Blades drop close 3-2 verdict to first place ’73s

ESSEX – The Blenheim Blades gave it a great effort Tuesday night in Essex, but came up a goal short as they lost 3-2 to the first-place ’73s before a crowd of 505 at the Essex arena.

   The Blades are now 3-3-0-0 on the season, and tied with the Mooretown Flags for fourth place with six points each, while Essex is 6-1-0-0.

   Friday Blenheim will be in Dresden to tangle with the Kings, who have one win in six starts, and are currently tied for last in the eight -team Provincial Junior Hockey League Stobbs Division with the Wallaceburg Thunderhawks.

  Sunday the defending champion Lakeshore Canadiens come to town for a 7 p.m. game at the Blenheim Memorial Arena.

   Things started off great for the Blades Tuesday as the club grabbed a 2-0 lead on a first period goal by captain Ben Barnard at 16:19, and an early second period score by Ian Campbell at 4:27.

   For both players the goals were their third of the season with veteran Evan Wells, who was playing his first game, getting assists on each marker. Rookie Daniel Norton helped out on Barnard’s tally.

  Just over a minute after Campbell’s goal Essex’s Jacob Fields put the ’73s on the board, with Ethan Hamelin tying things at 2-2 at 13:02 of the middle 20 minutes.

   The game winner for Essex came again off the stick of Hamelin at 12:25 of the third period.

   BLADES BITS: Jake Vancoillie was in net for Blenheim and made 39 saves, while his teammates fired 30 shots on Essex netminder Adrian McBride…Vancoillie was named the third star of the game, with McBride the second, and Hamelin the first…The Blades were without defencemen Brad Prudhomme and Jason Boucher, and forward/defenceman Ben Brooks.