DRYDEN, Ont. – A Mitchell Mendonca power play goal with 7:15 remaining in regulation proved to be the game-winner as the Wellington Dukes (OJHL) went on to defeat the Dryden GM Ice Dogs (SIJHL) 7-4 Saturday night in the title game of the 2018 Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canadian Jr. A Championship in front of a capacity crowd at Dryden Memorial Arena.
With the win, Wellington will now advance to represent the Central Region at the RBC Cup Canadian Jr. A Championship, May 12-20, in Chilliwack, B.C.
It was a fast-paced start to the contest with the SIJHL champion GM Ice Dogs getting on the board first as Kris Hamlin ripped one from right side that beat Dukes’ starter Jonah Capriotti 89 seconds into the game during an early man advantage chance.
However, the OJHL title holders came right back with the equalizer just 28 seconds later with Frank Pucci stuffing in the equalizer finishing off the work of Declan Carlile and Ben Evans.
Dryden regained the lead at 5:22 of the first following a face-off win with Connor Mowatt redirecting a Joseph Santalucia right point attempt that eluded Capriotti.
The action-packed, back and forth session saw the Dukes draw level once more as skilled defenceman Zach Uens cut around a Dryden forechecker and in before snapping one high from the left side at 13:41.
Wellington took their first lead of the night 14:27 into the middle session after Carlile let a point shot that Pavlisin could not control and allowed Ben Evans to knock it in to the open side.
The GM Ice Dogs countered quickly to tie it once more as Eric Stout sent Ted Davis in over the blueline where he used a Dukes’ defender as a screen and put one past Capriotti.
However, down a man late in the second, the OJHLers forced a turnover near their own blueline and broke out on a two-on-one with Josh Supryka setting up Bryce Yetman for the go-ahead tally to give them a 4-3 lead after two periods of play.
It continued to be a see-saw battle with Dryden tying things up once more, early in the third, with Hamlin banking one just across the goal line while the Dukes netminder was tied up with a GM Ice Dogs forward at 1:35.
Still up a skater after a two-man advantage had ended, Wellington would get the eventual difference maker as Teddy McGeen knocked one out of mid-air at the side of the net across to a waiting Mendonca who jammed in the decider at 12:45.
Ben Evans added some insurance with five minutes left as he scooped up a loose puck then skated left and fired a cross-ice shot that beat Pavlisin glove side before Jackson Arcan iced it with an empty netter in the final minute to wrap things up.
Shots on goal in the contest were 35 apiece.
This marks Wellington’s third Dudley-Hewitt Cup title and first since 2011. The other came in 2003.
The 2019 Dudley-Hewitt Cup will be hosted by the Cochrane Crunch of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League.
Tuesday, May 1
Thunder Bay 4 Dryden 0
Dryden 4 Wellington 1
Wednesday, May 2
Wellington 4 Thunder Bay 1
Dryden 3 Cochrane 0
Thursday, May 3
Wellington 6 Cochrane 3
Thunder Bay 2 Dryden 1
Friday, May 4
Semifinal: Wellington 6 Thunder Bay 3
Saturday, May 5
Final: Wellington 7 Dryden 4
Dudley-Hewitt Cup champions
Year Team (League)
2018 Wellington Dukes
2017 Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL)
2016 Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL)
2015 Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL)
2014 Toronto Lakeshore Patriots (OJHL)
2013 Minnesota Wilderness (SIJHL)
2012 Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL)
2011 Wellington Dukes (OJHL)
2010 Oakville Blades (OJAHL)
2009 Kingston Voyageurs (OJHL)
2008 Oakville Blades (OPHJL)
2007 Aurora Tigers (OPJHL)
2006 Fort William North Stars (SIJHL)
2005 Georgetown Raiders (OPJHL)
2004 Aurora Tigers (OPJHL)
2003 Wellington Dukes (OPJHL)
2002 Rayside-Balfour Sabrecats (NOJHL)
2001 Thornhill Rattlers (OPJHL)
2000 Rayside-Balfour Sabrecats (NOJHL)
1999 Bramalea Blues (OPJHL)
1998 Milton Merchants (OPJHL)
1997 Rayside-Balfour Sabrecats (NOJHL)
1996 Newmarket 87’s (OPJHL)
1995 Thunder Bay Flyers (USHL)
1994 Chateauguay Elites (QPJHL)
1993 Chateauguay Elites (QPJHL)
1992 Thunder Bay Flyers (USHL)
1991 Thunder Bay Flyers (USHL)
1990 Longueuil Collège Français (QPJHL)
1989 Thunder Bay Flyers (USHL)
1988 Pembroke Lumber Kings (CJHL)
1987 Pembroke Lumber Kings (CJHL)
1986 Orillia Travelways (OJHL)
1985 Orillia Travelways (OJHL)
1984 Orillia Travelways (OJHL)
1983 North York Ranges (OJHL)
1982 Guelph Platers (OJHL)
1981 Belleville Bulls (OPJHL)
1980 North York Rangers (OPJHL)
1979 Guelph Platers (OPJHL)