Great Lakes Junior C League Standings
Everyone is welcome to join the Essex 73's hockey team for a FREE HOLIDAY SKATE, Tues., Dec 23rd from 6:30p to 8:00p on UCCU Rink. 73's players will be on hand to meet everyone and sign autographs. Tour the 73's dressing room while you're at it!
73's Nip Alvinston 3-2 in Overtime; Lead Great akes League By 12 Points
By: Kevin E. Neels
The visiting Essex 73's played one of their better games in recent weeks but still needed extra time to dispose of the pesky Alvinston Flyers. The 73's out shot the home club by more than double at 42 -16.
"These guys are a hard working team, and they play their systems very well in this rink, " said Anthony Cristofaro, "There are no easy wins playing here."
The first period was almost scoreless, but Cristofaro slid a rebound past Flyers net minder Cam McAlpine with just 7 ticks remaining on the clock.
The home team took a 2-0 lead into period three after scoring a pair of goals four minutes apart in the second frame. Both goals were scored high to the glove side on 73's goaltender Colin Lauzon.
Essex pressed in period three and forced Alvinston to ice the puck on numerous occasions. Eventually it caught up with the Flyers, and at 13:55 Michael Vieira redirected the puck into the far corner to send this game to extra time.
In overtime, the Flyers did not register a single shot, before Matthew Hebert ended this game on the 73's third shot.
Cristofaro added to his earlier comments by saying, "I thought we played much better tonight, as we haven't been mentally focused over the past couple of weeks. Hopefully the Christmas break will be just what the doctor ordered, and we will come back refreshed and ready to go."
Essex will be in Blenheim on Sunday night before taking a break. They will return to action on Saturday the 27th when they will be on the road in Moore town.
73's Overcome Early Three-Goal Deficit to Edge Jr. Kings, 7-5
By: Garrett Fodor
Essex played the first of a three game week before the holiday break as they hosted the Dresden Jr. Kings on Tuesday. In three of Essex' previous four games they have surrendered two goal leads, but were able to still get the W. Would the 73's improve on this statistic Tuesday?
Anyone witnessing the first two and a half minutes Tuesday would have responded with a resounding NO. This brief few minutes was rough for Essex, and very painful to watch if you were an Essex faithful. Fifteen seconds after the puck was dropped the visitors were up a goal. A minute later the visitors were up two goals. This ended 73's net minder Colin Lauzon's night before he even broke a sweat. Backup Noah Hedrick was brought in to stop the early bleeding, but, the first shot he faced found the back of the cage as well. This looked like it was going to be a long and painful evening for Essex. Essex did eventually settle things down and managed to cut into the deficit after defenseman Matthew Rosati ripped a point shot through Kings goaltender Scott Tricker. Rosati's goal would be the first of many power play goals on the evening.
During the intermission words must have been said by the coach's and veteran players as Essex came out looking like an entirely different team. They controlled the play early and created several great scoring chances which lead to the Kings drawing their second penalty of the game. It was a very short lived power play as the 73's cut the lead to a single goal after William Stadder tipped a point shot behind Tricker. Essex continued to push the Kings and it paid off at the eleven minute mark as Tyler Scott scored. The home team continued with their offensive push and two minutes later Dallas Pereira gave Essex their first lead of the hockey game. Dresden did not seem bothered by this however and managed to knot the score at 4-4 before the second intermission.
The early stages of the final twenty minutes had a lot of back and forth action with the teams exchanging power play markers two minutes apart. Phil Janikowski broke out of his scoring slump redirecting a pass over Tricker. In the end it was the 73's who would prevail as they scored two unanswered to seal the deal 7-5. Janikowski added his second of the night on yet another power play, while Daniel Slipchuk added a single to complete the scoring. A pair of defensemen lead the 73's offense on the night as Adam Gaiarin, and Matthew Rosati each had three points on the night.
"I think we stuck to our game plan. We got down early but we never gave up. We found our groove and were moving the puck well for the most part, especially on the power play, which we work on at practice a great deal. Our power play is a huge part of our success, " said, Head Coach Gil Langlois.
Essex will now hit the road for a pair of weekend games before taking time off for the holidays. Friday they will travel to Alvinston, a team which has given them fits all year. Sunday they will be in Blenheim to f ace-off against the struggling Blades.
73's Slip Past Sharks 5-3 In Tough Road Game
By: Kevin E. Neels
The good news about Saturday's game in Wheatley was that Essex headed home with the two points, the bad news, it wasn't all that pretty. Although the 73's have continued to win for the most part, they have not looked very good doing it. Having said that, every team goes through a spell during the season where they are not playing their best hockey. This looks to be that spell for Essex.
"I think we have strayed away from our systems a bit, "said Jordan Ryan, "We shine at times during most games , but we are not doing it for the full 60 minutes. We need to get back to what has made us successful."
The first period in Wheatley was scoreless but both clubs had a few quality chances but were stopped by the respective goaltenders, Adam Leboeuf from the Sharks, and Noah Hedrick of Essex.
The offense finally got rolling in the middle twenty minutes of play. The league's top power play went to work early and Ryan snapped out of a bit of a slump by redirecting Adam Gaiarin's point shot past Leboeuf. Rookie Michael Vieira increased the lead mid period as he batted a loose puck out of mid air. The home team cut the lead in half less than a minute later as they took advantage of a 73's turnover. The period ended 2-1 Essex setting up an exciting third frame.
