73's Cruise By Sharks in 6-1 Win on Home Ice; Wheaton Shutout Streak Stopped
Fire Prevention Week as Sparky and a few others from the Essex Fire & Rescue Services came out to promote their open house and Fire Prevention Week. Photo by Laurie Beaten
By: Garrett Fodor
The Essex 73's continued their impressive streak of late as they sunk the Wheatley Sharks by a 6-1 score Tuesday.
Essex began the scoring with a pair of goals in the eleventh minute of play just thirty seconds apart. Defenseman Adam Giairin opened the scoring when his rocket from the point beat Sharks net minder Adam Leboeuf. Sniper Phil Janikowski doubled the lead beating Leboeuf high on the glove side. Max Viselli closed out the scoring in the opening
period redirecting a point shot to send Essex to the dressing room with a 3-0 edge.
Period two was not much better for Leboeuf as he continued to get bombarded with pucks with little defense to support him. Essex went on to add another pair in the frame for a comfortable 5-0 cushion heading into the third period. Goals came off the sticks off veteran Dallas Pereira and rookie Brett Vorshuk in the period.
Heading into Tuesday's game, Essex goaltender Trevor Wheaton had back to back shutout performances, and was looking for the "hat trick" so to speak. Michael Vieira increased the lead to 6-0 mid period. The Sharks played a fairly solid period however and refused to give up. With just under five minutes remaining Wheaton's shutout streak was over as former 73 Andy Gossman scored after an Essex turnover.
Phil Janikowski finished the evening with three points, but feels his evenings success was due to his team mates. "It felt great contributing offensively, but I think my success tonight came from playing our systems and having a bit of luck," Janikowski said. "I feel heading into our next game we need to work on our defensive game a bit more, and we certainly can't take Wallaceburg lightly. If we don't improve our defensive zone coverage, somewhere down the road it will come back and bite us."
Essex will be on the road Wednesday when they visit the Lakers in Wallaceburg.
Wheaton Shuts Door on Kings For Shutout Number Three on The Season
By: Kevin E. Neels
Essex net minder Trevor Wheaton shut the door for the second consecutive game, and for the third time this season in leading the Essex 73's to a 6-0 victory in Dresden Friday evening.
Wheaton stopped 24 shots to earn the win. Offensively, former Canadiens winger Tyler Turner had a great night with four assists, while rookie Alixe Saliba added a pair of goals.
Essex dominated the opening period but could manage just a single goal from Phil Janikowski at 17:43 on a redirect off a point shot. This goal also ended the night for Kings goaltender Joel Sowinski as he needed to be helped off the ice as he could not get up after the goal. It looked like Sowinski may have pulled a muscle or injured his leg during the play.
The 73's continued to check Dresden into the ice in the middle period as the home team could not get anything going. In the meantime the 73's continued to increase their lead. Max Viselli scored on a power play before rookie Alixe Saliba notched a pair before the second intermission.
Period three was a long drawn out affair with the number of penalties called, and the Essex penalty kill was superlative as they managed to kill off a 5 minute major, and a five on three during the period. In between all the penalties Essex added another pair of scores for good measure. Michael Vieira cashed in at the 12:20 mark, and rookie Brett Vorshuk scored his first goal in a 73 uniform 16 seconds later after a nifty move around a Kings defender, and walking in untouched to beat backup goaltender Jake Wilkens with a quick snap shot.
Alixe Saliba, who had originally signed a contract with Tecumseh said, "I wanted to play Jr. C this year, and see what it was all about, and so far I am really enjoying myself. It has been a challenge, but I feel I am up for it. I consider myself a sniper for the most part, but I don't mind throwing the body around either. I am hoping this team can have another season similar to last year, and I am looking forward to being a part of it."
Essex will return home Tuesday to host the Wheatley Sharks at 7:00 pm.
Blades Not Too Sharp Against 73's in 4-0 Loss
By: Garrett Fodor
Tuesday night the Essex 73's hosted the Blenheim Blades after a week long hiatus, and they did not disappoint as they dropped the visitors 4-0.
