(ESSEX, ON) – After dropping game 1 of the Ontario Hockey Association, Schmalz Cup semi-finals playoffs against the defending Ayr Centennials. the Essex 73s have made leaps and bounds to come back and pull ahead 3-1 in the series, in front of 905 fans. The Centennials are not going down without a fight, however.
During Tuesday night’s game 4 in Essex, the 73’s and Cents skated to a scoreless first period, but both teams came out ready to fight and get some goals up on the board.
Assisted by Max Viselli and Michael Ruttinger, Essex’s William Stadder netted the first goal of the game, just 4:39 into period two. Less then two minuets later, Ayr responded on the power play when Quinn Diamond fired one home. A goal by Luke Gecse had Essex in the lead at the end of the second.
An early tally by Ayr’s Zachary Masterson in the final frame had the two clubs tied up at two apiece. Unlike the past two matches, Essex didn’t want any chance of Ayr forcing overtime. Dalton Langlois notched one at 5:06, and had Essex up 3-2.
Ayr pulled their goalie for the extra man but, unfortunately for them, it didn’t quite work out. The duo of Michael Vieira, from Tyler Scott, netted the fourth, and final goal of the game, into an empty net.
“We knew it was going to be a hard series,” said Essex’s Sylvano Valente. “However, from the players to the coaches, and everyone involved, we’ve managed to go up three games to one; which is a very great success. However, the series is not over, nor are the playoffs.”
Both teams saw their fair share of penalties throughout the game, and both teams played a very strong 60 minutes of hockey.
“The series is not over, nor are the playoffs,” continued Valente. “There is still a lot of work to be done.”
Essex now travels back to Ayr tonight for a 7:30pm puck drop.