Paul Bortignon

Admirals down Petrolia 5-3 in regular season opener



By Ron Giofu


The Amherstburg Integrity Admirals defeated the Petrolia Flyers 5-3 in the PJHL Stobbs Division regular season opener, but it is clear the Admirals are looking for a better effort going forward.

Ryan Alexander had a hat trick for Amherstburg Sunday night, including the opening goal 9:20 into the first period. Caleb Paquette made it a 2-0 game 50 seconds later. A bad bounce for Amherstburg led to a Connor Lovell goal and made it a 2-1 game but Alexander scored again at the 19:19 mark of the opening period making it a 3-1 game at the first intermission.

Amherstburg’s Caleb Paquette (6, left) rounds the Petrolia net with the puck while being watched by Eric Marsh.

The Flyers tied it on goals by Eric Campbell and Eric Marsh in the second period but captain Dylan Muzzatti’s goal gave the Admirals the lead after 40 minutes. Muzzatti also had two assists on the night.

Alexander scored a powerplay goal with approximately three minutes to play in the third period to round out the scoring.

Amherstburg outshot Petrolia 39-26 on the night.

“We came out pretty strong for the first little bit. We died down after that. We didn’t play a full 60 minutes,” said Alexander.

Alexander credited his teammates for the hat trick.

“None of the goals were unassisted,” he said. “I couldn’t do it without my teammates.”

The Admirals did a good job picking each other up but Alexander emphasized they have to have a better effort in future games.

“I’m glad we got the two points but we’ve got to have better efforts down the road,” he said. “Down the road, we can’t get away with playing ten minutes out of a full 60.”

Alexander said “expectations are always as high as they can be” for the season and that while they have some new faces this year, they have players with a good work ethic that will get better as the 2017-18 season goes on.

Amherstburg forward Cory Burns (9) crashes the net during Sunday’s 5-3 win over Petrolia. The Admirals got three goals from Ryan Alexander and single goals from Dylan Muzzati and Caleb Paquette in the season opening win.

Admirals head coach/GM Paul Bortignon also pointed out they didn’t have the best effort on the night.

“What I told our guys was to be happy with the result but don’t be happy with the effort,” said Bortignon. “The effort wasn’t quite there tonight.”

If they have similar efforts in future games, the Admirals likely will be on the opposite end of the result, Bortignon believed. He attributed the less than stellar effort to first game jitters but said there was more intensity from the rookies through the veterans during the pre-season.

“Overall, it was not good enough,” he said. “We obviously have to get better and get better in a hurry.”

Bortignon was happy with the two points and the Admirals’ penalty killing, but didn’t think they were as good as they should be five-on-five or on the powerplay.

“It’s tough to pick out a lot of positives in a game like that,” he added.

Assistant coach/co-owner Matt Fox said the team was pleased with the attendance, noting they got a lot of support from the town.

“It was great to see,” said Fox.

The Admirals were in Essex Tuesday night, after this issue of the RTT went to press. They have two weekend games at the Libro Centre this weekend, hosting Blenheim Saturday and Mooretown Sunday. Both weekend games are at 7 p.m.

Admirals boasting abundance of local talent on this year’s team



By Ron Giofu


When the Amherstburg Integrity Admirals hit the ice this season, they will be doing so with a lot of locally trained hockey players.

The bulk of the Admirals’ 23-player roster is made of locally developed talent with the local content also included in the team’s ownership and management.

“I’m pumped for the outlook of our team this season, probably more than I’ve been in the four years I’ve been here,” said co-owner Wes Ewer. “I’m pumped about the amount of Amherstburg talent we have in all aspects of the organization.”

Ewer pointed out that 13 of the 23 players are from Amherstburg, three coaches are from Amherstburg and three of the four support and training staff are from Amherstburg. The ownership group of the Admirals also features two local people – Ewer and Matt Fox. Fox is also an assistant coach.

Local players include Kyle Meloche, Zack Yott, Cory Burns, Austin Jennings, Ryan Holzel, Cole Welsh, Luc Warnock, Jack Hubbell, Bryce McGregor, Catalin Morin, Mike Lenson, Brock Beaudoin and Reid Stieler.

“I would challenge anyone to find me a team in the PJHL that has as many people from its town involved in all areas and be a strong team,” said Ewer. “We are very, very proud we have local talent spread out in all areas of the organization. We are going to put a lot of familiar faces on the ice.”

