the season. “It feels good for sure to get a shutout. Obviously as a goalie that’s our goal every night, besides winning, so that’s a great confidence boost for me and as a team.”

Vreugdenhil’s assist gives him a team-leading 17 points. The Dukes named Vreugdenhil their player of the month for October as he registered three goals and 13 assists in 13 games during the first month of the 2021-22 OJHL campaign.

Defence was the story of Friday’s game, though, against a North York team that entered the game with 51 goals for and just 28 against in the previous 15 games. Dunsmoor lauded the blueline group of Cole Maguire, Jack Wolder, Liam Whittaker, Aaron Brown, Jacob Dietz and Balah, but also noted the collaborative effort with the forward group to shut down the Rangers.

“Our defence was great tonight and kept the game simple along with help in our own zone from our forwards who also were lights out in our zone,” Dunsmoor said. “It was an all-around great team game and something we can build off of moving forward into Sunday.”

Wellington will visit the Toronto Jr. Canadiens, which are 9-4-1-0 heading into a Saturday night match-up against the Toronto Patriots. Game time Sunday between the Dukes and Jr. Canadiens is 7:15 p.m.