Amherst boys hockey ties Belle River for first point

By Joel Charron

It took a few games but the monkey is finally off the back of the General Amherst boys’ hockey team.

After starting the season with a loss to Brennan and Kingsville the Bulldogs picked up their first point of the season following a 2-2 tie against the Belle River Nobles, Thursday afternoon at the United Communities Credit Union Complex.

“I felt like we were the better team on the ice today, which was nice to see because I wasn’t very pleased with the way we played in our first two games,” said head coach Pat Garrett.

Garrett said he told his squad before their bout against the Nobles that they were going to use this game to start over their season.

“Today was promising for a coaching standpoint,” he said. “They sort of turned the page on the beginning of our season.”

The game remained scoreless until the second period when Belle River struck first just four minutes into the second period.

 

Amherst’s Mike Popel easily scores on a pentaly shot in the second period.

It didn’t take long for the Bulldogs to respond. After Mike Popel was taken down on a breakaway, the Bulldogs sharpshooter slipped the puck into an open cage on a penalty shot.

Belle River would retake the lead with just less than three minutes left in the second period, but Sawyer Stoyanovich tied it back up with a top shelf goal with 57.3 seconds left in the second period.

The Bulldogs had a few opportunities to take the lead in the third period including a breakaway in the dying seconds.

“I’m very happy with a 2-2 tie,” said Garrett. “I would have liked a couple more minutes left in the third period to see how the Ryan Holzel breakaway would have turned out.”

Bulldogs Dean Shepley said he thought Amherst did a good job pressing the Nobles from the opening whistle and controlling the puck in their zone.

“We had our chances and put the puck in the net,” said Shepley.

Shepley said still not having a practice hinders line chemistry but noted that the chemistry will eventually form.

He also mentioned now that the Bulldogs got their first point of the season, the team will be more relaxed.

“Now that we have a point we can progress off that and start winning some games,” he said.

Garrett said the Bulldogs “needed” this game as a confidence booster heading into next week’s matchups against Essex and L’Essor.

“These boys needed a point,” said Garrett. ‘I told them before the game I wanted a win. I’m not disappointed and they’re not either. It’s a completely different atmosphere in the dressing room.”

 

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