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73’s show grit, offense


Photo by Laurie Beaten: Jack Sanko evades a Mooretown defender in Tuesday’s 7-4 win over the Flags.

by Garrett Fodor

Entering this week, the Essex 73’s looked to rebound after a pair of loses it experienced the week prior, with Lakeshore hot on their heels.

The week, for the 73’s, began last Tuesday hosting the Mooretown Flags. It began on the right note as Essex opened the scoring and quickly jumped to a 2-0 lead after Josh Pope-Ferguson and Dawson Winchester beat goaltender, Jake Wilkins.

In the middle frame, the fans received a treat as the two teams exchanged goals in what was a gong show. It began with Winchester and Pope-Ferguson getting their seconds, but Adam Letang beat Jax D’hondt. Adam Gaiarin responded to restore Essex’s four goal lead. But, closing out the frame, the Flags scored three unanswered goals. Entering the intermission, the score was 5-4. 

The Flags slowly clawed and pressured Essex in the third period, but was unable to beat D’hondt again. Essex added two empty netters to prevail, with a final score of 7-4.

Twenty-four hours later, closing out the week, Essex traveled to Wallaceburg to face the last place Lakers. The task would not be easy for the home team as it had four AP call-ups and was missing key contributors, that included William Stadder and Michael Veira. 

After a scoreless first period, the Lakers faithful had something to cheer about early into the second period. Just five minutes in, Brian Gevaert snuck a snapshot by 73’s goaltender Jax D’hondt. But, the lone goal of the game would stand for only 40 seconds before Josh Pope-Ferguson used his speed to get behind the Lakers’ defence and beat goalie, Patrik Timpany.

Pope-Ferguson’s goal was the momentum booster Essex needed. After beating Timpany once, the 73’s put three more pucks by him, including Pope-Ferguson’s second of the game, a marker from Dallas Anderson, and a late power-play tally from Quinn Fazekas. 

In the final frame, Laker call-up Scott Glasgow beat D’hondt to make it a 4-2 game. Closing out the frame, however, Essex responded with an insurance marker, courtesy of Pope-Ferguson for his third of the game. He converted on a turnover in the offensive zone for his hat-trick. The final score was 5-2 for Essex with the shots in its favour, 41-32.

Looking ahead, Essex will have a key matchup next Tuesday as it hosts its rivals, the Lakeshore Canadiens, which is hot on the hometown team’s heels in the standings.

73’s forward Jack Sanko said he believes that, as a team, they all have to step up as potentially, some more of their top guns may be out of the lineup. He added they have to go in there with the right mindset to earn the big two points at home. 

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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