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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

73’s pick up 2 players, 4 points 

Photo by Laurie Beaten

by Garrett Fodor 

Improvements continue to the Essex 73’s roster, with the team sitting in first place, with just two weeks remaining in the Stobbs regular season.

There were two games on the Essex 73’s schedule last week, with Thursday January 10 being the deadline to acquire new players for the roster. 

Essex began the week hosting the Wheatley Omstead Sharks on January 8. In its previous meeting on December 18, Wheatley was shut out 5-0.

Unlike the previous contest, Wheatley found the scoresheet and opened the scoring just over three minutes in, when Cole Butler beat 73’s goaltender Jax D’hondt high on the short-side. Three minutes later, however, Adam Gaiarin blasted a slap shot above Sharks’ goalie Catalin Morin’s shoulder. 

In the second period, Essex continued to frustrate Morin as the home team was not making his job easy by getting bodies in front of the net. Essex scored twice, within 54 seconds, in the frame to acquire a 3-1 lead heading into the third period.

Midway through the third, Owen Meyerink cushioned the lead, beating Tristan Edmunson. Former 73 Alixe Saliba scored a short-handed tally for the Sharks with two seconds left to end the game for a final score of 4-2.

On Thursday, the trade deadline day, Essex added two players to the lineup. Defenseman Brandon Kucera joined the 73’s after spending most of the year with the Leamington Flyers, and Eric Charlebois joined Essex after spending two seasons with the Lambeth Lancers. 

Closing out the week, Essex was on the road on January 12 to take on the Mooretown Flags. 

The two teams, despite being separated by 22 points, skated to an even 0-0 score after one period of play. Both teams, however, did not shy away from the physicality. 

In the second period, and onward, Essex made the Flags pay as their physicality crossed the line, resulting in frequent trips to the penalty box. On the night, Essex went 3-for-10 with the man-advantage, including two goals in the second period. After 40 minutes, the teams combined for three powerplay goals, with the score sitting at 3-1, after two. 

In the third period, Essex added another goal, with the man-advantage, from Curtis Jackson. Cameron Rannie scored for the Flags with 10 minutes remaining, to put the Flags back in the game. William Stadder iced the game with an empty netter. Essex prevailed, 5-2.

The teams combined for 133 penalty minutes, while Essex outshot Mooretown 47-34.

The wins increase Essex’s lead to five points above second place Dresden.

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