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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

73’s show chemistry and confidence

Photo by Laurie Beaten: Curtis Jackson stick handles as Admirals’ goalie, Ben Larder, tries to poke check him in Tuesday’s 4-1 win. 

by Garrett Fodor

The Essex 73’s entered last week with four consecutive wins, and the home team was hoping to extend that streak to six with having two games on the schedule, including one against a cross-town rival.

  On Tuesday, Essex hosted the Integrity Amherstburg Admirals. The Admirals gave Essex its last loss in their previous meeting on October 28, which was a 4-3 overtime loss.

  After 20 minutes of play, the teams were scoreless, with Essex up 12-6 in shots. It was nearly two full periods of play before the first goal was scored. With two minutes remaining in the second period, Quinn Fazekas opened the scoring when he beat Admirals’ goalie, Ben Larder, off the draw.

  Under a minute later, Essex doubled its lead. Jack Sanko and Justin Bondy overloaded the net and pressured the Admirals’ defense by crowding the crease. As a result, Larder lost sight of the puck and Sanko tucked it by him. Heading into the intermission, Essex was up 2-0.

  In the third period, Michael Vieira increased the lead to three with a snapshot that landed high above Larder, with the man advantage. Nine minutes later, Vieira’s line-mate, Josh Pope-Ferguson, continued his torrid pace and beat Larder again with the man advantage. Ty Moss would spoil Jax D’hondt’s shutout in the final minute.

 Essex prevailed, 4-1. The 73’s outshot the Admirals 39 to 26.

 Closing out the week, Essex took to the road to face the eighth place Petrolia Flyers in what proved to be a “chippy,” penalty-riddled game. The teams combined for 106 penalty minutes and eight powerplay goals.

  This game was also a special night for the 73’s players, as it was their Moms’ trip. The players’ moms travelled on the bus and came to the game wearing their sons’ jerseys.

  Opening the game just over a minute in, Petrolia capitalized on an early Essex penalty, as Jax D’hondt was beaten in tight and was unable to find the loose puck. But, two minutes later, Pope-Ferguson beat Flyers’ goalie, Chaska Thiel. Skating into the intermission, the two teams were tied at one.

  The trend of early period goals continued into the second. Matt Zelko gave the 73’s their first lead of the game, just 2:49 into the period, as he snuck a shot by Thiel. Forty-four seconds later, Pope-Ferguson netted his second of the game, again with man-advantage, to double Essex’s lead. The score would remain 3 - 1, skating into the second intermission.

  In the final 20 minutes of play, Clay Dolbear scored two goals in the opening 78 seconds to put the Flyers back into the game and tie it at three. But shortly after that, Essex used its speed and puck possession to its advantage, as the home team was able to draw two, five-minute major penalties, which setup a 5-on-3. Michael Ruttinger restored the 73’s lead, as the diminutive forward continued to help the Stobbs’ Division’s best power-play. Two minutes later, Pope-Ferguson netted his third of the game.

  Closing out the game, Ruttinger found the back of the net again for the second time. Essex prevailed, 6-3 over Petrolia. 

  Essex has a slim two-point lead in the Stobbs Division, which is setting up a crucial contest against Dresden on November 20.


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