Dukes edged by Cougars in OT

Story by Jeff Gard

The Wellington Dukes let a two-goal lead late in the third period slip away as the host Cobourg Cougars rallied to win the Ontario Junior Hockey League game 4-3 in overtime Saturday night.

Jacob Gilbert, of Trenton, tallied the game-winning goal 3:17 into the extra frame on a power play after the Dukes received a bench minor penalty for too many men.

“Realistically we shot ourselves in the foot,” said Dukes head coach Derek Smith. “Give Cobourg credit, they came out hard in the third period, but we have to make sure that we learn to close teams out and we didn’t do it tonight. It’s a learning experience and obviously two points are so valuable any time of the year.”

The overtime winner was Gilbert’s second goal of the night, earlier tying the score 1-1 just 20 seconds into the third period.

Wellington led 1-0 after two periods on the strength of Payton Schaly’s first goal of the game, which was a power-play marker 4:23 into that middle frame. The Dukes registered 17 shots on goal in the first period, but it was the 18th shot, and first of the second period, from Schaly that finally found its way past Cougars goaltender Carter Tahk.

Schaly scored again just under six minutes into the third to put the Dukes up 2-1 and then assisted on a power-play goal by Jonathan Balah at the 10:44 mark.

The Dukes maintained the 3-1 lead until 6:15 remaining in regulation when George Krotiris scored on a Cobourg power play and rookie Tai York tallied his first OJHL goal with 2:14 left to draw the Cougars even and ultimately send the game into overtime.

“It’s a full 60-minute game and tonight it was more than that, we had to go into overtime,” Smith said. “In this league anybody can beat anybody, Cobourg’s a good team and we have to learn from what happened tonight and we will.”

Tahk stopped 36 of the 39 shots he faced to earn the win in net for the Cougars while Matt Dunsmoor made 33 saves for the Dukes.

Wellington will look to rebound on Friday when they host the Haliburton Huskies. Game time is 7:30 p.m. at Lehigh Arena.

“Our power play got a couple goals,” Smith said of the positives to take away from the OT loss. “We were down a couple bodies in the third period so guys stepped up, but only one way to go from here.”