Story by Jeff Gard
Barret Joynt led the way with two goals and two assists as the Wellington Dukes opened the 2021-22 Ontario Junior Hockey League season with a 4-1 win over the visiting Mississauga Chargers on Friday night at Lehigh Arena.
Joynt got Wellington’s offence rolling early, scoring just 1:45 into the season-opener before assisting on rookie linemate Ethan Quick’s first OJHL goal, the eventual winner, at 13:35 for a 2-0 lead. The 16-year-old Quick, a product of the Quinte Red Devils AAA program, was a fourth-round pick by the Ottawa 67’s in the 2021 OHL Priority Selection.
With the Dukes up 3-1 in the third, Joynt added a power-play goal with a little over four minutes left in regulation time to restore a three-goal advantage for his club.
“Joynter had a great night. He had a really good summer to put himself in the position to be a leader on our team,” said Dukes head coach Derek Smith. “To be able to come out in the first regular season game that you’re in and not only get four points, but to be a leader and be able to play the way he did and be hard to play against, it was a really good building block for our team and for his season.”
The Dukes peppered Chargers goaltender Julian Molinaro with 17 shots in the opening frame and 40 total throughout the contest.
A late second-period goal by Harrison Ballard, assisted by Quick and Joynt, bolstered the Dukes lead to 3-0 at the time. Ballard didn’t start the game on a line with Quick and Joynt, but the 11 forwards dressed – instead of the usual 12, were shifted around throughout the game as the Dukes dressed seven defencemen.
“As the game got rolling we started to mix up the line match-ups up front to kind of give everybody a chance to show what they can do and pretty much everybody played with everybody,” Smith said. “It would be nice to have some set lines, but it’s also nice to see who can mix together and produce.”
Dukes goaltender Ethan Morrow made 28 saves to record his first OJHL victory in net. Morrow came up big in the second period when the Chargers were pressing, but turned away all 12 shots he faced. His only blemish in the game was a power-play goal scored by Mississauga’s Nicholas Cordeiro, which cut the deficit to two at the time, just under two minutes into the third period.
“He gave us a chance to win. When you only let in one goal it’s really good for our team and I thought his rebound control was great and he was calm,” Smith said. “When we needed the big saves he came up with them. There were some times in the second period when we really needed to rely on him and he was there for us.”
Earlier on Friday, the Dukes announced its leadership group for the season, including captain Emmet Pierce and alternates Jacob Vreugdenhil, Mason Reeves and Cole McGuire.
The Dukes are on the road Saturday night to face the Cobourg Cougars, which lost 9-5 in Trenton on Friday evening. Game time Saturday is 7 p.m. at the Cobourg Community Centre.
WELLINGTON 4 MISSISSAUGA 1
WEL Barret Joynt (Corbin Roach) 1:45
WEL Ethan Quick (Jacob Dietz, Joynt) 13:36
WEL Harrison Ballard (Quick, Joynt) 18:06
MIS Nicholas Cordeiro (Jack Zilotto, Matthew DiCosola) 1:58 PPG
WEL Joynt 2 (Jacob Vreugdenhil, Liam Whittaker) 15:43 PPG