Bulldogs’ offense erupts in deciding game of WECSSAA semi-finals vs. Essex

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs celebrate a first period goal in last Friday's deciding game against Essex. Amherst won 6-1 at the Libro Centre.

The General Amherst Bulldogs celebrate a first period goal in last Friday’s deciding game against Essex. Amherst won 6-1 at the Libro Centre.

Ryan Holzel (14) scores a third period goal versus Essex last Friday. Amherst downed Essex 6-1 to advance to the WECSSAA finals but lost 5-0 in Game 1 versus Belle River.

Ryan Holzel (14) scores a third period goal versus Essex last Friday. Amherst downed Essex 6-1 to advance to the WECSSAA finals but lost 5-0 in Game 1 versus Belle River.

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs have advanced to the WECSSAA boys hockey finals after an offensive explosion in the third and deciding game of their best-of-three semi-final against Essex.

The Bulldogs downed the Red Raiders 6-1 last Friday afternoon at the Libro Centre behind two goals from Ryan Holzel and single goals from Robbie Lavoie, Marshal Laing, Dean Patterson and Zack Parlette.

That came one day after a 1-0 loss in Essex which extended the series back to Amherstburg for Friday’s deciding game.

“We lost fair and square (Thursday),” said Amherst coach Pat Garrett after Friday’s game. “I thought our guys played well and Essex worked hard.”

The Bulldogs played with only ten players in the third game as many of the team also play for the Amherstburg Stars midget minor team and Garrett said they were away Friday for OMHA playdowns. That, coupled with the tight play of the first two games of the series – Amherst won 3-2 in overtime last Wednesday on home ice – saw the Bulldogs’ coach be caught off guard by his team’s offensive outburst against the Red Raiders in Game 3.

“I did not see this coming at all,” he admitted.

Garrett said Amherst capitalized on some chances in the third game, something they were unable to do the previous day in Essex.

“Today, it was like if we saw the net, we found the net,” said Garrett.

The effort of the Bulldogs in Game 3 was not lost on their coach.

“They worked their asses off and I’m proud as hell of them,” he said. “They really stepped up.”

Josh Paquette played goal in the third game after Jack Langlois played the first two but Paquette was called upon after Game 2 when it was learned Langlois was unavailable for Game 3.

“It was a big game,” he said of Game 3. “It feels awesome (to win). The fact it was against a rival team, it felt great.”

Paquette said he knew he had to step up once he found out he was the starter in the third game.

“I knew I had to do well and I pulled it off,” he said. “I did it for the team.”

Now in the finals against a strong Belle River Nobles team, Paquette said the Bulldogs have to keep playing as a team, work hard and play good team defence.

The Bulldogs opened the WECSSAA finals late Monday afternoon in Lakeshore. They dropped a 5-0 decision but can even the series on home ice today at 2:30 p.m. at the Libro Centre in Game 2.

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