Dukes edged in OT by Buzzers after late-tying goal

(Graham Dickerson scored his first goal for the Wellington Dukes on Thursday night against the St. Michael’s Buzzers. Photo by Ed McPherson/OJHL Images)

Story by Jeff Gard/Total Sports Quinte

The Wellington Dukes scored late in regulation time to force overtime before the host St. Michael’s Buzzers prevailed 5-4 in Ontario Junior Hockey League action Thursday evening in Toronto.

Graham Dickerson, in his second game, and Jack Wolder, making his debut, both tallied their first goals with the Dukes while teammate Harrison Ballard scored twice and now leads the club with seven goals.

Trailing 4-3, Dickerson scored Wellington’s tying goal with 1:12 left in the third period and goaltender Matt Dunsmoor on the bench in favour of the extra attacker.

“The guys made a great effort to get the puck on net with the clock ticking down. The rebound landed right on my stick and I put it home,” Dickerson said. “It was a great feeling that my first goal as a Duke came at a big time for the team.”

St. Michael’s Bryce Sutherland scored the game-winner just 59 seconds into overtime with his team-leading 11th goal through 13 games.

Ahead of his Dukes debut, it was announced Wednesday evening that Wellington had acquired Wolder, a 6-foot-3, 195-pound defenceman from the Fort McMurray Oil Barons of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

“The first game definitely felt good and it was nice to be back on the ice,” said Wolder, who is from Calgary and will turn 19 later this month. “I thought we deserved to win the game and they got a few lucky bounces that we didn’t seem to get, but we got a point and we’re definitely going to just get better from here.”

Jack Wolder scored his first OJHL goal in his Wellington Dukes debut against the St. Michael’s Buzzers. (Photo from Wellington Dukes Twitter @OJHLDukes)

Wellington led 2-1 after the first period, but trailed 4-2 by the end of the second.

Nicholas Primomo opened the scoring for the Buzzers just under two minutes into the game before Ballard scored on a Wellington power play at 14:53 and Wolder found the back of the net for the first time at 17:20.

After recording three assists in nine games with Fort McMurray, Wolder was glad to get a goal early on with the Dukes on a play set up by Ethan Quick.

“Quicky fed me a great pass cross-ice and I saw the far side open and I’m just really glad it went in,” Wolder said.

Giacomo Martino and Riley Sutherland, on a power play, scored goals in quick succession for St. Michael’s just over a minute apart early in the second period and the club didn’t trail again in the contest.

Ballard evened the score for the Dukes just 1:28 later with his second of the night, but Aidan Shepard restored the St. Michael’s lead with a power-play goal at the 16:55 mark of that middle frame.

The Dukes lost Mason Reeves in the second period due to a fight with Judd Katz of the Buzzers. Both players received fighting game misconducts, though Reeves was also assessed a gross misconduct for removal of opponent/own helmet.

St. Michael’s capitalized on both of its man-advantage opportunities in the game while the Dukes were 1-for-4. Wellington outshot the Buzzers 46-32 as Buzzers goaltender Cole Moore made 42 saves in recording the victory.

Friday night, the Dukes (6-6-0-2) will host the North York Rangers (11-3-1-0). Game time is 7:30 p.m. at Lehigh Arena.

Wolder is looking forward to playing his first game in Wellington.

“Since I’ve been here the organization has been great,” he said. “It’s been first-class all the way and I’m super grateful to have gotten the opportunity to come out here. I’m super excited to learn under Derek (Smith) and Tyler (Longo) and I think it’s going to be a really good year.”

Dickerson was released by the Kitchener Rangers prior to the start of the Ontario Hockey League regular season. He’s happy to have landed in Wellington and is impressed by his new teammates.

“I have a great feeling we are going to go on a deep run this year.”