Right from the get go the 73's were quick to control the puck and put the visiting Blades behind the eight ball. In fact just 56 ticks after the opening face-off Phil Janikowski converted on a 2 on 1 beating Blades goaltender Eric Stewardson high on the blocker side taking out the water bottle in the process. From there Essex' Captain Matthew Hebert doubled the score with a backhander, and, closing out the scoring in period one was another returning veteran player William Stadder. Stadder capitalized on the power play after a huge rebound from Stewardson.
Period two was less on the offensive side and more on the aggressive side. Rookie Alixe Saliba added his second goal on the season three minutes in as he unleashed a rocket of a snap shot beating Stewardson just below the cross bar on the glove side. At this point the Blades tried to get Essex off their game with the physical stuff, whether it was taking out 73's net minder Trevor Wheaton or finishing their checks with that little extra shove, it was all to
no avail as the 73's held on to the 4-0 lead heading into the intermission.
The final frame did not have much in the way of offensive opportunities as Essex was content with their lead and focused on the defensive aspect of the game by playing solid, smart hockey. Trevor Wheaton finished the night with 24 saves to record his second shutout of the early season.
"I felt we played well tonight, and am encouraged with what I saw out there tonight." said, Head Coach Gil Langlois, "The two practices we had between games really helped. We played much better as a unit, and we had our legs, but there is still room for improvement. Since day one, Wheaton has done what we expected. He has played solid,
made some key saves, and his being vocal out there has really helped our young guys out."
Essex' next stop will be Friday night in Dresden when they will visit the Jr. Kings.
73's Bounce Back With 3-1 Win Over Dresden Jr Kings
By: Garrett Fodor
The Essex 73's hosted the Dresden Jr. Kings Tuesday evening, and for a second straight game their offense was almost nonexistent as they grinded out a 3-1 win. With the Integrity Amherstburg Admirals shutting out the 73's Sunday evening for their first loss of the campaign, Essex was looking to bounce
back Tuesday. Essex managed to do that, but barely.
William Stadder scored the lone goal in the opening period with three minutes remaining with Essex having the man advantage. Stadder shot the puck from the half boards and Kings net minder Joel Sowinski was unable to control the puck as it deflected in off his glove. Sowinski kept his team in the game in the opening frame as Essex shooters bombarded him with 18 shots, while his counterpart Trevor Wheaton faced just 9 pucks.
In the second both teams tried to muster up some offense combining for 27 shots. Like period one the 554 in attendance had little to cheer about as offense was hard to come by. Both teams struggled defensively at times as well. The 73's increased their lead to 2-0 briefly as Phil Janikowski beat Sowinski high glove side with three minutes remaining in the period, but just 39 ticks later the visitors were on the score sheet as Derek Daly beat Wheaton low to the blocker side off a scramble. The net was dislodged slightly when the puck went in, and Wheaton was clearly upset with the officials that the goal had been allowed, and had words with the referee at period end.
In the final frame Essex padded their lead with a goal coming off the stick of Michael Vieira. Vieira was the recipient of a gift after Dallas Pereira drove to the net forcing Sowinski to make a great save, but the rebound was not contained and Vieira smartly following up the play tapped in the rebound for his fourth goal of the season.
The final shots on goal favoured Essex 42-36.
"It feels good to get the offensive game going, but there is always room for improvement," said, Vieira, "It was good to get back into the win column and end our loss streak at just 1. After Sunday, we talked about last year, and that drove us to play better tonight. Overall we have to work harder on our defensive game, and , perform the jobs we have been asked to do."
After a hectic few weeks Essex will now enjoy a week off before hosting the Blenheim Blades next Tuesday at 7:00 pm.
Admirals Defeat 73's In Long Drawn Out Contest
The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals handed the Essex 73's their first defeat Sunday evening in a long evening of hockey. The game was stopped on a number of occasions due to poor ice conditions allowing the arena staff to do some repair work on the ruts and holes left on the ice. With 13:52 remaining in the third period the on ice officials decided to play the remainder of the game on rink two. When all was said and done the Admirals grabbed the two points in a 2-0 shutout.
Former Leamington Flyer Blaine Bechard beat former teammate Trevor Wheaton on a long shot which Wheaton wishes he could have taken back at the 10:11 mark of the opening period. This was all the scoring the home team would need on the night as Essex could not get anything going. It was one of those games where the puck would not stay on the 73's sticks, due to unlucky bounces or fanned shots etc.
