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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

73’s winless streak continues

Photo by Laurie Beaten: Michael Ruttinger celebrates his goal during his return to the lineup on Friday in a game against Lakeshore.

by Garrett Fodor

After suffering an overtime loss in its previous game, Essex looked to bounce back while hosting the Integrity Amherstburg Admirals last Tuesday evening. 

  The physicality was high throughout the match-up between these two competitive teams.

Amherstburg’s Caleb Paquette opened the scoring just nine minutes in, beating 73’s goaltender, Connor Meyerink. Just a minute later, Meyerink was bumped making a save and remained down. As he was removed from the game, goaltender Jax D’hondt took over the position. 

The score remained 1-0 until two minutes into the second period, when Josh DiCarlo put a bullet by D’hondt. The 73’s received life three minutes later when Matt MacLeod beat Ben Larder deep from the corner. Shots after the first 40 minutes were 22-18. 

  Just 4:20 into the third period, Quinn Fazekas tied the game at two as he and William Stadder used their speed to their advantage. The Admirals were not silenced and righted the ship just two minutes later, restoring its lead. Essex was unable to score again as Broden Meloche netted an empty netter to lift Amherstburg over Essex, 4-2.

  Closing out the week, the 73’s traveled to Lakeshore to face their rivals, the Canadiens. 

The two adversaries battled for puck possession and struggled to get shots early, with the first shot not happening until the six-minute marker. After 20 minutes, the 73’s were up 1-0, thanks to two players who returned to the lineup. Michael Ruttinger deflected Josh Pope-Ferguson’s shot by Erik Morneau. After 20 minutes, the shots were 13-10, in favour of Essex.

  Period two was the offensive period as Pope-Ferguson used his speed to drive the net. He skated backdoor and tip a shot by Morneau. Closing out the period, the Atlas Tube Centre came back to life as Tycen Chittle scored eight minutes into the second. Four minutes later, Matthew Smith beat D’hondt to tie the game at two. 

But unlike the Amherstburg game, the 73’s held down the fort defensively, and while D’hondt made several big saves, he would go unbeaten on the night after that point. The teams skated to a scoreless third period and a scoreless overtime, resulting in a 2–2 tie. The tie gives each team a point, which means Essex will clinch first place in the Stobbs regular season and a first round playoff matchup against Petrolia. 


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