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73’s kick-off season with close loss to Lakeshore


Photo by Laurie Beaten: Essex forward Conor Dimbinski battles Lakeshore defenceman Mitch Chittle in Essex’s 2-1 loss last Tuesday.

by Garrett Fodor

After weeks of preparation, the Essex 73’s is kicking off its 2019-2020 season and the Danny Anger era for the team.

  Last Tuesday night, in front of a crowd of over 600 people, the Essex 73’s kicked off its regular season. It would be a test of talent after weeks of training and preparation leading up to the game as the locals faced the two-time defending Stobbs Division champions, the Lakeshore Canadiens.

  For both teams, it was their first game of the year and both teams tried to not make the first mistake. After 20-minutes of play, the teams remained deadlocked and scoreless with Lakeshore dictating the pace of play and controlling possession. As a result, the Canadiens outshot Essex, 10-4. 

  In the second period, it was Lakeshore that opened the scoring. Eric LaRue capitalized on the 73’s not getting the puck out of its defensive-end. After cycling the puck around, LaRue beat goalie Connor Meyerink. But three-minutes later, and closing out the period, Essex tied the game.

  Essex then kept the puck in the offensive zone, screening goalie Nolan Hakr, and allowed defenceman Evan Prince to blast a shot through Hakr’s five-hole. Going into the final intermission, Essex trailed 15-14. 

  Tied at one, beginning the third period, the teams quickly began to show more chemistry and structure. Unlike the first two periods, where teams combined for 26-penalty minutes, the teams did not get any special man-advantages in the third. At five-on-five, both teams exchanged their fair share of shots and scoring chances.

  Halfway through the period, the Canadiens restored their lead. This time, it was Dylan Bradley who capitalized as the recipient of a nice pass and on Meyerink being out of position. Despite Essex’s dying minutes press, Hakr and Lakeshore were able to hold their one-goal lead to earn the 2-1 win.

  Shots in the game ended 22-20 in favour of Lakeshore.

  Assistant Captain Jack Sanko said he is enjoying what he has seen from his team and new coach Danny Anger. 

“We played a hard game one and showed a lot of potential of being a winning team again. We made a couple mistakes, but it comes with a new team and new systems,” Sanko said. “Danny’s been great so far. The boys are really clicking together and working as a team. I think we’re only going to get better from this point.”

  The 73’s will continue their homestand next Tuesday as they will host the Dresden Jr. Kings for their lone game of the week.

  **Correction to what was reported last week, defencemen Bryce O’Brien and Sylvano Valente are not part of the Essex 73’s and are not signed to the team.**

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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