The final goal on the evening came off the stick of Dylan Muzzatti as he deposited the puck into an empty Essex net with thirty ticks left on the clock.
Trevor Wheaton suffered his first loss of the season while his counterpart Connor Meyerink earned the win. "It was a long week of hockey for us, and maybe some of our legs just were not there, but we can't make any excuses," said, Dallas Pereira, "This was a game I am sure both clubs had marked on their calendars, but in the end they gave the extra effort. We have to be better, in fact we are better, but we did not show it tonight. We are not that concerned too much at this point as it is just game five of the season."
Essex returns home Tuesday evening to host the Dresden Jr. Kings at 7:00 pm.
Kyle Spearing Wins Silver at Special Olympics North America
The Essex 73's congratulated Kyle Spearing - son of goalie coach Brian - before Tuesday's game against Mooretown. Kyle won a Silver medal recently at the Special Olympics North American (SONA) Golf Tournament at Port Royal Golf Course in Hilton Island, South Carolina.
SONA is the largest event outside of the World Games.
The Silver medal means Kyle now qualifies for the Provincial Champiosnhips next year. His goal, ultimately, is National Championships and hopefully the World Games in 2018.
Best of luck, Kyle!
73's Offense Too Much For Visiting Flags
By: Garrett Fodor
24 hours after their convincing 9-1 win over Wheatley the 73's were at it again. They hosted the Mooretown Flags Tuesday, and the locals continued to roll with limited rest, cruising to a 5-1 victory.
Much like their season opener, the scoring was opened 85 ticks in as Tyler Scott found the back of the net behind Flags goaltender Brandon Johnson, who paid the price when he was caught cheating on his positioning. Scott made no mistake blowing a slap shot into the top corner, blocker side. Mooretown was quick to silence the crowd however as a couple of good shifts paid off when Brent Blais capitalized by beating Trevor Wheaton a few minutes later. Captain Matthew Hebert scored on a beautiful solo effort less than two minutes later to send the home team into the intermission with a slim one goal margin.
After scoring twice the previous evening in Wheatley Michael Vieira lit the lamp early in period two to give the 73's some breathing room. Despite the one sided territorial play the locals managed just one more tally in the period when Scott notched his second of the night on an Essex power play.
In the third and final frame Mooretown goaltender Brandon Johnson continued this heavy workload facing another 18 shots for a total of 54 on the night. His counterpart Trevor Wheaton faced 6 for a total of 25. William Stadder was the lone goal scorer in period three as he tipped in a point shot while on another power play.
The newest member of the 73's, defenseman Kade McKibbon, who at just 15 years old, has 5 points in his first two games for the club. "It feels good to not only be playing here, but putting up some points and helping contribute to the team's success, " said, McKibbon. "I grew up watching the 73's, and playing here is a dream come true. I need to strengthen my defensive play at this level, and become
more physical against the bigger boys, but as the year goes on that will come."
Essex concludes the home and home with the Flags on Friday evening in Mooretown with an
8:00 pm start.
73's Home Opener Celebration Includes Honourary Members of all 7 Schmalz Cup Wins
Frank Matthys Named Essex Citizen of the Year 2015
by Sylene Argent
THE ESSEX FREE PRESS
Frank Matthys, now 89-years old, is affectionately known to many as “Mr. Essex 73.” This volunteer has been involved with the Essex 73’s since the hockey team’s inception 42 years ago.
In recognition of the years of dedication Mathys has devoted to the local Junior “C” hockey team, he was named Essex’s 2015 Citizen of the Year. The announcement was made on the Unifor Local 444 main stage during the Essex Fun Fest’s Saturday evening festivities.
“What he does for our hockey club is irreplaceable,” 73’s General Manager Scott Miller said during the announcement.
Miller supported the nomination made in Mathys’s honour that Ron Campbell had put-forth. “He’s like a father to every player on this team.”
Miller commented that Matthys is always around the arena completing jobs and various tasks to aid the players and the club. Some mornings, before Miller heads to work, he’ll stop by the arena quickly and Matthys will be there already, doing the laundry or completing some other duty, like cleaning equipment.
