Admirals play well but unable to overcome first place 73’s

 

 

Amherstburg’s Travis Campbell (left) and Ryan Holzel search for the tying goal against Essex and their goalie Trevor Wheaton Sunday night.

Amherstburg’s Travis Campbell (left) and Ryan Holzel search for the tying goal against Essex and their goalie Trevor Wheaton Sunday night.

By Ron Giofu

 

After two games of double-digit goal totals, Amherstburg’s local Jr. C hockey club followed it up with two games where they had trouble finding the back of the net against the league’s top team.

However, they would bounce back in their most recent game.

After beating second place Blenheim 10-2 Dec. 23 and hammering Alvinston 12-2 Dec. 27, the Integrity Amherstburg Admirals scored once in two games during a home-and-home series with the first place Essex 73’s. The Admirals travelled to Essex Dec. 29 with the 73’s winning 4-0 thanks to second period goals from Tyler Scott, Max Viselli, Matthew Hebert and Phil Janikowski.

The two teams faced off again last Sunday night at the Libro Centre in a tightly-fought game that the 73’s won 2-1. Eric Shaw scored with just 1:02 left in the first period to give the visitors a 1-0 lead they maintained well into the third period. Ryan Alexander tied the game at the 15:53 mark but Shaw’s second of the game, scored on a powerplay, at the 18:18 mark of the period put Essex back in front.

A valiant effort by the Admirals in the dying seconds of the game couldn’t produce another tying goal as Essex goalie Trevor Wheaton managed to keep the puck out of the net.

Despite the loss, Admirals head coach Paul Bortignon was happy with how his team played Sunday night.

“Sometimes the better team doesn’t win,” said Bortignon.

Bortignon believed the Admirals outplayed the 73’s but the visitors were able to capitalize on the breaks they received.

“I think our guys really played well tonight. It was a great team effort from the goalie (Connor Meyerink) right up to the forwards,” said Bortignon. “We were great. Hats off to Wheaton. Without him, the game was not in question. If it wasn’t for him, it’s an easy win for us.”

Bortignon believed Wheaton to be the best player on the Essex squad, if not the entire Great Lakes Jr. C Hockey League. If the Admirals play Essex again, Bortignon said he wants to see the same effort from his team but noted they may have to “bear down” to put more pucks past Wheaton.

“He made some good saves but we put a few at him,” he said.

Integrity Amherstburg Admirals goalie Connor Meyerink turns aside Essex  forward Eric Shaw in the second period of Sunday night’s game at the Libro Centre. Meyerink played well but Shaw managed to score in the first and third periods to lead Essex to a 2-1 victory.

Integrity Amherstburg Admirals goalie Connor Meyerink turns aside Essex
forward Eric Shaw in the second period of Sunday night’s game at the Libro Centre. Meyerink played well but Shaw managed to score in the first and third periods to lead Essex to a 2-1 victory.

The Admirals have to maintain the same intensity going forward, Bortignon added, and believed good things would happen if they do. The Admirals were missing some key players Sunday night, with Luke Gangnon serving the first game of a two-game suspension and Chad Copeland and Blake Rutckyj missing the game due to illness but Bortignon said other players stepped in and played well.

The Admirals rebounded Monday night in Wheatley, where they recorded a 4-1 victory over the Sharks. Lucas Bersuk, Travis Campbell, Michael Hatch and Broden Meloche scored for Amherstburg with Daniel Tonietto picking up the win in goal.

Amherstburg currently sits third in the Great Lakes Jr. C standings with a 19-10-3-1 record, good for 42 points.

The Admirals next home game is this Sunday night against the last place Wallaceburg Lakers.

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