And exciting it was if you like scoring as the teams combined for five goals. The Sharks pulled even just over a minute into the period as their leading scorer Scott Florence picked up a rebound and lifted it past Hedrick. Essex regained control of the game with a pair of goals a half minute apart. Dallas Pereira picked up the junk after a two on one and made no mistake. Anthony Cristofaro was the recipient of the second goal as he redirected the puck past Leboeuf to give Essex a 4-2 lead. Wheatley remained vigilant however and pulled to within a goal mid period, but that was a close as they would get. Pereira added his second on the night with five minutes left to complete the scoring. The Sharks did manage to pull the
goaltender with just over a minute remaining but could not get any closer.
"No team surprises me in this league, "said Ryan, "Anyone can beat anyone on any given night, as the
league is much closer this year than in past years."
Essex will return home Tuesday to face the Dresden Jr. Kings before hitting the road for three games against teams from the North.
73's Scratch Out Shootout Win After Blowing 2-Goal, Third Period Lead
By: Garrett Fodor
On Tuesday night Essex took on the Alvinston Flyers, who were sitting in seventh place looking skyward coming into action against Essex. The Flyers ranking does not do them justice considering how strong the team is. The last time these two clubs faced off it ended with Essex suffering a heart breaking loss on a last minute Flyers goal.
Essex was quick to open the scoring and netted the first goal when Nick Mainella blistered a shot short side on a play set up by big brother Dan. The lead was very short lived however as a half minute later this game was even, and 7 minutes later the visitors grabbed the lead with a power play score. The 73's were not willing to go into the first intermission with a deficit as Eric Shaw tied the score once more with a 73's power play opportunity.
The second period was less eventful with a minimal amount of real good scoring chances. The locals held the Flyers to a mere 6 shots in the period while mounting 16 of their own, two of which resulted in goals. The first goal came off the stick of Michael Vieira, who was parked on the doorstep untouched, while number two came at the hands of Tyler Turner who cashed in with just 17 ticks remaining on the clock.
The first ten minutes of period three had Essex hemmed deep in their own zone, and this resulted in the visitors scoring twice to deadlock the game once more. The tying goal ended 73's Colin Lauzon's evening in favour of Noah Hedrick.
Overtime solved nothing, so this game was headed for the dreaded shootout. After five shooters, three from Alvinston, and the first two from Essex, Matthew Hebert was given the chance to be the hero. After some quick moves Hebert had Flyers goaltender Brett Avery deep in his net, and did not disappoint, as his quick wrist shot went five hole to give Essex the 5-4 victory.
Player of the game Nick Mainella , who registered 3 points on the evening said, "It's always a good feeling when you can get the team going early, but we could not keep the momentum going. Despite the close score a win is a win, and we managed to squeak it out. We have a lot of work to do before our next contest, so we are going to have to change some things."
Essex will hit the road Saturday with a meeting in Wheatley.
Notes: Former 73's players Alex Garon, Chad Hedrick, Kevin Boggs and Corey Beaulieu took in the game last night... Salvation Army Toy Drive attracted many toys and was a success. Thank you to all who participated.
73' Rally From Early Deficit To Defeat Canadiens 7-2
By: Garrett Fodor
Tuesday Essex took on Lakeshore in one of the most heated rivalries in Jr. hockey. Essex had won 2 straight games and outscored their opponents 14-2 in the process. Tyler Turner has lead the offense with 9 points in his last 4 games, and would most definitely be looking to be a factor against his former team.
The play was fast paced in the early going with both clubs handling the puck well, and getting it deep into their espective offensive zones. Lakeshore was probably the better team over the first twenty minutes of play, and capitalized by stuffing the puck past Essex starter Noah Hedrick twice to grab a 2-0 lead. As is usually the case however, the 73's showed no sign of panic and were rewarded with a goal before the period ended. Anthony Cristafaro buried the puck past Lakeshore goaltender John Jeffries on a perfect feed from behind the net from Jordan Ryan. Despite having a 5 minute power play in the period the locals could not get the equalizer.
The second period is where the two teams started to get a bit on the nasty side as 36 minutes in penalties were handed out. The period was relatively quiet for the most part until about the sixteen minute mark, when the visitors were handed an unusually high number of consecutive minor penalties, which put them down two men for the remainder of the period, unless Essex scored. You give the league's best power play that many opportunities, and
eventually it will bite you. For Lakeshore, the bite was bad, as the 73's scored no fewer than three times in a 42 second span to take control of this hockey game. Matthew Rosati scored on a screen shot to get things started, with Phil Janikowski, and Tyler Scott completing the onslaught. This gave the home team a 4-2 lead heading into period three.
The 73's came out of the dressing room and did not let up, adding three more unanswered goals. Matthew Hebert cashed in on a 2 on 1 as his back hander found the far side of the cage. Rosati added his second of the night a few minutes later as his point shot beat Jeffries, and a mere 7 seconds later rookie William Stadder walked around the Lakeshore defense, and let go a quick wrist shot which found the netting. This ended Jeffries evening as backup
Colin Tetreault was sent in for relief duty. The third period also had a penalty shot called. Anthony Cristafaro was awarded the shot as he was hauled down after splitting the Lakeshore defense. Cristafaro back handed the puck wide of the cage after a spinarama move. Colin Lauzon played the third period for Essex as starter Noah Hedrick was injured during a late second period altercation. Lauzon stopped all shots that he faced.
"After being down 2-0 early, I think we just tried to keep our play simple by keeping pucks low and creating some opportunities. Lakeshore plays a hard and fast style of game and we just needed to keep up with them. In the end they really helped us, as we have the best power play in the league, and we made our chances count," said Cristafaro. "As far as the penalty shot went, growing up in Amherstburg as a kid, that move was something I always
Essex will have a down week now as they will be out of action until next Tuesday when they host the Alvinston Flyers for a 7:00 game.