Admirals and 73’s even at two wins each after four games of Great Lakes Jr. C final

 

By Ron Giofu

The Great Lakes Jr. C final is even at two games each after the two teams won on the other team’s ice over the weekend.

The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals took a two games to one lead in the series with a 3-2 overtime triumph in Essex Saturday night but could not extend the series lead to three games to one as the 73’s won 2-1 Sunday night at the Libro Centre.

Broden Meloche got the scoring started Saturday night with a goal just 1:14 into the game but Essex got goals from Luke Gecse and Tyler Boughner in the second period to take a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes. Curtis Prymack scored early in the third period to tie the game.

Luke Gangnon scored at 8:37 into overtime to give Amherstburg the win and Essex a rare home ice playoff loss.

Admirals forward Luke Gangnon celebrates his overtime goal Saturday night in Essex. The Admirals took a two games to one lead in the series with that win but the Essex 73's tied the series 24 hours later with a 2-1 win at the Libro Centre in Amherstburg.

Admirals forward Luke Gangnon celebrates his overtime goal Saturday night in Essex. The Admirals took a two games to one lead in the series with that win but the Essex 73’s tied the series 24 hours later with a 2-1 win at the Libro Centre in Amherstburg. (Photo by John Holzel)

Sunday’s game saw Essex take a 1-0 lead with under four minutes left in the second period when Griffin McCarty backhanded a puck home from the slot. Tyler Scott put the 73’s up 2-0 with a goal early in the third period but Amherstburg’s Caleb Paquette tallied with just over five minutes left to make it a one-goal game. The Admirals could not find the tying goal, even with goalie Connor Meyerink on the bench.

Meyerink made over 40 saves in each of the third and fourth games.

“If someone told me at the start of the year we would be in a best-of-three for the title, a lot of guys would take it,” said Admirals head coach Paul Bortignon after Sunday’s game.

The Admirals now have to win another one in Essex and Bortignon said they have to have a similar effort to what got them the Game 3 win. Game 5 occurred after the print edition of the River Town Times went to press. Getting the win in Game 3 was “massive,” said Bortignon, as it showed the players could win in Essex.

The Admirals had a chance to put the 73’s down 3-1 in the series and should have taken that opportunity, he added.

“You can’t make excuses. When you get a chance to go up 3-1 at home, you’ve got to get the job done,” said Bortignon.

Bortignon praised the work of Meyerink but noted he would like to see his team get the opposing shot totals down.

The first two games saw each team win on home ice.

Dylan Muzzatti scored a pair of third period goals to put his team on top with Luke Gangnon having tied the game at one with a second period goal in a 3-1 Amherstburg win in Game 2 last Thursday night at the Libro Centre. Essex forward Max Viselli had put his team in front 1-0 with a goal scored with 45.7 seconds left in the first period.

The Admirals had lost the first game 5-2 Tuesday night in Essex.

“I think we did a good job Tuesday night,” said Bortignon after Thursday’s game. “Unfortunately the bounces weren’t there for us.”

Bortignon said after Game 2 that “we did a heck of a job tonight” and battled well against a team that the Admirals were said to have no chance against. Bortignon said the Admirals heard talk the 73’s would sweep through the playoffs with the Admirals not having much of an opportunity to change that, something that annoyed the Amherstburg team.

“We are confident we can get the job done,” said Bortignon. “We showed that tonight.”

Defenseman Dean Patterson said Game 2 was a fast paced game and said they got key saves from goalie Connor Meyerink.

“It was an all-around great game,” said Patterson.

Patterson added the Admirals have to “steal one on the road” and keep putting pucks at the net and shooting on Essex goalie Trevor Wheaton.

“If he’s in our league, we can beat him,” said Patterson.

Muzzatti said after Game 2 that it felt good to tie the series and gave credit to his teammates for his two third period goals. He said he crashed the net on his first goal and believes that is a key to beating Wheaton.

“If we keep crashing the net, he can’t handle our pressure,” said Muzzatti.

The second goal came as a result of Gangnon forcing a turnover at the Essex blue line and Muzzatti said he got a nice feed before scoring the goal.

“It was a full 60-minute effort,” added Muzzatti, who also credited Meyerink for his 34-save performance.

The win gives Amherstburg a “ton of momentum,” Muzzatti added.

“We feel the series is in our hands,” he said. “We feel if we put in a full 60 minute game, they can’t handle it and it showed tonight.”

Game 5’s result will be posted at www.rivertowntimes.com.

Game 6 will be at the Libro Centre Friday at 7:30 p.m. If necessary, Game 7 will be in Essex Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

Comments are closed.