Amherstburg eliminated from PJHL Stobbs Division playoffs

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The season is over for the Integrity Amherstburg Admirals.

The local Jr. C hockey team lost in four straight games to the Essex 73’s in the PJHL Stobbs Division semi-final, with the fourth game being a 7-2 loss at the Libro Centre Sunday night.

The 73’s’ first five goals were all off of special teams, four powerplay goals and one shorthanded goal, before pulling away in the third with two even-strength goals.

The teams swapped powerplay goals in the first period with Eric Shaw scoring for Essex followed later in the period by Curtis Prymack for the Admirals, the latter being on a five-on-three powerplay.

Anthony Cristofaro scored on the powerplay in the second while William Stadder scored on a shorthanded breakaway to make it 3-1 Essex after 40 minutes but Amherstburg climbed back into it just 59 seconds into the third period on a Jordan Luciw goal.

Michael Vieira and Cristofaro scored powerplay goals to give Essex a 5-2 lead before Michael Ruttinger and Stadder scored two more goals for the 73’s to round out the scoring.

“Not the storybook ending we wanted,” admitted Admirals coach Paul Bortignon after the game.

The Admirals coaches and management looked at the season positively despite the disappointing loss in the semi-final.

“In a season with highs and lows, as a staff we are proud of the effort our guys brought forth,” said Bortignon.

Bortignon said they were within one goal in the third period Sunday night but things started to come apart after the fourth Essex goals. He said the Admirals still battled hard until the end, despite the final score.

The Admirals have accomplished a lot the last few years, he added, including back-to-back trips to the finals with Kasey Basile, Luke Gangnon, Luciw and Prymack being part of that. All four players have played their last Jr. C game as they were the overage players this season.

Ryan Alexander gets a scoring chance on Essex goalie Tyler Ryan during Feb. 26 action at the Libro Centre. The Admirals kept it close for just over two periods but Essex pulled away midway through the third period to win Game 4 7-2 and the series four games to none.

Ryan Alexander gets a scoring chance on Essex goalie Tyler Ryan during Feb. 26 action at the Libro Centre. The Admirals kept it close for just over two periods but Essex pulled away midway through the third period to win Game 4 7-2 and the series four games to none.

“We are obviously disappointed and not satisfied but we are proud of what we accomplished this year and proud of the players for sure,” said Bortignon.

The staff will take some time to regroup and look to “reload” for the 2017-18 hockey season. They will look for impact players in the off-season and fill the voids from the players that won’t return from this season.

The team thanks the fans and the town for its support this past season and vow to get back to the finals and beyond as soon as possible.

“They have our commitment. We’ll work harder than ever to get back to where we are used to,” said general manager/co-owner Wes Ewer.

Essex outshot Amherstburg 29-20 in Game 4.

The 73’s built a three games to none advantage in the best-of-seven series thanks to a 7-5 win Feb. 21 at the Essex Centre Sports Complex.

The series’ third game went back-and-forth with Amherstburg having the lead on a couple of occasions, including taking a 5-4 lead into the second intermission. Essex scored three times in the third period to propel themselves to the win.

The game started on the right note for the Admirals thanks to Ryan Holzel scoring at the 8:59 mark of the period but Michael Ruttinger tied it for Essex less than a minute later.

The Admirals got the lead back just 11 seconds after Ruttinger’s goal thanks to a tally from Cory Burns but Essex would score twice more before the period was out with Matthew Rosati and Michael Vieiera scoring for the 73’s.

The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals celebrate Curtis Prymack's first period powerplay goal Sunday night. The Admirals lost 7-2 in Sunday's Game 4 and the series in four straight games.

The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals celebrate Curtis Prymack’s first period powerplay goal Sunday night. The Admirals lost 7-2 in Sunday’s Game 4 and the series in four straight games.

Amherstburg controlled the second period, outscoring the 73’s 3-1 in the period. Luke Gangnon scored at 2:22 and 19:22 with Jordan Luciw scoring in between for the Admirals. Dalton Langlois had the Essex goal in the period.

The 73’s got a pair of powerplay goals early in the third period to re-take the lead with Eric Shaw and Adam Gaiarin scoring. William Stadder scored the 73’s’ seventh goal with just 3:11 left in the game to give Essex and insurance marker.

Both starting goalies were pulled in the high-scoring game with Jax Dhont relieving starter Tyler Ryan in the Essex net in the first period while Matt Badour took over from Catalin Morin in the Amherstburg net in the second period.

The Admirals outshot the 73’s 38-34 in Game 3 but Essex was 3-for-9 on the powerplay as opposed to the Admirals going 0-for-4. There were nine slashing penalties on the night between the two teams.

Essex now awaits the winner of the Lakeshore-Blenheim series.

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