Pat Garrett

Bulldogs end regular season in first, build momentum towards hockey playoffs

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs boys hockey team finished the regular season in first place in their division after three wins last week.

The Bulldogs finished the regular season 8-2-2, good for 18 points. They edged out L’Essor (17 points) and Belle River (16 points) for top spot in the WECSSAA “AA” Cullen Conference.

All three games last week were at the Libro Centre.

The Bulldogs wrapped up top spot with a 4-3 win over the Essex Red Raiders. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 3-0 lead on goals from Brock Beaudoin, Max Clifford and team captain Josh DiCarlo before Essex rallied to tie the game early in the second period. Beaudoin wired home his second of the game later in the second period and Amherst shut the opposition down the rest of the way.

“It was a big win,” said DiCarlo. “It gave us first place.”

General Amherst forward Max Clifford (right) gets a scoring chance on Essex goalie Chase Cosgrove during the Bulldogs’ final regular season game last Thursday afternoon at the Libro Centre. The Bulldogs defeated the Red Raiders to wrap up the regular season in first place in their division.

DiCarlo said they talked all year about finishing in first place heading into the playoffs and they achieved that goal. The Bulldogs received a first-round bye thanks to the victory.

“In the third period, we shut them down,” he said. “We could have had a couple of more goals. We had a lot of opportunities.”

The Bulldogs have momentum heading into the playoffs, he added.

“We’re rolling,” said DiCarlo. “Our better players are starting to put the puck in the net.”

General Amherst head coach Pat Garrett said it’s been a tight battle and believes his players earned the right to be in first place going into the playoffs.

“They deserve first place,” he said. “The real reward could come in a couple of weeks at the end of the playoffs. I’d like to be there looking at a SWOSSAA game.”

Garrett – who coaches the team with Joe Shaw – pointed out that if they want to win a title, they can’t take any team lightly along the way.

“If you look at the standings, there are about four teams that can legitimately go to the finals,” said Garrett.

The Bulldogs squared off with L’Essor Wednesday and won a high-scoring 9-5 affair. Beaudoin, Clifford and DiCarlo each scored twice in the win with Isaac Hammond, Cole Zelle and Max Jones also scored.

Garrett said they were down 4-1 in the first six minutes but managed to find a way to win.

“We came out very flat in an important game,” he said. “The kids made some adjustments and rallied.”

General Amherst’s Brock Beaudoing (19) scores a second period goal during the Bulldogs’ 4-3 victory over the Essex Red Raiders last week. Beaudoin has nine goals in his last four WECSSAA games.

Garrett said they were able to overcome adversity and battle back, with the team’s better players showing why they are the better players.

“All of our big game players are getting the job done,” he said. “You need to be rolling before the playoffs.

The other game of the week was a 6-1 win over the Brennan Cardinals. Russel Morencie and Beaudoin each scored a pair with Jones and Lee Sinasac adding the other goals.

The playoff schedule had not been finalized as of press time.

Bulldogs split two games in WECSSAA boys hockey action

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs boys hockey team heads into the exam break with a 5-2-2 record after a win and a loss last week.

The Bulldogs’ first game of the week was a 4-3 defeat at the hands of the visiting Belle River Nobles. Cole Zelle scored twice in the loss while Josh DiCarlo added the other goal.

“We blew a couple of two-goal leads,” said General Amherst head coach Pat Garrett.

The Bulldogs led 2-0 before Belle River made it a 2-1 game then held a 3-1 lead after two periods. After Belle River had made it 3-2 in the third period, the Nobles pulled their goalie late and made it 3-3. Garrett said the Bulldogs may have become too tense after the tying goal and subsequently allowed the game winner with seconds remaining.

“It was kind of a letdown on our behalf. We let up a little bit,” said Garrett.

Garrett believed the Bulldogs didn’t play poorly against Belle River but hopes not getting any points doesn’t haunt them in the fight for playoff positioning later in the season.

