Dylan Van Dusen and Ashton Moore aren’t household names for the Dorchester Dolphins.
But that is changing.
The pair, both midget call-ups, played vital roles in helping the Dolphins win their first three games against the North Middlesex Stars in the best-of-seven Provincial Junior Hockey League Yeck divisional series.
The Dolphins lead the series 3-1 after North Middlesex won game four 3-2 Tuesday night in Parkhill. It was the Dolphins' first loss of the 2016-2017 season.
“All of our AP players have stepped up and played significant roles for us. They have really helped us a lot. They’re not just sitting there on the bench. They’re contributing,” Dolphins head coach Mark Van Vliet said.
Moore picked up the win between the pipes in the Dolphins’ 7-1 game-three win at Parkhill Sunday.
Entering the game at the 9:56 mark of the first period, Moore took over after starter Matt Waller was ejected from the game.
Moore let in the first shot he faced, allowing the Stars to tie the game before shutting the door.
The Dolphins only needed 29 shots for their seven goals, meaning their shooting percentage was high. Following two quiet games, the power play awoke striking three times.
Michael Blue opened the scoring and Jay Ritchie netted the eventual game winner late in the first period with the man advantage.
Dylan Buckholz, with two goals, Zach Robertson, Jayden Glue and another midget call-up, Curtis Hardwick, completed the Dolphins’ goal scoring.
Moore, who posted a shutout in his only regular season appearance, plays major midget with the Dorchester Dragons.
The Dolphins opened the series with pair of wins at home: 4-2 on Friday and 6-1 on Saturday. North Middlesex opened the scoring and held the lead after one period in both games. The Dolphins dominated the second and third periods.
“Our power play needs to get going, but we were solid on the PK. You can build momentum off the penalty kill, and we did that a bunch of times tonight,” Van Vliet said, following game two. “I don’t think we were prepared (for game one) and it showed. We played a much better game tonight.”
Van Dusen, the younger brother of Dolphins’ forward Brett, scored in both games one and two.
After Van Dusen tied game two early in the second period, Derek Todosichuk, Braedon Dorion, Brantley Kuipers, Lucas Wilson and Ritchie bulged the twine.
“It felt pretty good tying up the game for the boys. I just play my hardest and go out and have fun,” said the recently turned 17-year-old who attends Lord Dorchester secondary school. “I use my speed to go in the corners to get the puck out.”
Dylan played three games for the Dolphins during the regular season, scoring once. His major midget team is the London AA Jr. Knights.
“When I’m playing up at this level, I try to play as hard as I can and then try to bring that back to (midget). I try to use the skills I learned here to put into my own game.”
In game one, a pair of Jarrett Baker goals gave the Stars a 2-1 lead, sandwiching a short-handed marker by Dolphin Alex Weaver.
Van Dusen knotted the affair before Todosichuk and Ritchie, the Dolphins’ top two point producers from the regular season, scored.
The score could have been higher, but Stars’ goalie Mathew Boere was sharp, making 49 saves.
Van Dusen, Hardwick and Ryan Poley are getting the opportunity to shine due to injuries to forwards Nick Griffin and Tim Pieper and defenceman Colin Osler. They are making it tough for Van Vliet to remove them from the line-up.
“The way those guys are contributing is really helping for our success so far. It’s great to see,” Ritchie said.
“We have to stay disciplined and keep working hard through the slashes and checks. I think if we do that, we’ll be successful.”
Waller started the first three games, with Riley Brown nursing an upper-body injury.
Game five will be at the FlightExec Centre on Friday at 7:30 p.m.