Bulldogs advance to WECSSAA “AA” boys hockey final

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs boys hockey team has advanced to the WECSSAA “AA” finals.

The Bulldogs won the third and deciding game of their best-of-three semi-final series with the Essex Red Raiders thanks to a 5-1 victory Monday afternoon at the Libro Centre. The teams played a scoreless first period but second period goals from Cole Zelle, Isaac Hammond and Josh DiCarlo put the Bulldogs in command heading for the third. Max Clifford’s two third period goals sandwiched Essex’s only goal and put the game away for the Bulldogs.

“That’s more like it,” said General Amherst head coach Pat Garrett. “It’s nice to move on and be in the finals.”

General Amherst forward Brock Beaudoin attempts a wraparound during the first game of the best-of-three series vs. Essex. Amherst lost Game 1 3-2 but won the series with wins in Game 2 (2-1 in OT) and Game 3 (5-1).

The Bulldogs are one step closer to OFSAA, and Garrett said he would like the Bulldogs to advance to the provincial tournament especially for the younger players who haven’t already been there.

Zelle said it felt good to advance.

“After we lost the first game, we came in focused in the next game and we knew we could beat them,” said Zelle. “Today, once we got the first (goal), all the guys were rolling.”

The Bulldogs are playing with confidence and Zelle added “we’re ready for whoever comes next.”

Bulldogs advance to WECSSAA “AA” boys hockey final.

A third game was necessary thanks to a three-minute stretch of the third period in Game 1 last Wednesday in Amherstburg. After Lee Sinasac and DiCarlo gave the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead after two periods in that game, Essex scored twice in the first 40 seconds of the third period of that game and another just moments later to take the lead and eventually win 3-2.

“Everyone got back on their heels,” Garrett said. “I still think we had a lot of opportunities in the third. I think we outshot them.”

General Amherst tied the series last Thursday in Essex thanks to a 2-1 overtime win. DiCarlo scored 1:29 into overtime to give the Bulldogs the win with Hammond scoring the other goal.

“It feels good. We talked about getting to the finals all year,” DiCarlo said after Game 2. “We were prepared for the game. It helped a lot.”

DiCarlo said they played well defensively, limited Essex’s scoring chances and tightened up their game.

The Bulldogs will play the winner of the Belle River-L’Essor series, with Game 1 scheduled for Wednesday afternoon in Amherstburg.

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