October 1st weekend, News, Atom Major, Atom, 2011-2012 (Essex Minor Hockey)

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October 1st weekend
Submitted By thavinga on Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Strong start to the season

Essex Ravens Atom Majors

(Reid Funeral Home)

                          Now that this writer has returned from a retreat in Tibet, he was not surprised to learn that the team was undefeated. With the core of this team that won an All-Ontario Championship two years ago playing together again, and the addition of some key players, the expectations are high.

On Saturday, they brought their 8-0-1 record into beautiful downtown Essex to take on the Riverside Rangers.

The millions around the world quickly realized that this had potential of being a sloppy but chippy affair. Essex netminder Dylan Schaafsma made some key saves early to give our guys the confidence they needed. Essex dominated the first period firing lasers from all angles at Riverside, but could not light the lamp.

At the 2:59 mark of the second frame Essex was able to get on the board. It was another TSN Highlight of the Night from Wyatt O'Neil, taking a pass from Darren Beneteau, and turning the Riverside goalie inside out. Once again, the defense core of Luke Brouwer, Kage Prieur, Everett VanLare, Brady Burling and Mitchell Krieger held their ground and kept the biscuit out of our net. With Riverside gased and scrambling, Essex did what they always do continuing the pressure. After taking a great pass from Brady Burling, Wyatt O'Neil dangled and deked and wristed one top shelf where they keep the peanut butter. Pretty sure the goalie is still looking for that one.

With a series of penalties for both sides this gongshow needed key plays from Nolan Miller, Connor Sagaert, Joel Yzerman, Tanner Langlois, Josh Hudvagner and Grant Baker. Our penalty kill (PK for future reference) was nothing but unselfish.

This Essex Team of grinders, snipers, and enforcers was able to add another goal half way through the third frame just from pure desire and persistence. With a scramble in front of the Riverside net, Josh Hudvagner was able to move in from the slot and squeeze one in.

The final of this Saturday Night Special was Ravens 3 and Riverside 1.

After a brief press conference, the Ravens boarded their flight to the west end to prepare for their Sunday Night Game of the Week against LaSalle.

The mood on the Gulfstream G650 was one of controlled chaos and after a few games of poker their uneventful flight touched down in LaSalle on Sunday. The Ravens were especially fired up for this game.

Chase Cosgrove was between the pipes for this affair and was nothing but focused on the task at hand. This was not going to be a game of shinny or schoolyard hockey.

Only after 30 seconds into the game, LaSalle took a early 1-0 lead. That seemed to wake a sleeping giant as Essex tied it up with Josh Hudvagner taking a nifty pass from Connor Sagaert and sliding the puck in. Just before the end of the first chippy period, LaSalle again took another lead. The Ravens point men lead by Luke Brouwer and Everett VanLare stood their ground and prevented any of the Sabres from extending their lead.

After a few penalties and some great PK lead by Brady Burling, Kage Prieur, Grant Baker and Joel Yzerman, the Ravens tied this back and forth affair up when Wyatt O'Neil roofed one in off the crossbar. At the 3:09 mark of the second period Huddy provided Essex with their first lead of the game after some determination and grinding from all the forwards and spectacular saves from Chase.

Essex carried the lead into the third period. With under 5 minutes remaining, Nolan Miller gave the Ravens the insurance and confidence they needed with an unassisted tally. This game could not have been completed without some excitement. After a questionable call and some bone jolting collisions, the Sabres were awarded with a penalty shot. Chase (The Cool Cat) Cosgrove kept this calm about him and prevented the player from even getting a shot off. Final score Essex 4 LaSalle 2.

Not that this was their most solid performance, but after a grueling schedule, the Ravens were able to sneak into LaSalle and take one from them in their own barn. Great road win!

These boys will now take a couple days rest and return to the ice for a practice and prepare for the Randy Brunett Memorial Tournament in LaSalle Thanksgiving Weekend.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

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