(ESSEX, ON) – The Essex 73’s hockey club are hot off a four-game sweep of the regular season champion Lakeshore Canadiens, winning their sixth consecutive Great Lakes/Stobbs Division title. The 73’s will host the Yeck Division’s Dorchester Dolphins, for the third time in four years, tonight in Game 1 of the Provincial Junior Hockey League’s Western Conference final.
Last season’s four-and-done series against Essex will be in the back of the minds of the Dolphins’ players as they return to Essex Arena for the first time in almost a year. Dorchester has been building a contender this year, going undefeated, 39-0-1, during the regular season and running into little trouble in the playoffs until their division final against the Aylmer Spitfires went to seven.
A familiar face from last season’s series, Derek Todosichuk, leads the Dolphins with 13 goals and 27 points in only 14 playoff games.
Riley Brown, who was brutally peppered in last year’s series, has been the workhorse in net for his team. He carries a 9-3 playoff record, with a 2.05 goals against average and a .935 save percentage.
Essex, who surprised many with their clean sweep of the Canadiens, have been led in the playoffs by Eric Shaw, with 11 goals in 13 games, and Tyler Scott, with 18 points in the same number of matches.
Tyler Ryan has been stellar in net for Essex with a shiny 11-1 record, a 1.54 goals against average, and a .945 save percentage.
Having last won it all in 2015, the 73’s are in search of extending their record tally of Schmalz Cup provincial titles to eight. They will need twelve more wins, through three more rounds of playoffs, to do so.
PJHL Western Conference Final schedule:
- Game 1 – at Essex – Tues, March 21 @ 7:30 p.m.
- Game 2 – at Dorchester – Fri, March 24 @ 8:30 p.m.
- Game 3 – at Essex – Sun, March 26 @ 7 p.m.
- Game 4 – at Dorchester – Wed, March 29 @ 7:30 p.m.
- *Game 5 – at Essex – Sat, April 1 @ 7:30 p.m.
- *Game 6 – at Dorchester – Sun, April 2 @ 5:30 p.m.
- *Game 7 – at Essex – Mon, April 3 @ 7 p.m.