73’s suffer first loss of the season

Photo by Laurie Beaten: Bryce O’Brien debuted as a member of the Essex 73’s on Tuesday night, during a game against the Petrolia Flyers.

Photo by Laurie Beaten:

Bryce O’Brien debuted as a member of the Essex 73’s on Tuesday night, during a game against the Petrolia Flyers.

by Garrett Fodor 

After opening the season with a pair of home-games against Essex-County foes, the Essex 73’s hosted the Petrolia Flyers last Tuesday, before traveling to Dresden Friday night. 

On Tuesday, Essex debuted its latest addition, 6’5” and 220-pound defenseman, Bryce O’brien. He cames to Essex after stints in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and with the Leamington Flyers last season. 

His veteran presence was felt early, bringing spectators to their feet, as he set up several scoring chances and put out some large hits. Just 100 seconds into the game, Matthew MacLeod opened the scoring as he beat the Flyers’ goalie to the loose puck. To close out the frame, line-mate Owen Meyerink scored his first junior hockey goal, capitalizing on a well-placed pass. After 20 minutes of play Essex was up 2-0.

The score remained at 2-0 for the rest of the game, despite Essex bombarding The Flyers’ goaltender with scoring chances and shots. Though the home-team was unable to find the net, 73’s goaltender, Jax D’Hondt, was rather untested. He faced 12 shots, including three in the second and third periods, to earn the shutout.

An early battle for first place was set up between Essex and Dresden on Friday. After 20 minutes of play, Essex held a slim 1-0 lead, thanks to Michael Vieira’s power-play marker. 

In period two, Dresden was quick to respond with a power-play tally of its own. Four-minutes into the frame, Nolan Ross beat Essex goalie, Connor Meyerink. Three minutes later, Meyerink was beaten again, as Nolen Vandenboorn capitalized on a 73’s turnover to give Dresden its first lead of the game.

In the final period, with the score at 2-1, Dresden continued to give its fans something to cheer about. The Kings controlled the pace of play and forced turnovers. Five minutes into the period, the lead was doubled as TJ Saunby beat Meyerink. Dresden added a short-handed tally 13 minutes in, but Essex would respond seconds later with some pretty passing after the face off. That would be as close as the team came, however, as the 73’s failed to beat Brett Brochu again.

Vandenboorn added an empty netter for Dresden’s 5-2 win over Essex. Shots in the game were 35-29 for Essex. 

The loss drops Essex to 3-1-0 on the season. They will host Wallaceburg Tuesday before traveling to Lakeshore on Friday. 

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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