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73’s sweep Flyers, set for Admirals


Photo by Laurie Beaten: Quinn Fazekas evades pressure from a Petrolia defender during the 73’s 8-2 win last Tuesday.

by Garrett Fodor 

Last week, fans and players were waiting to see which teams would progress into the next round of the Stobbs Division playoffs.

Last Tuesday night, Essex hosted Game 3 of the series against the Petrolia Flyers. Entering the game, Essex was up, 2-0. From the puck drop, Essex was quick to take the air out of the Flyers. Just 30 seconds in, Josh Pope-Ferguson opened the scoring, putting the 73’s on the scoreboard. From there, he would get help from line-mate Michael Vieira, and then Quinn Fazekas, to extend Essex’s lead, 3-1.

In period two, Essex continued its offensive barrage. This time, it was Pope-Ferguson’s line-mates who added tallies. Michael Vieira opened the period with back-to-back goals to complete his hat trick. And, closing out the period, William Stadder added a power-play marker, making it 6-1 headed into the third. 

Essex began the third period with two more goals from Matt MacLeod and Adam Gaiarin. Petrolia scored with two minutes remaining, but it would be as close as the Flyers would come in catching up to the hometown team. Essex prevailed, 8-2. 

On Thursday night, Essex traveled to Petrolia for Game 4, of the best-of-seven series, with the Flyers. The 73’s were looking to end Petrolia’s season.

The Flyers’ players came out strong and were noticeably fighting for their season. After several early Essex penalties, the Flyers had several great chances on Essex goalie, Connor Meyerink. But, Essex closed out the game with pressure and man-advantages of their own. Entering the intermission, the game was tied 0-0, with shots also tied at 0-0.

In period two, the teams played a more disciplined style-of-play, and it was nearly scoreless after two periods. Curtis Helps opened the scoring for the Flyers with 4:38 left to play in the second. After two periods of play, shots were 29-23 for Essex.

Coming out for the third period, Essex appeared to hit the ice with new life. Just over one minute in, Riley Meyerink tipped in Tyler Beneteau’s shot to tie the game at one. Just 40 seconds later, Eric Charlebois beat Chaska Thiel to give Essex a 2-1 lead. Closing out the frame, Essex capitalize on Petrolia’s discipline and added two more insurance tallies for a 4-1 victory.

“Not our best first two periods, but we really bared down and showed who we are and what we are made of. It was a battle to say the least - the whole series was,” Sanko said. “But we stuck to our game, played our systems, and we did what needed to be done.”

Looking ahead, Essex will advance to take on the Amherstburg Admirals in the second round of Stobbs Division playoffs. 

“I’m Looking forward to Tuesday. Nothing changes. We [will] go in with the same game plan, stick to our systems, and play 73’s hockey,” Sanko added. 

Game one of this series is set for Tuesday, February 19 in Essex. Play will then shift back to Amherstburg on Thursday. For complete schedule details, visit essex73s.ca.

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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