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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Anger earns first win with 73’s

Photo by Laurie Beaten: Michael Ruttinger drives the Lakeshore net and screens Kings’ goalie Rhett Devries in Essex’s 6-3 win last Tuesday.

by Garrett Fodor

After dropping the home opener 2-1 to the Lakeshore Canadiens the week prior, the Essex 73’s were back in action last Tuesday evening.

  The locals went into last week’s game looking for their first win of the season as the 73’s played host to the Dresden Jr. Kings. 

  Similar to the previous week, however, the 73’s had to play from behind as they gave up the first goal. Just over a minute into the game, Essex’s goalie Jax D’hondt was beaten by Brantley Kuipers.

But, after a shaky early couple minutes, the 73’s woke up and showed life. The team began to play with more pace and aggressiveness, which led to a short-handed break for rookie, Alex Demers, who made no mistake and roofed the puck over Dresden’s Rhett Devries. Closing out the frame, the Kings restored their lead as Tyler Fish stuffed home a rebound with the man-advantage. Shots after the period were 12-7, in favour of Essex. 

  Coming out of the intermission, Essex had possession of the puck throughout the early minutes. As a result, the score became tied when Brayden Zuidema, who was hard-nosed on the forecheck, knocked the puck loose. The rookie made no mistake to tie the game at two.

  But, just under a minute later, former 73 Dawson Winchester was Johnny-on-the-spot at the side of the net and shovelled the puck in, short side, to restore Dresden’s slim one-goal lead. Like the first period, Essex outshot the Kings, 22-15 after two periods. 

  In the final frame, it was clear the leadership group and head coach Danny Anger were looking to make a statement. Jack Sanko was the beneficiary of some tic-tac-toe passing in the offensive zone as he slipped the puck by the Kings’ goalie, just 34 seconds after puck drop. Just under three minutes later, Josh Pope-Ferguson gave the 73’s their first lead of the season as the over-ager forward beat Devries cleanly.

  Five minutes later, Essex doubled the lead as American defenceman, Trevor Klee, capitalized on the Kings’ bad change and skated the puck end-to-end before burying it high. Pope-Ferguson added an empty netter as the 73’s prevailed 6-3 for the first win of the season. 

  With a week-long break, the 73’s next scheduled game is against the Petrolia Flyers, at home.

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