General Amherst Bulldogs

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.

 

Bulldogs improve to 2-1 on WECSSAA Tier 2 basketball season

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs hit their home court for the first two times this season and won both games.

The games, played last Tuesday and Thursday, saw the Bulldogs come away with 50-43 and 44-40 victories over L’Essor and Brennan respectively. Darius Wilson led the way in Thursday’s win with 26 points and 21 rebounds with Nate Lovell having six assists.

This year’s team is being coached by Cameron Scott and Zac Tytgat.

General Amherst’s Nate Lovell (34) reaches for a rebound last Thursday evening against Brennan.

General Amherst’s Nate Lovell (34) reaches for a rebound last Thursday evening against Brennan.

“I thought we played well on Thursday. We were able to exploit a size match-up and did very well rebounding against a smaller team,” said Scott. “The offense and particularly our press break sort of collapsed toward the end of the game but relentless defensive effort and intensity helped us prevail.”

The new coaches didn’t know what to expect when they walked in but are seeing good results so far.

Jason  Hamilton drives to the basket during the second half of General Amherst's win over Brennan Dec. 15.

Jason  Hamilton drives to the basket during the second half of General Amherst’s win over Brennan Dec. 15.

“I like the group of guys we have. I had no idea about any of the kids heading into tryouts and they had no idea about me. But the guys have worked very hard and paid attention to get ready for the season,” said Scott.

Being a new coach, Scott said he is unfamiliar with the rest of the talent in the league so is unsure if the Bulldogs are contenders. He said he actually prefers not to know how talented other teams are so they can take things game-by-game.

“We are taking one game at a time and we will see where we end up,” said Scott, who, like Tytgat, is a former General Amherst student.

The Bulldogs’ final WECSSAA Tier 2 regular season game before the Christmas break was Tuesday night in Kingsville after this issue of the River Town Times went to press. They resume after the holidays Jan. 10 at Tecumseh Vista Academy before they host Leamington Jan. 12.

 

 

 

Bulldogs open 2016-17 hockey season with tie and win

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs boys hockey team have opened the season with a tie and a victory.

The Bulldogs opened the 2016-17 WECSSAA boys hockey season with a 4-4 tie with the Essex Red Raiders last Thursday afternoon at the Libro Centre.

General Amherst’s Max Clifford (white jersey) drives to the Essex net on a play where he would score a third period goal. Amherst scored with nine seconds left to salvage a 4-4 tie last Thursday at the Libro Centre.

General Amherst’s Max Clifford (white jersey) drives to the Essex net on a play where he would score a third period goal. Amherst scored with nine seconds left to salvage a 4-4 tie last Thursday at the Libro Centre.

General Amherst opened the scoring in the second period to make it 1-0 and had leads of 2-1 and 3-2 at points during the rest of the game. However, Essex clawed back each time and eventually took a 4-3 lead. Bulldogs captain Reid Stieler would salvage the tie for the Bulldogs with a goal with only nine seconds left in the third period.

“Obviously we want to win but the tie is good,” Stieler said after the game.

Stieler said there are a lot of new faces on the Bulldogs team this year and they are trying to get the younger players acclimated to high school hockey where they will face bigger players throughout the season.

“It was a good first game,” said Stieler. “We were expecting a slow start to the season.”

When they got down late in the game, Stieler said they still were able to fight back due to being encouraged never to give up.

“We are always told to stay positive, keep our heads up and get the puck up high,” said Stieler.

Brock Beaudoin had two goals in the game with Max Clifford scoring the other.

Bulldogs coach Pat Garrett said he was pleased with the Essex game overall, but wished they could have put them away when the Bulldogs had the lead. He pointed out a powerplay opportunity that, if the Bulldogs had cashed in, would have given them a 4-2 lead at that point.

The General Amherst Bulldogs celebrate the tying goal that was scored with nine seconds left against Essex Nov. 24. The game ended tied at four.

The General Amherst Bulldogs celebrate the tying goal that was scored with nine seconds left against Essex Nov. 24. The game ended tied at four.

General Amherst has 13 new players this season and lost 11 off of last year’s SWOSSAA championship team, Garrett stated.

“It’s going to take these guys time to gel,” he said.

It’s more than a rebuilding year, he added, as Garrett expects the team to be in the mix for a WECSSAA AA championship.

“I feel good about this team,” he said. “We’re a young team but that’s not a bad thing.”

Garrett liked the way they fought back against Essex but noted they have more teams to compete with this season. There are now eight teams classified as AA schools.

“There will be a lot for us to see,” he said.

The Bulldogs were in action Monday afternoon at the WFCU Centre in Windsor and knocked off the Brennan Cardinals 3-1. Goals were scored by Beaudoin, Brandon Salvati and Cole Zelle. General Amherst was at home Tuesday afternoon against Holy Names in a game that was played after this issue of the RTT went to press.

Villanova defeats General Amherst in junior football action

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The St. Thomas of Villanova Wildcats came to Centennial Park last Wednesday afternoon and came away with a 36-14 win over the General Amherst Bulldogs in junior football action.

The game was even throughout most of the first half. Villanova opened the scoring with a 31-yard touchdown pass from James Hanlon to Ethan Mackinnon but General Amherst tied it in the second quarter. Emmitt Rosati’s pass was tipped but wide receiver Cole Chittle maintained his concentration and made the catch anyway and scampered to the end zone to complete the 40-yard scoring play.

