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73’s offense heating up

- Hall earns a hat trick against the Kings -

by Garrett Fodor 

  The Essex 73’s is continuing to put pressure on the Amherstburg Admirals for third place of the Stobbs Division in the closing weeks of the regular season.

  After defeating the third-place Amherstburg Admirals on January 19, Essex returned home on Tuesday, January 21 to host the Wallaceburg Thunderhawks.

  From the opening faceoff, the 73’s were quick to pace the competition with speed and bursts of offense up and down the ice. Just 82 seconds into the game, Thunderhawks goaltender, Nolan Hakr, left a rebound exposed and Jack Sanko was sitting on the doorstep and notched his 11th goal of the season. Just over 11-minutes later, the 73’s offense was at it again. Curtis Jackson blazed through the defensive and neutral zones untouched before walking in and roofing a shot high above Hakr’s glove to double the 73’s lead to two.

  Shots in the period were 13-2, in favour of the home team.

  In the second period, the 73’s continued to pace the Thunderhawks, constantly applying offensive zone pressure and cycling the puck around the Wallaceburg defense. Rookie forward Alex Demers increased the lead to three, just over nine-minutes into the period. Closing out the period, Jacob Cruickshank finished off some tic-tac-toe passing to finish off a powerplay tally, which put Essex up 4-0 after 40-minutes of play.

  During the final frame, the 73’s offense continued to shine bright, firing 19 shots in the period. Newly signed rookie forward, Everett Parent, notched his first and second goals of his junior hockey career just 28 seconds apart to start the third-period.

  The 73’s cruised to a 6-0 victory over the Thunderhawks. Jax D’hondt was in net, and turned aside 16 shots for his second consecutive Tuesday night shutout. Nolan Hakr ended the night facing 44 shots for Wallaceburg.

  The win put Essex within two points of the Amherstburg Admirals for third-place in the standings, while the Wheatley Sharks sit 11-points behind the 73’s. Both teams however, have two games in hand.

  After defeating the Wallaceburg Thunderhawks 6-0, Essex took its two-game winning streak on the road to Petrolia On January 23.

  Last time in Petrolia, the 73’s lost 3-2 on January 2nd. Similar to that game, the 73’s fell behind just 39-seconds in as Curtis Helps beat 73’s Goalie, Connor Meyerink. But nine-minutes later, Jack Sanko found Preston Corp to tie the game at one. The score headed into intermission was tied at one, despite the 73’s outshooting the Flyers, 20-9. 

  After a scoreless second period, the teams battled hard and relentlessly. Six-minutes into the third, Clay Dolbeat beat Meyerink with the man-advantage. Three-minutes later, Corp notched his second of the game to tie it at two. The Flyers would score for the third time, on 27 shots, to take a 3-2 lead with just over six-minutes to play. But Essex took the life out of the Flyers as Conor Dembinski scored as the extra attacker, banging a shot by Jakob Knowles. 

  Despite a 7-minute extra minute frame, the teams were unable to break the deadlock set at three goals apiece. The final shot totals were 57-29.

  Twenty-four hours after suffering a 3-3 tie to the Petrolia Flyers, the Essex 73’s were back in action Friday and closing out the week. The local athletes were looking to get back in the win column against the Dresden Jr. Kings. 

  Four-and-a-half minutes in, 16-year-old rookie, Karson Beuglet, banged home a rebound to give Essex the lead early. And following the young Centreman’s goal, the 73’s offense continued to motor, registering three more goals on 14 shots in the period. Included in that was Keegan MacVoy scoring his first as a 73 and Liam Hall notching the second of his young tenure as a 73. 

Up 4-0 heading into the second period, the Kings come out of the intermission looking like a new team and showing new life early. Derek Shaw put the Kings on the board just 22-seconds into the period when he fooled a screened Jax D’Hondt. But the 73’s young forwards were quick to answer. Hall scored two-more goals to complete his hat trick, and Bryce Ryan also notched a tally in the frame. As Essex was up 7-1 after 40-minutes of play. 

  In the final frame, the teams exchanged goals from Everett Parent and Kings’ Forward, Matt Gaudrault, as the 73’s prevailed over the Kings, 8-2, while the shots were even at 40.

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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