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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

73’s split back-to-back games

- Essex prevails over the Flyers, loses to the Sharks -

Photo by Laurie Beaten: Quinn Fazekas skates away from Sharks’ defenceman Alex Anastasakos in Essex’s 4-3 loss on October 2.

by Garrett Fodor

Coming off their first win of the season under new Head Coach Danny Anger, the Essex 73’s hoped to extend its winning ways, with two games on the schedule last week.

  On October 1, the 73’s hosted the Petrolia Flyers. The 73’s were quick to welcome the Flyers in, as they peppered goalie Chaska Thiel early and often. Just 75 seconds in, Curtis Jackson beat Thiel, as he used his speed and hands to get in tight and lift the puck over the Flyers’ goalie. 

Two-minutes later, defenceman Trevor Klee doubled the lead, as he used his speed to capitalize on a bad change by the Flyers. And closing out the frame, the 73’s increased the lead to three, as Conor Dembinski forechecked the Flyers hard and forced a turnover and made no mistake in finding the twine behind Thiel.

  After 20 minutes, the 73’s led 3-0 and outshot the Flyers 23-7.

  In the second period, the Petrolia players woken up a bit as they put up 14 shots and held the 73’s to just 21 and one lone goal. Quinn Fazekas scored his first goal of the year. 

  In the final frame, the 73’s continued to roll offensively, notching two more goals from Jacob Cruickshank and Michael Ruttinger. Essex held the Flyers to just five shots in the final period.

  Connor Meyerink turned aside 26 shots to earn his first shutout of the season in the 6-0 win for Essex.

  Less than 24 hours later, the 73’s were on the road to face the Wheatley Sharks.

  After a scoreless first 20-minutes, the teams looked nearly identical. The hometown Sharks had a one-shot edge, but both teams exchanged quality chances and played with tempo.

  During period two, however, things quickly changed. Essex got into penalty trouble, and the Sharks quickly made them pay as Drew Denomey beat goalie Jax D’Hondt, just over seven-minutes into the frame. Closing out the period, the Sharks scored two goals in 27 seconds to increase the lead to three heading into the final intermission. The Sharks outshot the 73’s 28-22 after two periods.

  In the third period, the 73’s began to show new signs of life and resilience. In the dying seconds of a man-advantage, Conor Dembinski banged home a shot past Sharks’ goalie, Kyle Metson. Just three-minutes later, it was Dembinski’s linemate, Jack Sanko, who beat Metson to cut the lead to one. 

With momentum in hand, the 73’s continued to press and just over a minute later, Captain Riley Meyerink scored for Essex. With 75 seconds left, it looked like the game would head to overtime. That was until Denomey beat D’Hondt for the second time of the night, lifting the Sharks by one. Despite pulling the goalie, the 73’s were unable to beat Metson in the 4-3 loss to Wheatley.

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