Chiefs Grab 2-0 Series Lead As 73's Offense Non Existent
By: Kevin E. Neels
The Essex 73's are making it tough on themselves in the OHA Junior "C" final series with the Lakefield Chiefs as they did not fare any better in Sunday afternoon's matinee, dropping a 5-1 decision.
The Essex offense has dried up in the two games in Lakefield. Having said that the Chiefs have had alot to do with the 73's lack of offense. Lakefield plays a solid defensive game on their small ice surface, which does not allow many quality scoring opportunities.
Michael Popel said, "This is a tough rink to get used to, there is no time to make pretty plays, once the puck is on your stick you have to get rid of it."
The first period was probably Essex' best period of the series so far but they skated off at intermission in
a scoreless tie.
Essex grabbed their first lead of the series, although it was short lived early in period two as Phil Janikowski ripped a wrist shot under the crossbar near the end of a power play.
Less than two minutes later the score was tied and the home team kept it going by adding another pair before the buzzer sounded to end period two.
For good measure the Chiefs added another pair in the final twenty minutes to complete the scoring.
Popel added to his earlier comments by saying, We are not responding well when scored apon in this series, and we are getting down on ourselves, not your typical Essex 73's response. But the bottom line is, scoring one goal in two games is not going to win us any hockey games."
Game three and four go in Essex Saturday night at 7:30 and Subday afternoon at 2:30. Box office opens 3 hours priorto game time.
Chiefs Draw First Blood in Schmalz Cup Opener in Lakefield
By: Kevin E. Neels
The Essex 73's could not get anything going Saturday evening in Lakefield and fell 5-0 to the Chiefs from Lakefield. It wasn't that Lakefield looked all that impressive either, but the Chiefs are a very opportunistic team as they cashed in on the quality chances they created. After a rather quiet "feeling out" opening twenty minutes of play, the clubs acquired a dislike for each other in period two as there was a steady stream to the penalty box.
The Chiefs scored the lone goal in period one in the first five minutes of play.
Lakefield blew this game wide open in period two scoring four unanswered goals in under seven minutes of play. Three of the goals were at even strength while one came off a penalty shot.
The home team sat back and protected the lead in period three doing a great job which also included killing off two partial 5 on 3 man power disadvantages.
Jacob Kment, who came in to relieve starter Darien Ekblad said, "We could not get anything going tonight. I don't know if it was the bus trip or not. This is a good team playing in a small rink and they use it to their advantage, but we can't use the small rink as an excuse. We know we need to find a way to win at least one game here."
Eric Shaw said, "We had nothing going for us which is not the way you want to start the provincial final series, but these games happen every now and again. We did not make their goaltender work too hard tonight, in fact most of the shots we did get were from the outside. We need to come out strong tomorrow and keep it simple."
Read Peterborough Examiner's take on the game
73's Captain Beaulieu Honoured at WESPYs
Congratulations to Essex 73's captain Corey Beaulieu, the recipient of the WESPY award for Male Hockey Player of the Year 2013.
The Windsor / Essex Sports Persons of the Year (WESPY) Awards is the premier sports award ceremony in the region and the WESPY’s, as recognized by athletes and coaches alike, have become the most prestigious awards in Windsor – Essex.
Beaulieu defeated former Windsor Spitfires' forward Kirby Rychel and LaSalle Vipers' Dylan Denomme, and becomes the second 73's player ever to win the award. R.J. Hotts won the award in the inagural year of the WESPY's.
Congratulations, also, to Kris Wojnarowski who was nominated in the category of Executive of the Year 2013. Riverside Minor Baseball's Tom LaPorte received the award.
Essex 73's Capture 3rd Consecutive Great Lakes Junior C Hockey Championship
By: Kevin E. Neels
73's Captain Cory Beaulieu led his Essex 73's to their third consecutive league championship Friday evening in Belle River by scoring his second "hat trick" of this series.
After an evenly played opening twenty minutes of play the 73's kicked it into high gear in the middle frame and coasted in the final twenty minutes.
The home town Canadiens got off to the start they were hoping for as a point shot from defenseman Kody Gagnon hit the post before bouncing off the back side of Essex goaltender Darien Ekblad and falling in to the cage behind. Little did we know at this early stage that this would be the only puck to get past Ekblad on this night.
Beaulieu started things off in period two as he wristed a shot over net minder Mitch Topliffe while on the power play at 5:17. Mid period on a scrambled play where no one could seem to pick up a loose puck twenty feet in front of the Canadiens cage it was Beaulieu who stepped in from the blue line and slid a wrist shot low stick side to give the 73's their first lead of the game.
If anyone blinked they probably missed the next goal as Dylan Solecki had a wide open cage to shoot at after a pretty feed from line mate Matthew Hebert just 11 seconds after the previous goal. An assist could have been given to the linesman as the Essex dump in would have gone in behind the Belle River net but instead ended up on Hebert's stick.
The 73's carried that 3-1 lead into the final period and did a great job of shutting the Canadiens down as the chances were kept to a minimum. In the process Beaulieu completed his "hat trick" at 11:38 as he split the defense while killing a penalty and his back hander beat Topliffe along the ice. Final score 4-1 Essex.
Beaulieu said, "It's a funny game sometimes, you struggle to score at times and sometimes, everything you shoot ends up in the net. We really got hot in that second period and just kept the momentum going. This is a pretty
awesome feeling right now."
Rookie Dallas Pereira said, "It was important that we end this series tonight as you just never know in a game seven. This championship is a pretty special feeling, but the next one is even better."
Essex won home ice advantage. Game #1 in Essex Tuesday, March 18th. Gametime is 7:45pm. Remainder of schedule
73's Captain Wins Second Great Lakes Junior C Scoring Title
The defending Great Lakes Junior C Most Valuable Player may have sealed the vote again this year after capturing his second scoring title in as many years.
Corey Beaulieu recorded four assists February 1st in Essex' last game against the Wallaceburg Lakers, giving him 31 goals, 35 assists and 66 points on the year, 10 more than second place point-getter, Cam Aiken, of Blenheim.
Beaulieu, who graduates from junior hockey after this season, was consistant all year, but really picked up the pace in the last stretch of the regular season, registering 15 points in his final five games.
The 21-year old Amherstburg, ON native, who had 63 points last year, is on a 10-game point streak (8-13-21).
In 36 games this year, Beaulieu had a point in at least 30 of them. More impressive is his ability to play a rugged two-way game while only accumulating 18 minutes in penalties all year.
The line of Beaulieu, play-making centre Daniel Slipchuk (13-33-46) and speedy winger Alex Garon (18-26-44 in just 32 games), is the best line in the Great Lakes circuit, and accounted for 29.2% of Essex' 212 goals this season.
Corey Beaulieu's Career Statistics click here
ESSEX 73's TRIVIA QUESTION will return next season.
Deadline: Sunday 11:59pm Sunday before next Essex 73's home game.
This week's winner receives two (2) tickets to the next Essex 73's home game.
1) Select your choice
2) If your choice is correct, and you are the only person to answer the question correctly, you are the winner
3) Tie breaker determined by draw. Example two or more correct answers, all will be entered into a draw and first person's name pulled is the winner
4) Winning prize will be available for pickup at Essex 73's box office the night of next home game
5) You can enter as many times as you want providing you use a unique and valid email address
6) You can only win once in a given month
7) Valid ID required to claim prize
8) Prize has no cash value and can not be exchnaged or refunded
9) Executive members and volunteers of the Essex 73's are ineligible