Hanlon put the Wildcats back in front with an 11-yard touchdown run before halftime.

Villanova's James Hanlon tries to break through several General Amherst tacklers during a game at Centennial Park Oct. 12. Villanova won 36-14.

Villanova’s James Hanlon tries to break through several General Amherst tacklers during a game at Centennial Park Oct. 12. Villanova won 36-14.

Villanova broke the game open with a pair of scores in the third quarter. Dom Price scored on a nine-yard touchdown run to make it 21-7 while Hanlon ran one in from ten-yards out to put the Wildcats up 28-7.

The Wildcats added a single point off a punt through the end zone early in the fourth quarter but Amherst responded later in the final quarter with a drive that was capped by a Rosati three-yard touchdown run. Another Villanova score late in the game rounded out the scoring.

General Amherst head coach Dino Rosati said he coached many of the Villanova players through the Windsor Minor Football Association and Essex Ravens programs.

“They have an experienced team,” he said. “We hung tough. We came out and played hard. I’m very happy with the effort today.”

Rosati said they will put the Villanova game behind them and work hard in preparation for this Wednesday’s game with Lajeunesse, also at Centennial Park.

“We stood our ground,” Rosati said after the Villanova game. “If a couple of breaks went our way, it would have been a different game.”

General Amherst's Tyler Bratt (right) goes up for a reception against a Villanova defender in the fourth quarter of last Wednesday afternoon's game at Centennial Park. Villanova won 36-14.

General Amherst’s Tyler Bratt (right) goes up for a reception against a Villanova defender in the fourth quarter of last Wednesday afternoon’s game at Centennial Park. Villanova won 36-14.

The running game has been performing well in recent games, he added, with Justin Guy playing well at running back. He said between the running game, the passing game and improving defense, they have a shot at the WECSSAA AA title.

“They’ve got quite a bit better from the first game until now,” said Rosati.

Following the Oct. 19 game with Lajeunesse, the Bulldogs conclude the season with a pair of road games. The Bulldogs play at Sandwich Oct. 26 and conclude the regular season versus Holy Names at Windsor Stadium Nov. 2.

Sr. Bulldogs rally comes up short against Villanova

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs didn’t give up against the Villanova Wildcats but their efforts at a comeback fell short.

The Bulldogs lost a 23-12 decision to the Wildcats last Thursday evening at Windsor Stadium. The Bulldogs trailed 16-0 at halftime but managed to claw back to make it a 16-12 game in the fourth quarter before Villanova scored an insurance touchdown.

General Amherst running back Mitch Wright (right) prepares to stiff-arm Villanova's Tristan Grondin during action Sept. 22 at Windsor Stadium.

General Amherst running back Mitch Wright (right) prepares to stiff-arm Villanova’s Tristan Grondin during action Sept. 22 at Windsor Stadium.

The teams were scoreless through one quarter, with Villanova missing a 35-yard field goal attempt. The Wildcats scored a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter as well as a field goal. Zach Coste scored on a run from 13-yards out to put the Wildcats up 7-0 with Jacob Savoni returning a punt 50 yards for a touchdown later in the quarter.

The General Amherst bench was furious with the latter touchdown, believing the officials didn’t call a block in the back infraction on Villanova.

Villanova also got a 23-yard field goal in the second quarter, with that coming between the two touchdowns.

The third quarter was scoreless but Ellis Rosati’s interception late in the quarter gave the Bulldogs some momentum heading into the final 12-minute quarter. Rosati stayed on the field on offense and got some big gains on the ground before Mitch Wright finished the drive with a two-yard touchdown plunge. A two-point convert attempt was unsuccessful.

The Bulldogs took advantage of another Villanova turnover soon after the Wright touchdown. The Wildcats fumbled and after the General Amherst offense retook the field, quarterback Will Borland connected with Wright on a 34-yard pass. The Bulldogs kept going down the field with Borland capping that drive with a seven-yard touchdown run. The extra point was blocked.

Villanova was able to recover the onside kick and scored on the ensuing drive. Savoni rounded out the scoring with a 26-yard touchdown run with 52 seconds left.

“In the first half, we made several mental mistakes especially on one drive where we controlled the ball on two-thirds of the field,” said General Amherst head coach John Rudak. “A couple of mental mistakes cost us.”

Rudak liked how his team fought back in the second half.

“I think if we had a chance to play these guys again, it would be a different story,” said Rudak.

The Bulldogs’ defense was tremendous on first down, Rudak stated, but “unfortunately (Villanova) converted” on too many second-and-long situations.

Rudak called on his players to work on their own time to improve and work on their skills. He added that some players were missing from Thursday’s game due to injury, including some key linemen.

Villanova's Jacob Savoni fights off General Amherst's Spencer Hawkins last Thursday at Windsor Stadium.

Villanova’s Jacob Savoni fights off General Amherst’s Spencer Hawkins last Thursday at Windsor Stadium.

Villanova coach Mike Coste also noted his team was shorthanded, as the Wildcats had 17 players. He said they “all played their butts off,” adding they only had six available linemen for the game.

“It was a well played game,” said Coste. “The kids played hard on both sides.”

“I’m proud of the kids for what they did.”

The Bulldogs are now 0-2 on the season while Villanova improved to 1-1. Both teams have their home openers Thursday at 3 p.m. with Villanova hosting St. Anne and General Amherst hosting Catholic Central. The Amherst game will be played at Centennial Park.