“I think it might be a little bit of a learning lesson for us,” he said of the Belle River game.

In terms of the games developed on the scoreboard, the Bulldogs were on the opposite end of a comeback the next day in Kingsville. The Bulldogs and Cavaliers faced off with Kingsville taking a 3-1 lead on their home ice after two periods before the Bulldogs scored three goals in the third period to win 4-3.

Garrett said it was their first time in Kingsville in several years and the Bulldogs had to adapt to a smaller ice surface. After getting down by two goals after two periods, Garrett said he reminded the Bulldogs of what happened the day before and that they could come back too.

“We went out and played an incredible third period,” he added.

Brock Beaudoin led the way for General Amherst with three goals while Zelle had the other.

After the exam break, the Bulldogs have three games on consecutive days – Feb. 6-8 – with all games being at the Libro Centre. The opponents will be Brennan, L’Essor and Essex respectively with all games scheduled for 3 p.m. starts.

General Amherst, Amherstburg police square off in charity hockey game

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs boys hockey team and the Amherstburg police hockey team squared off in a game during the holidays, but the big winners were Ontario Special Olympics.

The charity game saw the Bulldogs win on the scoreboard but no one seemed to care about the final result afterword as proceeds went to the Law Enforcement Torch Run, which in turn helps support Special Olympics.

Sgt. Mike Cox said it was the reintroduction of the charity game with General Amherst, noting that players who now play for the police team once played against them when they were in high school. He hoped it would be the first of two charity hockey games before the season is over.

The General Amherst Bulldogs and Amherstburg police hockey teams gather for a group photo following their charity hockey game for the Torch Run Dec. 22. The Torch Run helps support Ontario Special Olympics.

“I’m hoping to play the Admirals at the end of their season,” said Cox. “Hopefully it will be in June after they win a championship.”

The game against the Bulldogs featured several father/son combinations on the Amherstburg police team, including Don and Gage Brown, Chris and Luke Renaud as well as Joe and Kyle Shaw. Joe Shaw is usually an assistant coach with the Bulldogs while Kyle is a former OHL player. Another former OHL player, Zack Percy, also suited up for the police team.

General Amherst head coach Pat Garrett said his team had the opportunity to participate in the charity game and they seized it.

“Obviously, it’s a fantastic cause,” Garrett said of Ontario Special Olympics. “It’s a cause we all believe in.”

Garrett credited General Amherst principal Melissa DeBruyne for getting the game back on the Bulldogs’ schedule. DeBruyne, who played up for the police team, said she was glad to do it.

“It’s just about giving back to Special Olympics,” she said. “It was an opportunity to bring back a past tradition.”

The final day before the Christmas break for the school also saw a staff-student volleyball game and the staff prepare breakfast for the students.

“It’s about bringing the community in,” she said. “It’s the spirit of giving. It was a lot of fun.”

Sgt. Mike Cox drops the puck between General Amherst boys hockey team captain Josh DiCarlo (left) and principal Melissa DeBruyne, who suited up for the police team at the recent charity hockey game.

DeBruyne said the school received donations from Maria’s Restaurant, Meloche’s No Frills, Sobeys, parent council and teachers.

As for her playing for the police team, DeBruyne said she enjoys playing hockey whenever she gets a chance.

“I’ve got such a passion for hockey,” she said. “Every time I get on the ice, I love it.”

Bulldogs rally to salvage tie with Kingsville

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

In a game that was similar to their previous one against Essex, the General Amherst Bulldogs boys hockey team rallied to salvage a 3-3 tie against Kingsville.

The Bulldogs and Cavaliers battled at the Libro Centre just before the Christmas break began and the visitors broke out to a 3-0 lead midway through the second period. The third Kingsville goal seemed to awaken the Bulldogs, as they quickly responded with two goals on the same shift. Max Clifford and Josh DiCarlo made it a 3-2 game before the intermission.