The Amherstburg Integrity Admirals will hit the ice for the 2017-18 PJHL Stobbs Division season with a healthy dose of local talent among their ranks. The Amherstburg executives, coaches and players include (back row, from left): From Left to right (Standing)- Wes Ewer (owner), Zack Yott (#17), Cory Burns (#9), Austin Jennings (#10), Ryan Holzel (#14), Cole Welsh (#4), Luc Warnock (#27), Jack Hubbell (#2), Bryce McGregor (#18), Rob Bondy (assistant coach), Paul Bortignon (general manager/head coach). Front row (from left): Matt Fox (owner/assistant coach), Catalin Morin (#33), Mike Lenson (#8), Brock Beaudoin (#11), Reid Stieler (#7). Not pictured: Kyle Meloche (#12), Grant Wood (room manager), Stu Bertram (assistant trainer), Bryan Hayes (prevention services), Scott Riddell (assistant trainer), B.J. Wiley (assistant trainer).

The Admirals praised the work of the Amherstburg Minor Hockey Association (AMHA) for its role in developing the local talent.

“You can’t say enough about AMHA,” said Ewer. “They make it easy for us.”

The coaches are confident about the players they are utilizing, Ewer added, and that those players can be used in all situations.

“We know what (AMHA) is doing and they are doing it right,” he said.

Ewer pointed out Glen Holden and Dennis Emerson, coaches of the Amherstburg Stars midget major and juvenile teams respectively, deserve credit for developing players in their final years of minor hockey.

“We’re going to be in a good position because of the good coaching they are doing with their teams,” he said.

Admirals head coach/GM Paul Bortignon said the level of hockey talent that is developed in Amherstburg is something the Jr. C club can’t turn away from. He said the number of Amherstburg players on the Admirals is due to their abilities rather than simply the team trying to accumulate as many local players as possible.

“I don’t think we’d take Amherstburg kids on the ice if it hindered our hopes for winning a championship,” said Bortignon.

Bortignon believed that winning a championship with so many local players and coaches could be “the first of its kind” in Jr. C.

Fox said AMHA has produced strong hockey players over the years and that trend is continuing. He said with the Admirals now in town, local players have been choosing to stay home to further their careers at the junior level.

“There are teams that are winning in this league that are doing it on the backs of Amherstburg kids,” said Fox.

Ewer added that although they are excited about the number of Amherstburg players in the lineup, they are equally excited about the other players from outside of town they have acquired as well. The Admirals open the regular season Sunday at 7 p.m. at the Libro Centre against the Petrolia Flyers.

Admirals golf tournament features highest number of golfers yet



By Ron Giofu


Organizers of the annual Amherstburg Integrity Admirals golf tournament were pleased with the results.

While a final total is not available yet, organizer Mary Ewer and team co-owner Wes Ewer were happy with how things turned out Sunday at Sutton Creek Golf Club.

“We had such a great response from the community and the parents for our door prizes,” said Mary. “It was the best we’ve ever had. The community came together. It was unbelievable.”

Eighty golfers hit the links, with Mary adding “it’s the best we’ve had.” There were 26 additional people that joined them for dinner.

“These are families that couldn’t join us for golf but could for dinner,” she said.

T.J. McWhinnie (left) and Ted Jacob were two of the members of the winning team in the Admirals’ golf tournament Sunday at Sutton Creek Golf Club. Mike Souligny (not pictured) was the other member of the winning team.

With friends, friends of friends and members of the community joining the team and their families, Wes believes the early results will be positive.

“It will be one of the more profitable years, for sure,” he said.

Mary said a strong local contingent on the team helped, with Wes noting that all proceeds will go towards the general operation of doing business.

Head coach/general manager Paul Bortignon said they have got the roster down to the 23 player limit. He added the team is appreciative of all the support from the families and the community as a whole.

“We’re all looking forward to a great year,” said Bortignon. “We are extremely excited. Hopefully we can finally deliver the championship to Amherstburg that we’ve been desperately seeking the last five years.”

T.J. McWhinnie, Ted Jacob and Mike Souligny were the winning team. Susan Campbell was the closest to the pin for the women while Mary Ewer had the longest drive for the women. In those same two categories, Cory Burns and Souligny won the honours among the men.

Skins were won by Mary Ewer, Kieth Ewer, Brett Corey and Doug Middleton.

Amherstburg concluded the pre-season with a 2-1 win in Essex last Tuesday and a 5-4 overtime loss in Lakeshore last Friday night. The Admirals open the 2017-18 regular season at home Sunday night with a 7 p.m. game against the visiting Petrolia Flyers.

Admirals trimming roster as pre-season continues



By Ron Giofu


The Amherstburg Integrity Admirals won their final home pre-season game but the coaching staff was more focused in which players played well.

Amilio Acampora had two goals and an assist in the game in a 4-1 win over the Lakeshore Canadiens last Wednesday night and he was one of the players mentioned after the game by Admirals head coach/GM Paul Bortignon. Bortignon noted they signed Acampora out of training camp and has made an impression, drawing comparisons to former Admirals forward Kasey Basile.

“He’s always motoring out there,” said Bortignon.

Amilio Acampora heads to the Lakeshore goal en route to scoring an empty net goal in Amherstburg's 4-1 victory over the Canadiens Aug. 30.

