Amherst boys hockey team ready for deep playoff run

By Joel Charron

Before the high school hockey season started, General Amherst’s head coach Pat Garrett thought that this season would be all about rebuilding.

After a season finale 2-1 win over the Essex Red Raiders, the Bulldogs finished with a record of 8-3-1, good enough to grab the number one seed heading into the playoffs.

It’s a position that Garrett never would have expected the Bulldogs to be in.

“I’m very surprised,” said Garrett. “I thought this season would be about bringing in some younger players and start grooming them for the hockey program for the next couple of years.”

Much to Garrett’s surprise the season went the complete opposite. He said it wasn’t until halfway through the season that he and assistant coach BJ Wiley began to think that the year was more than being a rebuilding year.

“Not that we didn’t take it seriously from day one but your mindset going into the season was different than it was last year,” said Garrett.

What’s the reason for this “surprise” season?

Garrett credits it to players like Cameron Scott and Jeremy Aguilar who “leave it all on the ice.”

“I knew Zoran and Mike Popel were going to score goals but there were some players who really surprised me this season,’ said Garrett.

He said in the beginning of the year he thought Scott would be a third line centre, however Garrett said Scott has proved himself as a second line centre who “shows up” during big games and chips in with timely plays. Aguilar, who may not record the points as other defensemen like Frank Rosati but according to Garrett provides much more than points on the stat sheet.

“He’s a 6’3” bulldozer,” said Garrett. “He goes out there and bangs bodies.”

Garrett was also surprised on how well Grade 9’s Zak Parlette and Ryan Holzel have performed, stating the duo have not been intimidated by the senior players in the league.

Getting the first seed was key for the Bulldogs, as they set out to square off against Harrow (1-11.)

“This is our chance to play effective hockey and work on things we need to work on,” said Garrett.

He mentioned that a third straight WECSAA is within their reach, if they continue to do what they have been doing all year long, which is play as one unit.

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