Isaac Hammond tied the game in the third period and that is how it ended.

“It seems to be our M.O. lately,” said General Amherst head coach Pat Garrett, of coming from behind to tie games. “We certainly don’t want to make a habit of that.”

General Amherst’s Isaac Hammond (left) drives to the net in the boys hockey team recent game against the Kingsville Cavaliers. The game ended in a 3-3 tie.

Garrett pointed out it was their fifth game in two days, as they advanced to the semi-finals of a tournament that week as well.

“Kingsville was missing a few players,” Garrett added. “We may have taken them too lightly. It’s nice to be able to pull out the tie.”

Garrett said the tie puts the Bulldogs in sole possession of second place in their division, the WECSSAA “AA” Cullen Conference. General Amherst is 3-1-2 on the season at the break, good for eight points. L’Essor and Essex each have nine points but General Amherst has a game in hand on both teams.

General Amherst’s Josh DiCarlo scores a second period goal against Kingsville Dec. 21. The Bulldogs overcame a 3-0 deficit and tied Kingsville 3-3.

Parts of the Bulldogs’ game that Garrett wants to improve include offensive zone pressure, as he stated that much of their offense comes from the perimeter and not in front of the net. He also wants to improve the powerplay.

“Josh and Max are carrying the load offensively,” said Garrett. “We’ve got some other pretty good players that have got to start hitting the back of the net.”

The Bulldogs resume WECSSAA action with a game at the Vollmer Centre in LaSalle Jan. 9 versus the Sandwich Sabres. The following game is not until Jan. 16 when the Belle River Nobles come to the Libro Centre for a 3 p.m. game.

Bulldogs start WECSSAA boys hockey season with win and loss

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs boys hockey team has started the 2017-18 WECSSAA season with a 1-1 record.

The Bulldogs opened the season last Tuesday afternoon on the road with a 4-2 win over L’Essor. The game, played at Tecumseh Arena, saw Brock Beaudoin lead the way for General Amherst with two goals. Josh DiCarlo and Max Clifford each had two goals.

The home opener for the Bulldogs was two days later but it was the Sandwich Sabres who left the Libro Centre Thursday with a 4-3 win. The Bulldogs led 3-1 after two periods on goals from Brandon Salvati, Nate Lenson and Colle Zelle but Sandwich scored three goals in quick succession in the third period for the come-from-behind victory.

Amherst head coach Pat Garrett said the Bulldogs were a bit “flatfooted” in the third period against Sandwich but otherwise was happy with the start of the season.

“I’m excited about the start of the year and the rest of the year for that matter,” Garrett said after Thursday’s game. “I think we’ll be right in the mix. That’s a good group of kids (in the Bulldogs’ dressing room).”

General Amherst’s Isaac Hammond (right) skates past Sandwich’s Connor Fabel last Thursday afternoon at the Libro Centre. Sandwich picked up a 4-3 come-from-behind victory.

Garrett said they were missing DiCarlo against the Sabres but didn’t use that as an excuse. He said the loss and how the loss happened can be used in the Bulldogs’ favour going forward.

“It’s something we can learn from and move on,” he said.

The team saw key members of its defense corps from last year graduate while two other players moved on as well. Despite those losses, a number of players have returned and Garrett said “it goes to show you the depth we had.”

General Amherst’s Nick Bozin brings the puck into the Sandwich zone during the third period of the Nov. 30 game at the Libro Centre in Amherstburg.

The Bulldogs have three scoring lines, Garrett added, and six mature defenseman with a Grade 10 blueliner also showing he can play well. Garrett said he never feels nervous about who he puts out over the boards.

“That’s a huge bonus for us,” he said.

The Bulldogs are on the road twice this week. They play Brennan today (Wednesday) at the WFCU Centre before going to the Atlas Tube Centre in Lakeshore to battle the Belle River Nobles. General Amherst’s next home game is Dec. 21 at 3 p.m. versus the Kingsville Cavaliers.