Miller claimed Matthys is the only man in Ontario who can lay claim to having won seven all-Ontario Schmaltz Cup championships as he has been a volunteer with the team when it has earned each of these titles. Miller noted Mathys also helped lay bricks for the Memorial Arena when it was erected in the early 1960s.
“Today, he’s on the bench every game. He rarely misses a game,” Miller commented.
Campbell noted he approached Miller to support the nomination he made for Matthys nearing the deadline for the award nominations. He chose to put Mathys forward because of the years of dedication he has shown to the 73’s and community.
“I didn’t know about it, it was a big surprise,” Matthys commented after learning he was chosen to be Essex’s 2015 Citizen of the Year. “I feel good. I’m ready for another season.”
The Essex Rotary Club, Heritage Essex, the Essex-based Knights of Columbus, and the Town of Essex present the Citizen of the Year award each year. This program has been ongoing since 1978 to recognize the volunteer efforts of some of Essex’s community-minded residents.
A banquet will be held in the fall to honour Matthys for his years of contribution. This event will double as a fundraiser for Heritage Essex.
OHA Releases Championship Video On Essex 73's 7th Schmalz Cup
Essex Wins Game Seven Battle to Claim Seventh Schmalz Cup
By: Kevin E. Neels
The Essex 73's had four chances to capture their seventh Schmalz Cup heading into game four with a 3-0 series lead over a tough Port Hope Panthers hockey club. The Panthers proved how tough they were as they went on to defeat the 73's in the next three games to even the series at 3-3 and force a seventh and deciding game in the friendly rink they call home.
If the 73's were to claim the championship they would need to adjust their game and get back to solid defense, something that lacked in the three Panthers victories. Either way, this was predicted to be a great game from two teams that have been very evenly matched.
At the end of the night, it was indeed defense that turned the trick for the 73's, as Noah Hedrick shutout Port Hope for the second time in the series, this time by a slim 1-0 score.
Period one was scoreless as Hedrick, and his counterpart Devan Tremblay were unbeatable with the home team having an 11-8 shot advantage.
Essex held a slim 6-5 shot advantage in the middle frame but managed to score the game's only goal as Jordan Ryan beat Tremblay late in the period on a feed from Tyler Scott.
The Panthers held a 9-7 advantage in shots in period three but could not get the equalizer.
This was a classic game for a game seven. Shots were very close with both teams getting their chances, and the key, only one power play in the entire sixty minutes, a rarity at this level of hockey, but a rarity that we wish would could see more often.
Congratulations to the Port Hope Panthers on a great season, and a great series, and congratulations to the Essex 73's on capturing Schmalz Cup number seven
Port Hope Edged 1-0 In Game 7 Of Schmalz Cup Final
Courtesy of North Cumberland Today
PORT HOPE - In the end, the Port Hope Panthers didn't have one more rally left in them.
They couldn't have come much closer to winning the Ontario Hockey Association junior C championship series, though, but it was just out of their grasp.
The Panthers had rallied from a 3-0 series deficit to force Game 7 on Friday night, but the visiting Essex 73's earned a 1-0 victory to capture the Schmalz Cup in front of 1,200 spectators at the Jack Burger Sports Complex in Port Hope.
Jordan Ryan scored the lone goal for Essex with 3:09 left in the second period. That put the Panthers in the position of trying to battle back the rest of the way.
“It's always tough to lose and it's tough to lose at this stage (of the season), but I'm proud of them,” Panthers head coach Mat Goody said of his players. “I'm proud of the way they fought back and they should be proud of themselves. It was a hard fought battle. Credit to (Essex), they played a tight game. It was a good hockey game and the community should be proud of these guys too for the way they conducted themselves all season.”
It was May of last year that the Panthers began this run to the Schmalz Cup final. That was when rookie camp was held with the return of Goody as head coach and the goal of reaching the OHA championship junior C championship .
It was perhaps a lofty goal considering the Panthers had been eliminated in the first round of the Empire Junior C Hockey League playoffs the previous season, but the club was setting its goals high.
They finished the 2014-2015 Empire regular campaign with a first-place record of 31-8-1, which was 18 points ahead of the second-place Napanee Raiders.
In the Empire playoffs, the Panthers defeated the defending champion Picton Pirates in five games and then swept Napanee in four games in the league final.
