Dukes edge Jr. Canadiens 2-1 at Showcase

(Brady Darrach of the Wellington Dukes was stopped on this wraparound attempt by Toronto Jr. Canadiens goaltender Christian Trianni during Wednesday’s game at the OJHL Governors’ Showcase in Cobourg. Photo by Jeff Gard)

Story by Jeff Gard/Total Sports Quinte

For the second straight game at the Ontario Junior Hockey League Governors’ Showcase in Cobourg, two goals were enough for the Wellington Dukes to emerge victorious.

Barret Joynt and Harrison Ballard, also for the second straight game, were again the Wellington goal scorers in a 2-1 win over the Toronto Jr. Canadiens on Wednesday just as they were in Monday’s shutout against the Toronto Patriots.

Ballard’s goal midway through the third period proved to be the difference in the outcome against the Jr. Canadiens. Ethan Quick and Jonah Cochrane earned assists on the play.

Joynt scored shorthanded 16 minutes into the second period with the Dukes trailing 1-0 after Tyler Fukakusa had scored for the Jr. Canadiens just under seven minutes into that middle frame.

Ballard and Joynt now share the team-lead for goals with five apiece.

Goaltender Matt Dunsmoor earned the victory in net, his second of the season, for Wellington, which improved to 5-5-0-1.

“I think we played really well, especially the last five minutes there. The guys did everything they could to help me out and made my life pretty easy so as a goalie that helps a lot,” Dunsmoor said. “We had a bit of a slower start to the season than we wanted so it’s nice to get two wins here and hopefully we can build on it.”

Wednesday’s contest was only the second time this season the Dukes didn’t score first and the other was when they were shut out by the North York Rangers earlier this month.

“You always want to score first. With the way the season’s been going for us, we’ve struggled a little bit to score goals,” said Dukes head coach Derek Smith. “Today we fell behind, but our guys battled for 60 minutes again. It felt like a good road match and I think we played well. Dunny was great today and our younger guys have just been buzzing and creating a lot of momentum for us and they came through again today.”

The 20-year-old Dunsmoor, who played for the Dukes two seasons ago, improved his record to 2-4-0 with a 3.26 goals-against average and save percentage. After spending last season with the QMJHL’s Rimouski Oceanic, which he considered a great opportunity, Dunsmoor is relishing his return to Wellington.

“It’s an amazing place to play,” he said. “Last year going to Quebec was also an awesome experience, but it’s awesome to be back here to finish my junior career. I love it here and there’s no place I would rather be.”

Dunsmoor his goaltending partner with the Dukes, Ethan Morrow, a 17-year-old prospect for the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves. Morrow, now 3-2-0 with a 2.00 GAA and .928 save percentage, earned his first OJHL shutout in Monday’s win.

“Ethan is a great kid and has a bright future. He’s awesome to compete with every day at practice and reminds me a lot of myself at his age,” Dunsmoor said. “He has a lot of options with the OHL or NCAA, but the way he takes care of his body and his focus and attention to detail, I know he’ll do great no matter what path he chooses.

“It’s great having another guy the team can rely on and we know he can get the job done any night he plays. He’s a huge part of our team and I love having him around.”

Dunsmoor lost his NCAA eligibility when he played major junior hockey, but he’ll consider his options following the season as it relates to Canadian university hockey or go the professional route.

Still, the netminder considered the Showcase to be a great opportunity for his teammates to get noticed by scouts in attendance, including those from NCAA schools.

“These guys are still looking to get committed D1, D3 whatever it is to go further with their hockey in the next couple years so it’s great to have one spot where everyone can come watch because there’s a lot of high-end talent in this league that get to show their stuff,” Dunsmoor said.

Wellington returns home this Friday night to take on the Cobourg Cougars (5-5-0-0). Game time is 7:30 p.m. at Lehigh Arena. That will also be the site of Game 2 of the Hasty’s P’s Cup on Sunday afternoon at 2:30 when the Dukes host the Trenton Golden Hawks (9-1-0-1), which suffered their first two defeats of the season at the Showcase.

“It was a great start to the week, but we can’t lose focus that we have a bigger goal,” Smith said. “We just have to keep building and developing and be ready for Friday.”