Reid Stieler

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 advance in boys hockey playoffs

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs have advanced in the WECSSAA playoffs after winning on the road Thursday afternoon.

The boys hockey team won 6-3 over the St. Joseph Lasers in a one-game knockout playoff game at the WFCU Centre. After the Lasers took a 1-0 lead after one period, the Bulldogs exploded for five second period goals.

Stefan Dobrich got the first Bulldog goal with Reid Stieler, Max Clifford, Isaac Hammond and Brock Beaudoin scoring before the second period was finished.

Beaudoin added his second goal of the game in the third period.

Brayden Mayco scored twice for St. Joseph with Carter Comeau scoring the other goal.

The General Amherst Bulldogs boys hockey team  celebrates following a 6-3 win over St. Joseph last Thursday.

The General Amherst Bulldogs boys hockey team
celebrates following a 6-3 win over St. Joseph last Thursday.

“We didn’t have a good start. We were finding our own way,” said Amherst captain Reid Stieler. “We woke up in the second period. We got the puck in deep and threw the body.”

Stieler said they started putting pucks at the net and that enabled the Bulldogs to get a couple of “garbage goals” because of it.

The Bulldogs are undefeated in their last four games, dating back to the regular season, and Stieler said it is a good time to start playing well.

“Obviously, it’s a good time to get things together at the start of the playoffs,” he said.

The Bulldogs play this week in a best-of-three series with the Kingsville Cavaliers and Stieler thinks they have a shot. The Bulldogs tied the Cavaliers 3-3 Feb. 6.

“We feel confident going into the series,” said Stieler, after Thursday’s game.

Amherst head coach Pat Garrett said “it was a difficult year in terms of standings,” as the Bulldogs finished the regular season with a 3-6-3. Garrett noted the Bulldogs were missing key players during various points of the season but have had full lineups the last four games.

“It’s nice to have everyone in the lineup,” said Garrett, following Thursday’s game.

Garrett said St. Joseph is a good hockey team but his team worked hard, finished their checks and were relentless. He added that he always believed the Bulldogs were a better team than their record indicated.

As for the Kingsville series, “I feel optimistic about it, I really do,” said Garrett.

“It’s a good time to start playing well,” he added.

The goalies are playing strong and the Bulldogs are getting goals from different players, he added.

(UPDATE – The Bulldogs won Tuesday against Kingsville 6-2. They host the Cavaliers in Game 2 Thursday at 2:30 p.m.)

Bulldogs looking for three periods of effort after tie and loss last week

 

By Ron Giofu

 

It was a frustrating week for the General Amherst boys hockey team.

The Bulldogs settled for a 4-4 tie with the Sandwich Sabres last Tuesday afternoon and were dropped 5-1 by the Villanova Wildcats last Thursday afternoon. Both games were at the Libro Centre.

Amherst built a 2-0 lead in the game against the Sabres but Sandwich built a 3-2 lead after two periods. The Bulldogs rallied in the third period for the tie. Brock Beaudoin had two goals for General Amherst with Max Clifford and Isaac Hammond scoring the others.

Villanova's Chris Francia splits a pair of General Amherst defenders during the Wildcats' 5-1 win Dec. 15.

Villanova’s Chris Francia splits a pair of General Amherst defenders during the Wildcats’ 5-1 win Dec. 15.

Hammond scored in the first period of Thursday’s game with Villanova with Chris Francia also scoring in that period for the Wildcats. It was a dominant second period by Villanova with Francia, Bryce MacGregor, Derek Berdusco and Dean DeLuca finding the back of the Bulldogs’ net.

“There’s another period of total breakdown on our behalf,” said General Amherst head coach Pat Garrett after Thursday’s game.

Garrett said they also had a breakdown in a period where they broke down against Sandwich and it cost them a point. He said they have had bad periods in most of their games this season, a season which has started 1-4-2.

The Bulldogs haven’t had a healthy lineup for most of the year, including some of their better offensive talent missing time. He said he wasn’t angry after Thursday’s loss to Villanova but was “a little frustrated.” He acknowledged they are a young team that requires patience.

Captain Reid Stieler said they didn’t play well in their own zone against the Wildcats and couldn’t get much going offensively either.

General Amherst’s Max Clifford (white jersey) gets a scoring chance last Thursday against Villanova.

General Amherst’s Max Clifford (white jersey) gets a scoring chance last Thursday against Villanova.

“I don’t think we had much going for us,” he said after Thursday’s game.

The Bulldogs will try to brush off the loss and look to improve, he said, and they will attempt to put that game behind them.

Stieler agreed they need to put in a full three period effort every game.

“We’ve just got to be better in all areas of the game,” he said. “Our whole group has got to step up.”

The Bulldogs are in a tournament this week that is hosted by Brennan but don’t play another WECSSAA Tier 1 league game until after the Christmas break. They play at the WFCU Centre against St. Joseph Jan. 10 before returning to the Libro Centre for a game with the St. Anne Saints Jan. 12.

Bulldogs drop two straight over past week

 

By Ron Giofu

The General Amherst Bulldogs boys hockey team have dropped to 1-2-1 on the 2016-17 season after a pair of losses over the past week.

The most recent came at South Windsor Arena where they allowed a goal just prior to curfew and fell 4-3 to the Massey Mustangs. The Bulldogs built a 2-1 lead after two periods on goals from Reid Stieler and Max Clifford but fell behind 3-2 just past the five minute mark of the third.

General Amherst's Dean Emerson (right, black jersey) looks for a scoring chance against Massey Dec. 5. Massey won 4-3.

General Amherst’s Dean Emerson (right, black jersey) looks for a scoring chance against Massey Dec. 5. Massey won 4-3.

Dean Emerson tied it when he tipped home a point shot taken by Stieler but Massey scored with 1:19 left in the third. Play did not restart after the fourth Massey goal as the game ended due to the curfew.

“We played hard. I thought it was a well matched game,” said Stieler, the Bulldogs’ captain. “It’s not a game we wanted to lose by curfew.”

Stieler said they want to pick up their offense and improve their defensive zone coverage. The team is improving, he added, as younger players are not scared to get hit and the older players are encouraging them along.

Head coach Pat Garrett said it was “a horrible way to lose,” adding the coaches weren’t pleased with the second and third periods. He said it was a mental mistake on their part that led to Massey’s winning goal.

“I almost feel like we’re waiting to lose as opposed to finding ways to win,” said Garrett.

Max Clifford of General Amherst (centre, black jersey) battles for the puck against Massey players during the third period of the Dec. 5 game at South Windsor Arena. Massey won 4-3 with a late goal.

Max Clifford of General Amherst (centre, black jersey) battles for the puck against Massey players during the third period of the Dec. 5 game at South Windsor Arena. Massey won 4-3 with a late goal.

Garrett also said they need to find more offense and that has to come from their veteran players.

The team lost last Tuesday at home to the Holy Names Knights and Garrett said it followed a similar formula to the Massey game in that they had chances to win but couldn’t. The Bulldogs seem to “wait around” and give their opponents opportunities to beat them, he said.

“We need to put our foot on the pedal and try to put teams away,” said Garrett.

The Bulldogs have good, albeit young, players and Garrett added he is still confident in them as the season progresses.

General Amherst plays Belle River Wednesday afternoon in Lakeshore. Their final two games before the Christmas break are Dec. 13 and 15 against Sandwich and Villanova respectively. All three of these games are at 3 p.m.