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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

73’s begin season with a win

photo by Laurie Beaten. Josh Pope-Ferguson attempted to screen Amherstburg goaltender Ben Larder on Tuesday.

by Garrett Fodor

The Essex 73’s began its season in a big way last Tuesday, hosting the feisty Integrity Amherstburg Admirals, for the home opener.

  For the Essex faithful, the game created nervous moments in the early goings as Amherstburg controlled the puck and had scoring chances. Both teams showed signs of rust and butterflies as eight rookies skated in their first game. Entering the intermission, however, Essex led 1-0 as 16-year-old Bryce Ryan found the net behind Admirals’ goaltender, Ben Larder.

  In the second period, Essex’s line of Ryan, Dawson Winchester, and fellow rookie, Curtis Jackson, continued to be the offensive force for Essex. Winchester crashed Larder’s goalie crease, and created space for Ryan to bury his second goal of the night, nine minutes into period two. Amherstburg closed the gap within one, when Ty Moss beat 73’s goalie, Jax Dhondt, with a wrist shot three minutes later.

To close out the second period, Winchester continued his line’s success and had the puck trickle past Larder, through the five-hole. As the teams skated into the intermission, it was 3-1 for Essex, with Amherstburg outshooting Essex, 23-17.

  Essex began period three on a mission, scoring two goals in 86 seconds to make it 5-1, including a power-play marker from Quinn Fazekas. But it was short lived as Amherstburg answered with two goals of its own in 118 seconds. It was too little, too late for the Admirals, however, who were unable to find the net behind Dhondt. Over-ager, Michael Vieira, added an empty-netter to give Essex a 6-3 win.

  “It’s great to start the season off with a win, but we still have much to work on. It was different, seeing a bunch of new faces on a Tuesday night, but I thought everyone started to buy in right away. It takes time for the guys to get a feel for one another if we haven’t played together before, but I think we did well for our first time wearing the 73 on our Jerseys together. I thought everyone played a solid game, and it was nice to see Ryan net his first couple in his first game,” Sylvano Valente said, who finished with an assist on the night.

  Essex will host the defending Stobbs champions, the Lakeshore Canadiens on Tuesday, September 18.


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