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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

73’s Soar over Flags, Canadiens

Photo by Laurie Beaten: Lakeshore Captain, Brendan Ireland, battles for the puck with 73’s forward Quinn Fazekas during Friday’s 4-1 win over Lakeshore. 

by Garrett Fodor

This past week, the Essex 73’s had a pair of games, which presented an opportunity for the local team to avenge losses experienced earlier in the season.

The week began with Essex hosting the Mooretown Flags. In their previous matchup on October 21, the Flags defeated the 73’s, 3-1 in Essex. Tuesday, began on the right foot for Essex as it opened the scoring just seven minutes into the first period. Michael Ruttinger capitalized on a rebound and beat an out-of-position Jake Wilkins for the only goal of the period.

Shots in the first period were 11-9, in favour of Essex.

The middle frame got interesting as Essex used its speed to its advantage and drew a pair of penalties early. The 73’s have the best powerplay success rate in the league and built off it as Michael Vieira riffled the puck by a screened Wilkins to give Essex a 2-0 lead, just over three minutes in.

Just five minutes later, however, Nolan Farr came blazing down the wing with speed and beat 73’s goalie Jax D’hondt, to draw the Flags within one as the teams skated into the final frame.

Shots on goal, after two periods, was 31-17, for Essex.

In the final frame, Vieira cushioned the lead once again, netting his second of the game just 50 seconds in. Mooretown responded 28 seconds after as Flags Captain, Nolan Riley, capitalized on a turnover in the neutral zone, beating D’hondt.

The 73’s, however, shut down the Flags defensively and they were unable to tie the game. Essex prevailed, 3-2.

Closing out the week, Essex traveled to Lakeshore to face its rival, the Canadiens. Just six minutes after puck drop, William Stadder opened the scoring for the visitors as he roofed a shot on Nolan Hakr. The goal would stand as the only one of the period although Lakeshore outshot Essex, 13 to 9.

In the second period, Stadder’s line of Michael Vieira and Josh Pope-Ferguson continued to roll. This line doubled the 73’s lead four minutes into the period as Pope-Ferguson beat Hakr. Just three minutes later, Sylvano Valente joined the rush and had a wide-open cage to beat Hakr to extend the lead to three after two periods of play.

In the final frame, Lakeshore drew within a pair as Nathan Skulley beat D’hondt on a break-a-way. But, with three minutes remaining, Stadder scored an insurance marker.

The two wins this week leapfrogs Essex to first place with a four-point lead over Dresden and a five-point lead over Mooretown.


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