NEWPORT–Essex (5-6-2) scored two goals in each half of the Falcons and Hornets match on Tuesday, defeating North Country (3-9-1) 4-0.
"We need to believe that we belong with the better teams in the state. Today we probably don't for a lot of reasons, but deep down we know we do and that we can compete with any team," said coach James McKenny.
It was a physical first half for both teams, with a total of three yellow cards issued.
Logan Fortier was issued one for pushing a guy who moments earlier trampled him, and Chris Bronson had the other for NCU.
It was as if Essex was baiting the Falcon netminder, waiting for him to get irritated and commit a foul.
For the Hornets, Davis Stockton was the one being flagged for his behavior on the pitch.
The Metro is a rough league where physicality is the norm, and Kody Halikas spoke about how hard of a division it is to compete in.
"It is a tough league, everyone passes the ball well, shoots well, but you have got to run the whole game and stick with your man," said the senior.
On the score sheet, Rijad Mezetovic, on a feed from Luc LeBlanc, put Essex ahead 1-0 with 18:33 left in the first.
They went up 2-0 when Beny Kiesse set up Eric Lamphere for a goal.
The officials weren't waiting around for anyone to test them in the second half, issuing Jesse Breault a yellow three minutes into the action.
A minute and a half later the Hornets stretched their lead to three on a nice play.
LeBlanc hit Hunter Pelkey mid-stride and Pelkey gave Fortier a little shift and tapped the ball in the net.
LeBlanc earned his third point of the afternoon, scoring a goal on a pass from Pelkey.
"I thought we played a pretty complete game, which we needed," said Essex coach Scott Mosher.
After that goal, Fortier had seen enough and made his way off the field.
However, the Falcons had nobody ready to sub in for him and he was forced to quickly retreat into the cage as the play got underway.
Ruffie Palin eventually replaced Logan, and had a wild time in the North Country nets.
He played very aggressively, coming way out of his net to challenge Essex on each play.
He almost got burned badly, but Nate Marsh made the save in his goalies’ absence.
The Falcons had a few rushes as the game was coming to a close, but after tying the Hornets the first time the two teams met, this match went to Essex in a very decisive manner.
For North Country, they have one game left against Colchester to get ready for the post season, and the coach spoke about their strengths and their weaknesses.
"It has to be a collective effort, the team has to buy into what our potential is, and I think we can hang with anyone," said McKenny. "Defensively we are with any other team in the state and we have a very capable goalie."
On the flip side, the lack of offense has been a problem. But the Falcons will be sticking to a “scoring by committee” formula moving forward.
Said McKenny, "This season has been a cast of people who have been scoring. We don't have that one prolific goal scorer, so it has been a couple of goals here, a couple there. So I think it is going to be about guys being one hundred percent aware when they are on the field and finding positions where they can be successful."
One thing is for sure, someone, anyone, it doesn't matter who, must step up and make a difference on the score sheet.
The Falcons, currently sitting in sixteenth place, head to Colchester on Saturday to close out the 2012 campaign against the number three team in the Metro.
Game time is 1:00.