Lots of Hardware Handed Out at the Essex 73's Awards Banquet
73's Clinch 5th Consecutive Great Lakes Junior C Championship
By: Kevin E. Neels
Captain Matthew Hebert and backup goaltender Matt Badour led the Essex 73's to a 5-4 win Sunday afternoon to claim their fifth consecutive GLJCHL title. Hebert scored a pair of goals, and Badour was solid in goal once again to earn the win.
It was a see -saw battle with both teams struggling to gain any momentum, but in the end it was the 73's who managed to get the job done, although there were some nail biting moments for sure for the 1540 in attendance.
Despite being outshot 14-3 in the opening period it was the Admirals who held a 1-0 lead compliments of an early power play goal.
The flood gates opened up in period two with the 73's finally finding some cracks in Amherstburg goaltender Connor Meyerink's armour . Essex outscored the visitors 4-2 in the period to hold a 4-3 edge heading into period three. Deadline acquisition Griffin McCarty started things off just a minute into the period as he pounced on a rebound and made no mistake.
Amherstburg would not lie down however as just a few minutes later they regained the lead on a James Brooks goal. Six minutes later the 73's were back on even terms as defenseman Matthew Rosati flipped a wrist shot towards the net and beat Meyerink who did not see the shot at all. Hebert gave Essex their first lead of the game a short time later as a huge giveaway by the Admirals ended up in the back of the net.
Once again the visitors came right back as a minute later a shot off the back boards ended up on the stick of a Admirals player, and there was no mistake in tying this game once again. In the final minute of play
Essex regained the lead as another screen shot eluded Meyerink with Hebert notching his second, this time on a power play.
Early third period the 73's gained a bit of breathing room as Eric Shaw ripped a wrist shot high short side for a two goal cushion, which as it turned out would be needed.
Amherstburg's James Brooks would get his team to within a goal at 6:46 of the period but that was as close as it would get as the 73's defense held off the Admirals attack the rest of the way to earn the league championship for the twentieth time in franchise history.
Tyler Boughner, who came over from Blenheim during the off season said, "There is no feeling like it at the moment. We knew that after they took the series lead from us that it was time to step up, and get down to business, and it has paid off. I know there have been some doubters out there about how deep this team was, well, with the quality of players we have sitting out this series, I think we proved just how deep this team is, " said Boughner. "Kudos to Matt Badour as well, he is playing the best hockey of his life right now, and it couldn't have come at a better time. We will cherish this day for a short while, but we still have more work to do, as
we are not done yet."