The Muskies made the long trek to Wellington Sunday afternoon to take on the Dukes, and pulled a Houdini act, escaping the Essroc Center with a 3-2 victory, despite being out shot by a 55-23 count.
The Muskies knew they would have their hands full with the Dukes, as they were missing the teams leading scorer in Dean Klomp, and one of the key penalty killers in Matt McCartney. They would also be without Mitch Bursey who was finishing his two game suspension.
Coming into the game the Muskies had dropped four in a row, including two key games against Kingston, and had lost nine of their last 10.
In kind of an odd situation the teams started the game off with three players in the penalty box. Lindsay's Brett Banks, and Matt Meher received warm up violation penalties, as did Jeff Stanton for Wellington.
In goal the game was a repeat of last weeks match where Luke Bierworth and Tyler Marble each had strong games in a 2-0 Wellington win.
The Muskies got a huge monkey off their backs when they scored just 1:56 into the first. They had been shut out in their last three games. Matt Wildman was the player who broke streak, with the assist going to Robert Lepine. The goal was Wilmans 3rd of the year. As the period wore on the Dukes took total control of the shot clock, eventually out shooting the Muskies by a 21 to 9 count. The Fish ended the first period on the power play, but were unable to score. According to one of the Wellington broadcast crew the Muskies power play against Wellington this season has only succeeded at a 9% rate.
The Muskies started the second by taking an early penalty, giving the Wellington power play its first opportunity. The Fish were able to kill the penalty, but just after it ended Guillaume Naud was able to slide one through Bierworths pads to tie the game at 1-1. The goal came at 4:31, and was assisted by Simon Bessette, and Craig Campbell. The Muskies showed some jump though and got right back into the lead when Matt Meher ripped his 1st of the season past Marble at 7:25. The helper went to Bryan Kolodziejczyk. Right after the goal the Muskies were right back on the power play, but failed to capitalize on the chance to increase their lead. Again the Dukes held a wide advantage in shots. They fired 18 of them at Bierworth in the second while Marble only had to face 8. Despite being outshot 39-17 through two periods, and being shorthanded in the lineup, the Muskies, against all odds, found themselves in the intermission contemplating a 2-1 lead.
Lindsay started the third just the way they did the second by enjoying a power play. The Dukes though had a short handed breakaway that drew a Muskie slashing penalty. The Dukes continued their assault on Bierworth, and finally on their 50th shot Jan Kaminsky tied the game at 2-2. The goal came at 10:18 from Kyllian Kirkwood, and David Pratt. A few moments later the Muskies nearly restored the lead when Lindsay defender rang a long shot off the crossbar behind Marble. With 3:19 remaining in the third Muskie forward J.C. Campagna was called for unsportsmanlike conduct giving the Dukes an excellent chance to take their first lead. If there was ever a huge penalty kill for the Muskies this was it, and they pulled it off. Then the goal that has seemingly eluded the Muskies all year long. Muskies captain Joel Wetmore got his 12th of the year, but by far his biggest of the year, with 1:09 left on the clock to put the Fish back up by a goal. The assist went to Campagna. Muskies head coach called his time out at that point to settle the squad down for the last minute. The Dukes did get a couple more chances, but Lindsay held on for easily their biggest win of the year. The shots in the third were 16-6 in favour of Wellington, for an incredible total of 55-23 for the home side.
The win improves the Muskies record to 14 wins, 19 losses, and 1 overtime loss.
The next game for the Fish, and the last before the holiday break is a rare Tuesday night home game against the Pickering Panthers.