Amilio Acampora heads to the Lakeshore goal en route to scoring an empty net goal in Amherstburg’s 4-1 victory over the Canadiens Aug. 30.

Caleb Paquette scored on a breakaway seven seconds into the second period and Jace Leach scored on a third period powerplay to account for the other Amherstburg goals. Josh Root scored in the first period for Lakeshore.

Bortignon said Tyler Laureault had another strong game in goal, as Laureault split time last Wednesday night with Ben Larder. Goaltending looks to be a strong point for the Admirals, as returning goalie Catalin Morin is also part of the equation.

The Admirals also dressed a number of returning players last Wednesday and Bortignon said they also played well.

“The veterans showed well in their first game going back to February,” said Bortignon.

There are only a few spots left up for grabs among the forwards, he added.

“On the back end, we’re still waiting to see what happens with players trying out at the ‘B’ level,” said Bortignon.

There will be some “tough cuts” coming, he added, as some players have been with the team since the spring hoping for a spot on the roster.

Amherstburg’s Curtis Jackson (11) evades a poke-check from a Lakeshore defenseman and enters the Canadiens’ zone during the Admirals’ 4-1 win last Wednesday night at the Libro Centre.

Amherstburg’s Curtis Jackson (11) evades a poke-check from a Lakeshore defenseman and enters the Canadiens’ zone during the Admirals’ 4-1 win last Wednesday night at the Libro Centre.

The Admirals still have to work on a few things over the last two pre-season games and in the practices heading up to the regular season. Such things as defensive zone coverage and their offensive attack will be worked on going forward.

The Admirals played in Essex last night in a game played after the print issue of the RTT went to press. Amherstburg is in Lakeshore Friday night at 7:05 p.m. for their final pre-season game. The Admirals open the regular season at the Libro Centre Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. against the Petrolia Flyers.

The team’s annual “Fall Classic” golf tournament is Sept. 10 at Sutton Creek Golf Club. Registration starts at 11:30 a.m. with a shotgun start at 1 p.m. The cost is $130 per golfer or $35 for a steak dinner. For more information or to register, e-mail Mary Ewer at

Admirals gearing up for 2017-18 PJHL season



By Ron Giofu


There will be some familiar faces returning to the Amherstburg Integrity Admirals lineup this upcoming Jr. C season with some new faces also hoping to push the team over the top.

The Admirals played the Essex 73’s to a 1-1 tie Sunday night in the first pre-season games for both PJHL Stobbs Division clubs, with the Admirals having a weekend full of practices and scrimmages as the coaches and management take a closer look at who might be taking the ice for them when the regular season starts Sept. 17.

“Overall, I thought it was a good weekend,” said Admirals head coach/GM Paul Bortignon. “There were a lot of young guys trying to make an impact. I thought the guys did a good job.”

Amherstburg’s Zack Yott (11) tries a wrap-around on Essex goalie Ryan Polidori Sunday night.

Amherstburg’s Zack Yott (11) tries a wrap-around on Essex goalie Ryan Polidori Sunday night.

Bortignon said there are about four or five spots up for grabs on this years team and envisions “good competition” over the next two weeks before the roster is shaved to the 23 player limit in time for the Sept. 17 season opener against Petrolia at the Libro Centre.

Goaltending could be a strength this year as the Admirals have landed Ben Larder – a three-year starter from Tavistock – to their crease to join incumbent Catalin Morin.

“Up front, we do return a lot of veteran players,” said Bortignon. “We’ve got a lot of good depth up front.”

Amherstburg acquired forward Kadin Ritchie from Dresden over the off-season with Ritchie scoring 11 goals and six assists last season for the Jr. Kings.

“We’re definitely excited to have him, that’s for sure,” said Bortignon.

Ritchie played with the Wallaceburg Lakers during the 2015-16 season.

“Our defensive core is going to be a bit younger,” Bortignon added.

The Admirals are looking forward to the 2017-18 season, Bortignon stated. Last season ended when they lost in four straight games to the 73’s in the PJHL Stobbs Division semi-finals and the Admirals are putting that behind them.

“As a group, we’re excited to get going,” said Bortignon.

Josh Talerico (15, left) carries the puck in the corner during second period action.

Josh Talerico (15, left) carries the puck in the corner during second period action.

Co-owner/assistant coach Matt Fox said the team’s annual golf tournament is Sept. 10 at Sutton Creek Golf Club and people looking to sign up or those who want more information invited to contact Mary Ewer at

Fox agreed they are looking forward to the start of the regular season.

“We’re looking forward to another big year,” he said.

The second pre-season game is at the Libro Centre tonight (Wednesday) at 7 p.m. versus the Lakeshore Canadiens. There will also be a volunteer information session Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. prior to the game against Lakeshore. Co-owner Wes Ewer said they will go over roles the team is looking for and the benefits of helping us out. Season tickets will also be sold at the game from 6-7:30 p.m.