Story by Jeff Gard/Total Sports Quinte
For the second game in as many days, the Wellington Dukes scored goals in abundance.
After winning 8-0 Saturday in Toronto against the Patriots, the Dukes tallied the first six goals of the contest in an eventual 7-4 victory over the visiting Lindsay Muskies in Ontario Junior Hockey League action Sunday at Lehigh Arena.
“When the team comes out in the first period ready to play, that’s when we are at our best,” said Dukes defenceman Jonathan Balah, who recorded three assists in Sunday’s win. “The games where everyone is doing their job and paying attention to the little details is when we dominate games.”
Will Mitchell scored twice for the Dukes, including the opening goal, and David Campbell made it 2-0 before the end of the first.
Wellington continued its stretch of six straight in the second period with goals from Emmet Pierce, on a power play, Barret Joynt, Harrison Ballard and the second from Mitchell.
William Jones, with his first of two, got one back for the Muskies with under two minutes to play in the middle frame.
Early in the third, Alex Case notched his first OJHL goal for the Dukes before the Muskies reeled off three more goals in the second half of the final frame.
Jones, with his second on a power play, and Duncan Scullion, with his first of two, scored 1:23 apart. Scullion’s second goal with scored with just 50 seconds remaining as the large deficit was too much for Lindsay to overcome.
“I still think we can play better for the entire game,” Balah said. “There’s times where we take a few shifts off and let the other team gain some momentum. If we can take the other team completely out of the game for 60 minutes, I don’t think there’s a team that can keep up with us.”
Wellington improved to 14-10-0-2 with the win. Nine of their victories have come at home.
Balah, now 20, is in his first season with Dukes after previously gaining junior experience with the Brockville Braves of the CCHL, Thorold Blackhawks of the GOJHL and Aurora Tigers of the OJHL. He’s relishing the opportunity to play in from of the Dukes fans.
“The atmosphere when we play at home is like no other. This has easily been my favourite place to play junior hockey,” Balah said. “The fans are awesome, they bring energy to the game. There’s nothing quite like a home game at Lehigh.”
The Dukes won’t play in front of their home fans again, though, until Dec. 20, which is the final game until into the new year. They have four road games coming up, including Thursday evening in Caledon against the Admirals, Saturday in Minden against the Haliburton County Huskies and next Sunday in Trenton for Game 4 of the Hasty P’s Cup against the Golden Hawks.
Wellington, which is 5-4-0-2 on the road so far this season, will make another trip to Westwood Arena in Toronto to face the Patriots on Saturday, Dec. 18 before returning home to face Caledon.
“I think that we have fared well in road games. Obviously coming off of the 8-0 road win in Toronto was big for the team,” Balah said. “The keys for us to win in these four on the road has to be to come out of the gate flying. We can’t sit back for 10 to 15 minutes and allow the other team to gain an edge on us. We also have to stick to the plan given to us by coach (Derek Smith). We do all those things I think we will be very successful going into the Christmas break.”