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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

73’s prevail over Wallaceburg, fall to Lakeshore

Photo by Laurie Beaten: Michael Vieira corrals the puck in front of Lakeshore’s Nolan Hakr in Friday’s 3-2 OT loss. 

by Garrett Fodor

The Essex 73’s failed to make any progress in the standings after the home team dropped points to its rivals, the Lakeshore Canadiens. But, for the Essex faithful, the currently in third place 73’s showed signs of progress and potential.

  To begin the week, Essex hosted the last place Wallaceburg Lakers. Entering the game, the Lakers had been shutout for two straight games. Throughout much of the game, it looked like Essex would extend that streak to three games.

  The game opened with a pair of goals from Josh Pope-Ferguson in the final four minutes of the first period. A Dawson Winchester tally in the second period put Essex ahead 3-0. Through 40 minutes of play, the shots were 22-8, in favor of Essex.

  The Lakers came out with energy in the third period. Former Wheatley Shark defender, Parker Hammond, beat 73’s goalie Jax D’hondt from the point to put the Sharks on the board. 73’s Captain William Stadder, however, would respond on the man-advantage, seven minutes later, silencing a potential Lakers comeback.

  Essex prevailed 4-1, and more than doubled Wallaceburg in shots, 29-14.

  Essex was on the road Friday night to face its rival, the Lakeshore Canadiens. For Essex, the task of playing on the road against the defending champions would not be easy. To win, they would have to play catch-up, and not by a single goal, either.

  To open the first period, Lakeshore beat goalie Connor Meyerink twice in the opening 10 minutes, including a power-play marker. Luckily for Meyerink, Essex would respond with a pair of goals in the final two minutes, which sent the game into the intermission, tied. Shots in period one were 15-11 for Lakeshore.

  In period two, Essex was quick to show a puck-possession game and hemmed Lakeshore into their own end throughout the 20 minutes. Essex outshot Lakeshore 14-5 in the period. But, for Lakeshore, the strong play by Nolan Hakr kept the Canadiens in it, as he bailed the defense out on several occasions. He allowed a lone goal to Michael Vieira in the period, as Essex skated into the third up, 2-1.

  Eric LaRue continued his torrid pace against Essex as he scored his third goal in two games against Essex in the third period, sending the game to overtime.

  In the extra stanza, Lakeshore killed off a penalty, and with the crowd behind them, drew an extended five-on-three advantage. Just as the first penalty was expiring, Lakeshore’s Matt Smith overloaded the net to beat 73’s goaltender, Connor Meyerink, to cap off the thrilling 3-2 game.

  Lakeshore’s win increased its hold on second place to 3 points. Both contests between the teams this year have gone into overtime, with the home team winning respectively.

  Through the two games, Essex went 4 for 8 on the man-advantage, giving it a 25 percent success rate through six games, which it tied for tops in the Stobbs division. 

Essex faced Blenheim on Tuesday, October 9, traveled to Wheatley on October 10, and the team travels to Dresden on Friday, October 12.

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