In the OHA Schmalz Cup playoffs, the Panthers knocked off the Clarington Eagles in six games in the quarterfinals and swept the Alliston Hornets four straight in the semifinals.
Trailing 3-0 in the championship series against Essex, the Panthers could have swept.
Goody believes the way his club rebounded made it a better experience, despite the Game 7 defeat.
“I think it would have hurt more going out four straight,” he remarked. “Now we know what those guys felt like for the last two years. They've battled through adversity themselves – they've got guys there that have been through (losing) twice. Congratulations to them and it's exciting how far we came in a year as a year. It's important that we take the good from this and move forward.”
Essex was playing in their third straight Schmalz Cup final after losing to Picton in 2013 and the Lakefield Chiefs in 2014.
Scott Bromley, the 73s captain, played on both those teams and noted it was the fourth straight year for his club in the Schmalz Cup playoffs that he's been a part of.
While Bromley said it was “amazing” to finally be victorious, he acknowledged it wasn't easy.
“Port Hope was a heck of a team, making that three-game comeback, so we had to really rally back together,” Bromley said. “They gave us our best run yet and that was a fun series to play in. Kudos to them, they did an awesome job.”
Bromley said the73s were able to overcome the Port Hope rally in the series because of the camaraderie amongst the players.
“A lot of us are best friends and hang out outside the arena so it was pretty easy for our leaders to rally the guys because say one thing and all these guys jump on board because we're such good friends,” he remarked. “I'm super happy for all the guys on our team. I'm super proud of all the young guys who came in and bought into the systems and everything.”
This was expected to be a rebuilding season for the 73s.
“We lost our two main goal scorers and a couple really key defencemen, so it was supposed to be a rebuilding year,” Bromley said. “We got a lot of good guys who came out to our camp. We're not the most skilled team ever, but we have a whole group of 20 guys who buy into the systems. All the guys here did an amazing year.”
Friday's Game 7 was the final junior contest for Bromley, Ryan – who scored the decisive goal in his swan song – Daniel McIntyre and Daniel Slipchuk.
“I'm just so proud of our boys,” said Essex head coach Gil Langlois. “You look at the two teams and they probably had more skill than we did, but we just found a way to get it done here today. A 1-0 victory is so sweet, especially for the four overagers. A couple of them have been with me for the four years.
“We exceeded our expectations coming into the season because we had so many new guys and two rookie goalies.”
Like Bromley, Langlois gave kudos to the Panthers.
“You have to tip your hat to Port Hope 100%,” he said. “They work so hard and it's been said before, the first three games a bounce here or a bounce there it would have been a totally different outcome (in those games) probably. They're well-coached and they played hard. What I enjoyed about today's game, there was no goofiness, the kids stuck to hockey and really had a commitment to playing the game and winning.
“I applaud Port Hope's tenacity,” Langlois added. “They're a very good team.”
The 73s made the long trek home to Essex, near Windsor, after the game Friday.
“It's going to be a nice ride home,” Langlois said. “A long one, but a nice one.”
Panthers coach Goody, meanwhile, gave praise to his overagers who played their final junior game. They were captain Jacob Spicer, Tyler Davey, Connor Turland, Dylan Baxter and goaltender Devan Tremblay.
“Those guys have a special place in my heart and they're good people and they have bright future ahead of them,” he said.
Spicer remained positive even when the Panthers fell behind 3-0 in the series. He said in an interview with Northumberland Today at the time that his club had an opportunity facing elimination. He wasn't pleased for the Panthers to be down three games to none, but he suggested how it great of a win it would be to rally and win in such dramatic fashion.
After that, the Panthers won three straight and were just short of the championship victory.
“Anytime you're down 3-0, especially in the final, and you have enough character in the room to even come back and force it to Game 7, it's a privilege,” Spicer said. It sucks to fall short, but at the same time I'm proud to fall short with that team. I wouldn't want to go through it with any other guys. That was my best year of hockey.”
Spicer played five seasons for the Panthers and it was his first time in front of a sell-out crowd at the Jack Burger Sports Complex.
“It's great, win or lose, to know we have that much support,” Spicer said. “I've never in my life played in front of an electric crowd like that. To end my career like that, even though we lost, it's nice to know I and the team had all that support.”