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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

73’s begin 2021-2022 season with three big wins

by Garrett Fodor

After more than 500 days of waiting to play since their last game, the Essex 73 players were back on the ice and gave fans something to cheer about last week. 

  After missing last season, due to the pandemic, the team debuted its roster during the home opener last Tuesday evening, featuring eight returning players, eleven rookies, and three players who previously suited up for the Lakeshore Canadiens. Included in the roster is 73’s Captain, Tycen Chittle, who joined the local club following two seasons in Lakeshore, where he put up 71 points in 77 games.

  On Tuesday evening, the new look 73’s faced off against the Wallaceburg Thunderhawks. With nearly 500 people in attendance, Essex was quick to welcome back fans and give them something to cheer about early and often. The team scored four straight goals in the first 10 minutes of the period, as the 73’s stormed out to the lead and had numerous chances against Thunderhawks’ goalie, Jacob Lister.

  In the final seconds of the first period, the Thunderhawks got on the board and went into the first intermission with a score of 4-1.

  In the second and third periods, however, Essex’s speed and offense were too much for the Thunderhawks. The 73’s went on to score four unanswered goals, to take its home opener, 8-1. Essex out-shot Wallaceburg 36-13, as Michigan native, Brett Tome, earned his first win between the pipes.

  It was a quick turn around as on Friday, the 73’s traveled to Dresden to face-off against the Jr. Kings. Like Tuesday, the 73’s came to play. The speedy 73’s players utilized the smaller ice to their advantage, controlling the puck, setting the pace, and having a majority of the scoring chances.

  Essex scored three times in the opening period, including one from Liam Hall who opened the scoring with his first of the season just two minutes into the game. While holding the lead on the scoreboard, the 73’s also held the edge in the shot column as well, out-shooting Dresden 18-4. 

  In the second and third periods, the 73’s continued to control puck possession and put the game out of reach, registering two more goals in the second and a lone tally in the third. Essex held on to win 6-0, while out-shooting Dresden, 50-10. Adrian McBride was in goal for the 73’s.

  Closing out the week, the 73’s traveled to Amherstburg to face the Admirals.

  Like the first two games of the season, Essex set the tone early with lots of controlled zone time, scoring chances, and physicality. The 73’s opened the scoring early in the first period, as Josh Root notched his third goal of the young season just five minutes into play. And nearly 10 minutes later, Matt Smith doubled the 73’s lead. After 20 minutes of play, the scoreboard and the shots were both in Essex’s favour, up 2-0 and 12-4 respectively.

  In the second period, Root continued his torrid pace early as the 20-year-old forward scored his second of the game and his fourth of the young season. His goal would be the last of the evening, as the 73’s held the Admirals to just 16 shots.

  Essex took the game 3-0, to extend its record to 3-0-0 to start the season. McBride was in the net for his second straight shutout performance. 

  Essex is in for another big week of the season, hosting rival Lakeshore Canadiens before traveling to Mooretown on October 16 to play the Flags. 

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