Date:  Source: Ontario Junior A Hockey League

By Ron Valentine

The teams for the Buckland Cup Final have been decided. It will be two No. 2 seeds: the East Division and N/E Conference champion Wellington Dukes versus the winner of the West Division and the S/W Conference title, the Georgetown Raiders (Photo by Andy Corneau / OJHL Images)..




The Dukes took the OJHL East Division with 74 points and a .685 winning percentage, scoring 207 goals and allowing 153. Seventeen of their 33 wins came on the road.

In the post-season they faced tough opposition, in the first round from the North Division's Pickering Panthers who forced them to a seventh game and then the Newmarket Hurricanes from the same Division also took them the full route.

The Dukes then beat another North club, the Aurora Tigers, winners of the division, who were ranked No. 1 in the N/E Conference in five to reach the OJHL final.

In their regular season campaign, they got 35 goals from Teddy McGeen including eight game winners and nine power-play markers. Mitchell Martan, who led the team in points with 67, chipped in with 26 and Andrew Rinaldi had 25, including four shorthanded and five game winners.

Rookie Declan Carlile led the blueline corps with 39 points. Jason Capriotti made the No. 1 goalie spot his own with a 2.56 GAA and five shutouts and a .918 save percentage.

Their only major acquisitions during the regular season were top prospect blueliner Mason Snell from the Whitby Fury and fellow defenceman Geoff Lawson who had played eight games with the Brooks Bandits of the AJHL.

In the club's 19 post-season games to date, captain Colin Doyle and post-season call-up Bryce Yetman, from the GOJHL's Chatham Maroons, each have scored seven times. Doyle leads the club with 22 points. Martan has six goals, Ben Evans and McGeen have five each.

Capriotti, who missed four games with a suspension, has a 2.36 GAA and a .918 save percentage. A young club, the Dukes have just three regulars in their last junior hockey season – Lawson, McGeen and goalie Tyler Richardson – plus their four call-ups from the GOJHL – Josh Supryka, Frank Pucci, Andrew Barbeau and Yetman. 




The Raiders headed up the West Division with 36 victories, 18 each at home and on the road, a total of 78 points and a .722 winning percentage. The club scored 200 goals and allowed just 110, tied with the North York Rangers for the OJHL’s fewest goals against.

Ranked second in the S/W Conference behind the Toronto Patriots, they beat Toronto’s St. Michael's Buzzers in four in Round 1 of the playoffs but had to work hard the rest of the way, coming back from a 3-1 deficit to top the Rangers in seven and then they went the distance again with the Patriots winning the final game 3-2.

In the regular season, ex-OHL Jason Smith (Mississauga Steelheads and Barrie Colts), led the club with 27 goals, followed by Brendan D'Agostino’s 22. Andrew Court had 17, Jonathan Hampton and Matt McJannet 15 each and Justin Paul 14. Smith and Court ended up tied for the points lead with 55 each.

With the trading of goalie Mario Cavaliere to the Surrey Eagles of the BCHL at the deadline, Troy Timpano was acquired from the OHL's Erie Otters to join ex-Stouffville Spirit tender Nathan Torchia. Timpano had a GAA of 1.77 in seven games while Torchia had four shutouts and a 1.46 GAA and a save percentage of .951. The club made two skater acquisitions during the regular season, getting blueliner Zac Elson, who captained the Burlington Cougars, and Mitch Luzar from the Toronto Junior Canadiens.

In the club's 18 playoffs to date, veteran forward Jordan Crocker has six goals along with blueliner Jake Payette and Bailey Molella; Zac Elson, Derek McVey and D'Agostino and Court (who has four game winners) have five and Smith has four. Timpano is at 2.70 GAA with a .914 save percentage. The Raiders have seven graduating 1997 players in their lineup: blueliners Andrew Cordssen-David, Elson, Austin Cho and Zach Dybowski, forwards Court and Smith and goalie Timpano. 

In the regular season in the only meeting of the two teams the Raiders beat the Dukes 5-2 in Georgetown with D'Agostino, Nicholas Prestia, Dybowski, Payette and Smith scoring for the Raiders and Snell and Evans replying for Wellington. That meeting came in late October. 

The Buckland Cup games have to be played between April 11 and 24 – expect the schedule to be released shortly.

The Dudley-Hewitt Cup this year is in Dryden in northwestern Ontario and will feature the winners of the Buckland Cup, the host Dryden Ice Dogs and the Thunder Bay North Stars from the Superior International Junior Hockey League and the winners of the final in the NOJHL between the Cochrane Crunch and the Rayside-Balfour Jr. Canadians.

The Royal Bank Cup, won last year by the Cobourg Cougars, will be held in the fair city of Chilliwack, B.C.