Amherstburg Stars juvenile team advance to OMHA finals


By Ron Giofu


The Amherstburg Stars juvenile hockey team is one step closer to a provincial title.

The Stars advanced to the OMHA finals thanks to a 2-1 victory over the Woolwich Wildcats Friday night at the Libro Centre. The win meant the Stars captured the OMHA semi-final series six points to none as Amherstburg won twice in Woolwich the previous weekend.

The Amherstburg Stars juvenile team celebrates after their 2-1 over the Woolwich Wildcats March 9 at the Libro Centre. Amherstburg wo the series six points to none and advanced to the OMHA finals.

After Mathieu Fife opened the scoring for Woolwich early in the first period, the Stars rallied to tie the game on a goal by Garret Blunt later in the period. The teams played a scoreless second period before Jack Hubbell’s powerplay goal midway through the third period put the Stars ahead to stay.

“We feel great about it,” said Stars head coach Dennis Emerson. “We’re excited.”

Emerson said the Stars have been playing well for a few months now.

“We’ve been on a roll since Christmas,” he said. “The kids are all buying in to what we’re trying to do. We’re playing as a team.”

Blunt said the team is happy to make the finals and have no preference as to who they play.

“We’ll take on anyone,” he said.

Amherstburg’s Jake Topliffe (5) tries a wraparound on Woolwich goalie Connor Duench during the third period of last Friday night’s OMHA semi-final game at the Libro Centre. Amherstburg won 2-1.

The juvenile Stars is still a relatively young program in Amherstburg and Blunt said they are putting it on the map quickly. Blunt noted juvenile-aged players no longer have to travel to Harrow to continue their hockey careers.

“It feels really good,” he said, about advancing to the OMHA finals. “It shows the juvenile team means business in Amherstburg.”

Blunt said they wanted to “exploit” the Woolwich goalie and get shots low, look for rebounds “and that’s what we did.”

“It’s good to be playing here,” he added. “It wasn’t like that a couple of years ago. It’s good to have a team.”

Three local boxers bring home gold medals from Ontario Winter Games



By Ron Giofu


A trio of fighters from Amherstburg’s Fighting Island Boxing Club won gold medals at the recent Ontario Winter Games.

Spencer Quinn, Brandon French and Tiago Balteiro participated in the March 1-4 competition and all took the top spot in their weight categories. Quinn won in the 69 kg category.

“I feel great about it,” he said. “I won the Ontario Winter Games. I was confident the whole way. I trained hard for this competition and it paid off.”

Quinn said it is the second biggest win of his career next to the provincial title he won. He does not know when his next fight is.

French also has this accomplishment near the top of his list, as he won gold in the 38 kg division.

“My fight only lasted one round,” he said, adding it was a 53-second TKO.

French started the fight fast and caused a standing eight-count to be administered to his opponent before finishing the fight off.

“’Just keep throwing’ is what I was telling myself,” said French.

Three fighters from Amherstburg’s Fighting Island Boxing Club won gold at the recent Ontario Winter Games. They include (from left): Spencer Quinn, Brandon French and Tiego Balteiro.

French trains daily at the Amherstburg gym and is not sure when his next fight is either, but thinks it could be in the next few weeks in London.

Balteiro fought in the 80 kg class and said it was against a tough opponent.

“It was a hard fight,” he said. “I fought well.”

Balteiro said he gave his opponent a standing eight-count in the third round.

“I thought it was one of my best fights,” he said, calling it his biggest win. “I fought older fighters.”

Noting he was relaxed in the ring, Balteiro added “it felt like another day at the office.”

Balteiro said his next fight will be in London March 24.

Fighting Island Boxing Club owner/coach Joe LeBlanc said the Ontario Winter Games was based in Orillia but the boxing matches were held in Midland. There were 3,500 athletes in all with participants marching in under banners for their respective sports.

LeBlanc was pleased with how things went for his fighters.

“I was very happy, very pleased,” he said. “The kids worked hard. It proves when you work hard, things happen. It was a great experience for the kids. It was like a mini-Olympics.”

General Amherst wrestler takes silver at OFSAA



By Ron Giofu


General Amherst had a small but strong wrestling team this year with one of its members coming home with a silver from OFSAA.

Myah Trymbulak, a Grade 10 student, captured the silver medal in the 41 kg girls class. It was an accomplishment she is pleased with but one she will try and improve upon in future years.

“It feels really good,” she said. “I know I put in a lot of work and effort (during the season). I wasn’t expecting it at first but I’m really proud of myself.”

Trymbulak wrestled twice on the first day of the tournament, held at the WFCU Centre in Windsor March 5-7, and twice on the second day. The first match on the second day was one of her toughest, she said.

“I felt she was just as aggressive as I was,” said Trymbulak. “She came at me hard. She wanted to win just as much as I did.”

Myah Trymbulak shows the silver medal she won at the recent OFSAA wrestling meet in Windsor.

Trymbulak said she was nervous at first going into the finals but that wore off as introductions were made. She was placed in a pinning situation and tried to get out of the pin but ended up on the short end of the match.

