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73’s offense awakens, leading to two wins and one loss last week


Photo by Laurie Beaten: Justin Bondy battles a Blades’ defender in front of their net on Tuesday.

by Garrett Fodor

Last week, the Essex 73’s had a daunting schedule. The local team played three games, two of which were back-to-back, before closing it out with a trip to Dresden to face the first place Jr. Kings.

  The week began last Tuesday when the 73’s got their first look at the Blenheim Blades. Before some fans were even in their seats, William Stadder caught the Blades in a bad position. Left wide open, he roofed a shot 19 seconds in. It would be the lone goal until the final minutes of the second period, when Stadder netted his second of the game and Dallas Anderson scored further with the man-advantage.

  Closing out the game, Quinn Fazekas added a goal to give Essex a 4-0 lead, which took the air out of a Blades’ comeback effort. Essex would prevail 4-0, with Jax D’hondt facing 29 shots to earn the shutout.

  Just under 24 hours later, Essex was on the road to faced the Wheatley Omstead Sharks for the first time this season. Essex’s first line, consisting of Stadder, Michael Vieira, and Josh Pope-Ferguson, opened the scoring in the first period. The Sharks responded with two minutes remaining in the same stanza.

  After a scoreless second period, the teams were going to have a ‘chippy’ and edgy final 20 minutes of play. The period began excellently for the 73’s as they got a pair of goals in the opening eight minutes, including a goal from Dawson Winchester, who put a bullet by Catalin Morin.

The Sharks, however, would respond with a pair of goals of their own just 38 seconds apart. But, the top line answered for Essex, just under a minute later, as some pretty passing was converted. Essex would add an empty netter, to prevail 5-3 over the Wheatley Sharks.

For the second time in three weeks, the Essex 73’s was on the road Friday to face the Dresden Jr. Kings.

Essex was looking for a better outcome than its previous visit on September 28, which they lost, 5-2. It began on the right note for Essex as it opened the scoring, with Stadder netting a short-handed goal nine minutes in. Dresden would respond nearly eight minutes later, but Bryce Ryan would restore his team’s one-goal-lead to close out the frame.

The scoring in the middle frame was lopsided, as Dresden was the only team to score, twice, despite being outshot nine to eight in the period and 20 to 17 overall. Entering the third period, Dresden was up 3-2.

In the final five minutes of the game, it looked like Essex was going to fall to Dresden again, but Pope-Ferguson was the hero for Essex as he tied the game up, beating a sprawling Brett Brochu. In over-time, league leading scorer, Nolen Vandenboorn, capitalized on a bad 73’s breakout and beat D’hondt as Essex fell, 4-3.

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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