Belle River Nobles

Bulldogs lose in WECSSAA finals in three games

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs pushed the Belle River Nobles to the limit in the WECSSAA “AA” boys hockey final but could get no further.

The third and deciding game was played Monday afternoon at the Atlas Tube Centre in Lakeshore with the Nobles winning the best-of-three series and the championship with a 4-0 victory.

General Amherst’s Max Clifford flips the puck into the Belle River zone during the third and deciding game of the WECSSAA Tier 1 hockey final Monday afternoon at the Atlas Tube Centre in Lakeshore. Belle River won the game 4-0 to win the title.

General Amherst’s Max Clifford flips the puck into the Belle River zone during the third and deciding game of the WECSSAA Tier 1 hockey final Monday afternoon at the Atlas Tube Centre in Lakeshore. Belle River won the game 4-0 to win the title.

“It was a good hockey game for two periods,” said Bulldogs’ head coach Pat Garrett.

A shorthanded goal that made it 2-0 for Belle River seemed to take the Bulldogs off their game for a bit but the wheels came off for the Bulldogs in the third period. Garrett said they tried sneaking a player behind the Nobles’ defense to generate some offense but that led to two-on-ones the other way, which proved costly.

“For lack of a better term, it got away from us,” he said, referring to the third period.

Garrett, who coached the team this season with Joe Shaw, said they were proud of the players and the effort they put forth.

“The tough part about championship games is someone has got to win and someone has got to lose,” he said.

Ethan Hamelin had a “phenomenal” game Monday afternoon with Garrett adding that Reid Stieler, Jacob Fields and Stefan Dobrich playing a ton of minutes on defense.

The two teams had split games last week to send the game to the deciding third game with Belle River winning last Tuesday 2-0 on their home ice and the Bulldogs tying the series with a 5-4 overtime win at the Libro Centre last Thursday afternoon. Hamelin scored the overtime winner last Thursday with Josh DiCarlo adding two goals and Dobrich and Nathan Lenson adding singles.

General Amherst celebrates Ethan Hamelin’s overtime goal last Thursday at the Libro Centre. The 5-4 win forced Monday’s Game 3.

General Amherst celebrates Ethan Hamelin’s overtime goal last Thursday at the Libro Centre. The 5-4 win forced Monday’s Game 3.

Garrett said goalie Will Bratt played well in that game. He added they had their chances in the first game but just couldn’t find a way to score despite outshooting the Nobles.

“We wanted to take it in regulation but any win is good,” Stieler said after the second game. “We’ve got to keep our energy for three periods. We finally proved we can take it to them.”

Garrett said Monday that they only lose one player to graduation and perhaps two or three more to junior hockey. The rest are eligible to return, leading him to believe the future is bright for the Bulldogs.

“That’s a good core of kids in there,” he said Monday, gesturing towards the Amherst dressing room. “I enjoyed coming to the rink and coaching them.”
Despite a 3-6-3 record in the regular season, Garrett stood by his belief they were better than that and noted they played without key players particularly early in the season. He said they had a good run when they got to the playoffs.

“It was a fun ride,” Garrett concluded.

 

Wildcats settle for scoreless tie with Belle River

 

Villanova's Kaycyn Hernandez (centre) splits between two Belle River defenders during third period action Jan. 6 at the Libro Centre. The two teams played to a 0-0 tie.

Villanova’s Kaycyn Hernandez (centre) splits between two Belle River defenders during third period action Jan. 6 at the Libro Centre. The two teams played to a 0-0 tie.

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The good news for the St. Thomas of Villanova girls hockey team coming out of last Wednesday’s game is that they are still undefeated.

The bad news is they didn’t win either.

The Wildcats and Belle River Nobles battled to a scoreless tie at the Libro Centre with Erica Fryer picking up the shutout for the Wildcats and Sarah Hosted doing the same for Belle River. Villanova coach John Purdie didn’t believe it was one of the team’s better effort, believing the team didn’t have the execution or the legs coming out of the holiday.

Purdie said they expected a bit of a lag coming out of the Christmas holidays but they still expected to get a victory.

“The expectation going into the game was to come out with the win,” he said. “A tie is good but it’s not our standard.”

Purdie said Belle River played well and he credited Fryer for helping the Wildcats to earn a point.

Avery Mertz of Villanova's girls hockey team tries to beat Belle River goalie Sarah Hosted during Jan. 6 action at the Libro Centre. The two teams played to a scoreless tie.

Avery Mertz of Villanova’s girls hockey team tries to beat Belle River goalie Sarah Hosted during Jan. 6 action at the Libro Centre. The two teams played to a scoreless tie.

“She was as sharp as she’s ever been,” said Purdie.

The Wildcats are now 5-0-1 on the season, good for 11 points in WECSSAA Tier 1 play. They are in first place, three points up on second place St. Anne. General Amherst plays in the same tier, with the Lady Gens holding a 1-1-1 record.

For the Wildcats, they aim to repeat at WECSSAA AAA/AAAA champions and get to OFSAA. Purdie believed the second half of the season will be “interesting” and noted they have two games in two weeks with St. Anne.

“The challenge I gave the girls is to dominate the next two weeks,” he said.

The next game for the Wildcats is at the Atlas Tube Centre in Lakeshore against St. Anne Jan. 14. They will then play at Lanspeary Park in Windsor against Holy Names Jan. 19 before returning to the Libro Centre for their next meeting with St. Anne.