The OFSAA silver medal followed gold medals at both WECSSAA and SWOSSAA, where she wrestled the same two opponents. She hopes to add a gold at OFSAA next year.

“I would definitely like to make OFSAA and place first,” she said. “I think I have a good chance of doing it if I keep working as hard as I have been the last couple of years.”

Trymbulak started coming to the school and practising while in Grade 7. She first tasted tournament action last year as a Grade 9 and also joined the Windsor Wrestling Club. She thanked her coach at General Amherst, Rodney Levesque, her teammates and family, including brother Matthew.

“He’s the one that got me into wrestling,” she explained.

This year’s Amherst wrestling team consisted of (from left):
coach Rodney Levesque, Myah Trymbulak (1st WECSSAA AND SWOSSAA, 2nd OFSAA), Tate Levesque (1st WECSSAA, 2nd SWOSSAA),Katie McEvoy (3rd SWOSSAA), Matt Belanger. (Submitted photo)

Levesque said two other Amherst wrestlers made it to OFSAA including Tate Levesque in the 72 kg weight class and Katie McEvoy in the 44 kg weight class. Matt Belanger also was on this year’s team.

“Wrestling is one of the hardest high school sports to go into,” Levesque believed. Not only are there multiple practices per week, there were roughly eight tournaments that they competed in.

“We’re talking quite a few weeks that they were competing,” said Levesque.


“Big Buck Sunday” held at AMA Sportsmen Association


By Jonathan Martin


A long-standing AMA Sportsmen Association tradition has notched another year in the ol’ belt.

Big Buck Sunday has been giving local hunters the chance to get their racks measured for around two decades, according to club member Brian Beattie.

This year, the antlers were measured by Jim Branch, a Foundation for the Recognition of Ontario Wildlife official.  He said the day saw antlers that scored in the 130s and 140s.  Those who brought in antlers were given the chance to submit their score to the periodically-released Big Game Records of Ontario book.

Foundation for the Recognition of Ontario Wildlife (FROW) official Jim Branch measures a pair of antlers at AMA Sportsmen Association’s annual Big Buck Sunday event. Local hunters had a chance to get their racks scored last Sunday.

Big Buck Sunday also hosted vendors, whose products ranged from crossbows to scones.  Beattie said AMA had hosted a craft show the day before, so a few of those involved stayed behind for a second day.  There were oil candles, animal pelts, woodcarvings and more.  Even a charity showed up: Archers Against Cancer, which holds archery events to raise funds that offset the costs associated with cancer treatment.

Most archers kept to the outdoors, though.  The first 3D shoot of the year was held just across the road.  Thirty three-dimensional targets, shaped like animals, were erected with scores attached to different body parts: 10 for the heart, eight for the lungs, five for the body and zero for a miss.  The next 3D shoot will be held April 8.

“I like the 3D shoots because what it’s really about is getting a few people together to go out and have a few laughs,” Beattie said.

Bulldogs boys hockey team’s season ends in disappointing fashion



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Bulldogs boys hockey team’s season ended in disappointing style last week.

The Bulldogs were swept in two straight games in the WECSSAA “AA” finals by the Belle River Nobles. The first game in the best-of-three series was at the Libro Centre Feb. 28 and saw the Nobles come away with a 4-3 overtime victory.

The Nobles took a 3-0 lead in that game and General Amherst came back to tie it at three and forced overtime thanks to a strong third period.

“We put together a period of hockey where we were impossible to beat,” said Bulldogs head coach Pat Garrett. “We dominated the first two minutes of overtime and then Belle River gets a fluky goal and wins it. It was pretty disappointing.”

Brock Beaudoin scored twice for the Bulldogs while Isaac Hammond had the other.

General Amherst head coach Pat Garrett discusses strategy during a timeout in the third period of a recent game at the Libro Centre. The Bulldogs advanced to the WECSSAA “AA” finals but lost in two straight games to the Belle River Nobles in the best-of-three series.

The next day, the two teams faced off at the Atlas Tube Centre in Lakeshore for Game 2. Things started well for the Bulldogs as they scored the first goal. General Amherst had a 2-1 third period advantage but Garrett said penalty trouble due to “significantly undisciplined play” led to them being down 4-2 in a short period of time.

Game 2 ended up 5-2 and the Nobles were WECSSAA champs.

Josh DiCarlo and Beaudoin scored for the Bulldogs.

“Every year you have a goal to win,” said Garrett. “I really felt we had the group to take a WECSSAA championship.”

The Bulldogs hoped for another chance last Tuesday afternoon as Belle River faced off with Lambton Central for the SWOSSAA “AA” championship. A Belle River win would have seen the Bulldogs have an opportunity to challenge for the region’s second OFSAA berth but the Nobles fell short and officially ended the Bulldogs’ season.

“I would have liked to have seen us move on but I would have liked to see us move on as WECSSAA champions,” said Garrett.

Garrett, who coached the team with Joe Shaw this year, praised not only the commitment of the players this season but the parents as well. He pointed out it was a long season as it started back in November but the parents and grandparents stuck with the team and showed continued support.