Admirals force Game 7 with OT win over 73’s

 

By Ron Giofu

Game 7, it is.

James Brooks’ powerplay goal 17:44 into overtime gave the Integrity Amherstburg Admirals a 3-2 victory over the Essex 73’s Friday night at the Libro Centre. Fans from both teams packed the rink for the thriller, a game which saw Essex outshoot Amherstburg 45-27 but saw Admirals’ goalie Connor Meyerink make 43 saves.

The Amherstburg Admirals celebrate a 3-2 overtime win over the Essex 73's March 18 at the Libro Centre. The Game 6 win forces Game 7 in Essex Sunday afternoon.

The Amherstburg Admirals celebrate a 3-2 overtime win over the Essex 73’s March 18 at the Libro Centre. The Game 6 win forces Game 7 in Essex Sunday afternoon.

After a scoreless first period, the Admirals scored twice in a five-minute span in the first half of the second period. Dean Patterson scored on the powerplay to make it 1-0 and Travis Campbell made it 2-0 later in the period.

Griffin McCarty scored for Essex late in the period with Max Viselli tying it for the 73’s early in the third period. Amherstburg had a great chance to go up with 6:53 remaining in regulation but Broden Meloche was unable to score on a penalty shot attempt.

“It’s the biggest win in franchise history,” said Admirals head coach Paul Bortignon. “There’s not even a close second at this point.”

Bortignon praised the work of his goalie but said the rest of the team showed heart in bouncing back after giving up a two-goal lead.

“Our guys battled,” said Bortignon.

In order to surpass this win with an even greater victory, Bortignon said they will have to work hard for the entire game Sunday afternoon. He said the 73’s won an Ontario championship in seven games last year while few of his players have seventh game experience.

“We’ve taken every challenge and we’ve gotten stronger. We’re going to enjoy this,” said Bortignon.

The support of the Amherstburg community wasn’t lost on Bortignon.

“You can’t even find the words to begin to thank the people who came out in the town,” said the Admirals’ coach. “It would be special to get a win for the people of Amherstburg.”

Admirals' forward Dylan Muzzatti attempts to strip 73's defenseman Adam Gaiarin during Game 6 Friday night at the Libro Centre in Amherstburg.

Admirals’ forward Dylan Muzzatti attempts to strip 73’s defenseman Adam Gaiarin during Game 6 Friday night at the Libro Centre in Amherstburg.

Brooks took scoring the game-winning goal in stride, noting there is still another game on the horizon.

“The job is not done,” said Brooks. “We have work we have to do.”
If the Admirals don’t win Sunday, “none of this means anything,” Brooks added.

Brooks said he gained position in front of the Essex goal and credited Curtis Prymack for giving him a great feed he was able to bury. However, he said they have to turn around quickly and believes they can do it, given they have done it before.

“We’re here for a reason,” said Brooks. “In Game 7, anything can happen.”

Sunday’s game starts at 2:30 p.m. at the Essex Centre Sports Complex.

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