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73’s drop playoff preview matchup 


Photo by Noah Gecelovsky: Quinn Fazekas evades pressure.

by Garrett Fodor

With the regular season winding down, and playoff matchups being setup, last Tuesday’s game offered a glimpse at a potential first-round matchup for the Essex 73’s when it hosted the Petrolia Flyers.

  The game would be no easy test for Essex as the hometown team was missing a handful of players, including Jack Sanko, Michael Ruttinger, Josh Pope-Ferguson, Curtis Jackson, Eric Charlebois, and Michael Veira. Despite the 38-points between teams, it would be scoreless through the first 23 minutes of play. 

  Petrolia forward Curtis Helps opened the scoring for the Flyers, when he walked in and beat Jax D’hondt. Ten minutes later, however, AP call-up Logan Robillard responded and gave Essex a jolt of life. Earning an assist on the play was Brandon Kucera, in his first game as a 73. Closing out the frame with three minutes left, William Stadder would go end-to-end to beat Flyers’ goaltender Chaska Thiel to give Essex its first lead going into the third.

  Coming out of the dressing room, Petrolia looked energized and wore the 73’s down with aggressive forechecking. As a result, just three-minutes in, a turnover was forced in the neutral zone, which took play into the 73’s zone. This led to Petrolia earning the only goal of the period, which meant overtime.

  In the extra frame, teams exchanged chances, but it was Petrolia that caught Essex on a turnover at the offensive zone blue line. Tim Kaldeway took the puck the other way and a couple quick moves opened D’hondt up and Kaldeway didn’t hesitate to tuck it into the 73’s net.

  The Flyers shocked the 73’s on the road, 3-2 in overtime. Despite the score, the 73’s peppered the Flyers in shots 54-29. 

  The overtime loss now gives Essex a 28-5-4 record on the year and a four-point lead over Dresden with three games remaining in the regular season. 

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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