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Dukes look to resurge against the Panthers after tough skid

Justin Bean, captain of the Wellington Dukes for the 2016/17 season.

Justin Bean, captain of the Wellington Dukes for the 2016/17 season.

By Daniel Taylor [1]

WELLINGTON- The Wellington Dukes [2] hope to get back to their winning ways heading into game 29 of the schedule against the Pickering Panthers on Friday night.

Last Sunday, they snapped a four-game losing streak, beating the Lindsay Muskies by a score of 7-2 at the Lindsay Recreation Complex. The slumping Dukes are 3-7 in their last ten games after going undefeated in their opening seven games.

With a 15-10-1-2 record the Dukes currently sit fourth in the division and fifth in the conference, good enough for a playoff berth but without home-ice advantage.

Despite their inconsistencies, the Dukes have been a fun team to watch. Brayden Stortz and Nic Mucci are Wellington’s biggest offensive weapons and lead the league in scoring combining for a total of 97 points thus far.

While they are exciting, their lineup is young and inexperienced, often making consistent play a difficult task. Although, captain Justin Bean says he’s seen a change in his young teammates from the start of the season to now.

“From the start of the season I noticed that the young guys are feeling more comfortable, as it’s like every year. Everyone develops. Coach Marty Abrams does a good job of developing players and I think we’re on the right track right now”, said Bean.

Duke’s captain Justin Bean has been an important part of the team for four years now, bouncing between the OHL and the OJHL. He has been there for the good times and the bad times and has gained important experience that he uses to guide his younger teammates.

Even through the Duke’s latest slump the captain encourages his players to remain positive moving forward.

“We’ve sort of slowed down as of late, but just focusing on playing a full 60 minutes and not getting down if we get scored on, just little things like that, staying positive on the bench, that’s the stuff we’re really trying to instill in our players”, said Bean.

“We know that with a lot of hard work and good efforts throughout night in and night out we can turn it around.”

The Dukes have historically been a strong franchise, holding a league record of 13 consecutive seasons of 30 –plus wins. This year the Dukes are on pace for another 30-win season and have a rewarding end goal in mind.

“Having Trenton host the Dudley Hewitt Cup and Cobourg host the RBC Cup, we’d definitely like to be there, we’d like to hopefully win a championship, that’d be the ultimate goal”, said Bean. It’d be nice for the older guys to go out with a bang and I feel like this town deserves a championship.”

The last time the Dukes and Panthers met Wellington lost by a score of 5-2, an outcome that they would very much like to reverse this time around.

Puck drops at 7:30pm on Friday at Essroc Arena.