By Amanda Monahan
The Canada Summit Centres Olympic-sized rink worked to the Wellington Dukes
advantage in their first game at the Dudley Hewitt Cup.
The Dukes cruised to a 7-2 win over the Wisconsin Wilderness Tuesday afternoon in the four-team, round robin tournament.
The Dukes didn’t need to adjust their style of play for a larger sized rink. In fact, Dukes’ Marty Abrams considers it to be good luck.
“When we found out this rink was an Olympic size we thought hey this must be some sort of omen and good luck for us. We haven’t lost yet on the big ice,” he said.
The Dukes probably didn’t need an omen in this one. They led 4-0 and 6-0 after two periods.
Heading into the game, the Dukes wanted to find out what the Wilderness were all about and what to expect from a team playing its first year in the Superior International Junior A Hockey league.
Midway through the first period Steve Evans opened up the scoring for the Dukes on the power play and three minutes later Rusty Hafner gave the Dukes a 2-0 lead. Evans notched his second of the game moments later.
The second period was no different with three quick goals by Darcy Greenaway, Sean Rudy and Joe Zarbo of the Dukes. With a 6-0 lead heading into the third period, the Dukes had to make sure the extended lead didn’t affect their play.
Abrams said his team has to keep in mind this tournament often comes down to tie-breaking scenarios, sometimes goals for and goals against.
“So you have to be very leery and aware of your goals for and goals against so that’s a motivating factor not only to win the game but to keep the goals against down and score as many goals as you can,” he said.
Dukes goalie Jordan Ruby had his shutout snatched away from him midway through the third when Wisconsin forward Tom Paine tallied the team’s first goal.
“Our boys were playing an amazing game,” said Ruby. “Defense was keeping shots at the outside and forwards were coming back and helping me out a lot. For a goalie a lot of shots keep you in the game but if they keep it down to 20 shots a game we should be fine this tournament.”
If the Dukes continue to win they have will have the opportunity to have Friday off. Dukes forward Steve Evans that’s what the team is looking at right now.
“Hopefully we are only going to have to play 3 in a row, we are working for that day off,” said Evans. “That’s our goal right now. We’re not even looking at the finals. We are just concentrating getting by these few games and then hopefully we don’t have to play Friday and come out full strength Saturday.”.
The Dukes next game is Wednesday against the Soo Eagles of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan at 2 p.m.