WECSSAA

Small but successful wrestling team at General Amherst concludes season

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

It was a smaller than usual wrestling team at General Amherst High School but the team did boast some success in the 2016-17 school year.

The team recently completed its year and had three medalists at WECSSAA, one medalist at SWOSSAA with that SWOSSAA medalist also representing the school at OFSAA in early March.

Coach Rodney Levesque praised the work of the team and noted they had fewer members this year than they have had in previous years.

“We had a small team,” said Levesque.

Levesque said they had “eight dedicated kids” this year, down from the 10-15 the team usually has. There were six boys and two girls on this year’s team and, by comparison, Tecumseh Vista Academy had 40 girls on their team.

“The hardest thing about the team is getting people to come out for it,” said Levesque.

Nathan Charron, Katie McEvoy and Jacob Stanek were three of General Amherst’s medalists at the WECSSAA wrestling meet.

Nathan Charron, Katie McEvoy and Jacob Stanek were three of General Amherst’s medalists at the WECSSAA wrestling meet. (Submitted photo)

With the boom over the last decade of mixed martial arts (MMA), Levesque hoped it would have translated into increased numbers for the General Amherst wrestling team. That said, the athletes who do come out for it are dedicated to the sport.

“It’s a long season,” he said, pointing out it lasts from early November to March.

Practices were four to five times per week, with tournaments on weekends.

“It keeps them in very good shape,” said Levesque. “It’s a very intense sport.”

Katie McEvoy, a Grade 10 student, completed her second year in wrestling and brought home a silver medal from SWOSSAA and was the school’s lone representative at OFSAA.

McEvoy made OFSAA a goal at the beginning of the year and said she was happy to have achieved it.

“It was pretty exciting,” she said, of the trip to the provincial tournament in Brampton.

McEvoy won two matches and lost two matches and was her school’s lone representative at the tournament. She added she got into wrestling because she likes the contact and the discipline the sport offers.

Jacob Stanek was one of the school’s other medalists at WECSSAA, as he won a bronze medal.

“I felt I improved from last year,” said Stanek.

Stanek said he felt stronger and more skilled this year.

“I felt pretty confident going into SWOSSAA,” said Stanek, adding his goal for next year is a gold medal at WECSSAA.

Nathan Charron said he put what he learned in all four years of high school wrestling together this year and that resulted in a third place finish at WECSSAA and fourth at SWOSSAA. It was the first year he won a medal, with Charron adding he wanted to win a medal at WECSSAA in his final year in high school.

Other members of the team include Tate Levesque, Devin Duhart, Myah Trymbulak, Bobby Bridgens and Matt Belanger.

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.

 

Lady Gens hockey season comes to an end

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Lady Gens hockey season has come to an end.

The Lady Gens were defeated in two straight games by L’Essor with the second game being in Tecumseh last Wednesday. General Amherst lost 3-2 in the second game, with L’Essor winning the WECSSAA AA championship as a result.

Assistant coach Dan Pettypiece said L’Essor built a 3-0 lead though noted the Lady Gens were almost able to tie the score. General Amherst scored with six minutes left and again a few minutes later but were unable to find the elusive tying goal.

“We almost tied it up. We had some chances,” said Pettypiece.

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With goalie Megan Wismer on the bench late in the game for an extra attacker, Pettypiece said he counted at least two or three good chances.

When the score was 1-0, Pettypiece said they almost tied it at that point but captain Emily Hamelin was turned aside by a great save by the L’Essor goalie. Hamelin did score later in the game, as did Jaycie Stanek.

“With only 11 skaters and you shorten your bench, if your better players are not getting any luck or bounces, it can be tough to come back,” said Pettypiece.

It was emotional after the game, as this was the final high school game for five key players including Savannah Bouzide, Wismer, Katie Stevenson, Brianne Fields and Emily Hamelin. Pettypiece added that head coach Scott Hamelin also announced he wasn’t going to come back next year.

“That’s a big five,” said Pettypiece. “That’s the core of the team the last four years.”

The Lady Gens have been to the WECSSAA AA finals the last four years in large part due to the efforts of those players.

“That’s pretty tough to do,” he said. “They’ve got a lot to be proud of.”

General Amherst does return some talented players as well and they will try and keep the finals streak going. Pettypiece said the last four years have shown girls can come to General Amherst and play competitive hockey and there are more good players coming through the hockey system.

The last four years “kind of brought the program to the forefront,” said Pettypiece.

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.)

Lady Gens lose in WECSSAA Tier 2 volleyball semi-finals

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Lady Gens senior girls volleyball team had a stronger than expected regular season but could advance no further than the WECSSAA Tier 2 semi-finals.

The Lady Gens were eliminated from the playoffs last Tuesday afternoon by the Kingsville Cavaliers, with visiting Kingsville winning 25-12, 25-21 and 25-12. Despite the loss, the Amherst coaches weren’t overly surprised with the outcome given the strengths and weaknesses of both teams.

General Amherst’s Jackie Wismer (3) hits the ball during WECSSAA AA semi-final volleyball action last Tuesday afternoon. Kingsville came to town and swept the Lady Gens in three straight sets.

General Amherst’s Jackie Wismer (3) hits the ball during WECSSAA AA semi-final volleyball action last Tuesday afternoon. Kingsville came to town and swept the Lady Gens in three straight sets.

“It was what I expected,” said Amherst head coach Jeff Miller.

“We would have had to have been perfect,” added assistant coach Mary Ewer.

Miller said they were hoping to steal a set, something they almost did in the second set, and put pressure on Kingsville but they were ultimately unable to change the momentum of the match.

“(Kingsville) got a couple of kills and a couple of good serves,” said Miller.

Even though they lost in the semi-finals, the coaches were still happy with the season.

Head coach Jeff Miller discusses strategy with the General Amherst Lady Gens during the Feb. 14 WECSSAA semi-final match that was eventually won by Kingsville.

Head coach Jeff Miller discusses strategy with the General Amherst Lady Gens during the Feb. 14 WECSSAA semi-final match that was eventually won by Kingsville.

“Overall, I’d say the season was a success,” said Miller, noting they were 9-1 in the regular season. “I never thought we would have made it to the final four in AA.”

Ewer called this year’s Lady Gens a dedicated group of girls to coach.

Miller believed that when General Amherst hosts the OFSAA AA volleyball championship in two years, the Lady Gens will be a true contender. He envisions next year being similar to this year in that it will be another year of building up the volleyball program and getting athletic students experience at playing the sport.