Late penalty sinks Admirals’ inaugural season in Amherstburg

 

Amherstburg’s Ryan Alexander (right) battles for a puck with Belle River’s Brian Johnson during action in Game 7 of the Great Lakes Jr. C quarterfinal series Friday night. Belle River won 5-4 to take the series four games to three.

Amherstburg’s Ryan Alexander (right) battles for a puck with Belle River’s Brian Johnson during action in Game 7 of the Great Lakes Jr. C quarterfinal series Friday night. Belle River won 5-4 to take the series four games to three.

By Ron Giofu

 

A bench minor penalty – the only penalty called in the game – was enough to sink the Amherstburg Admirals’ season last Friday night.

The Admirals lost Game 7 of their best-of-seven Great Lakes Jr. C quarterfinal to the Belle River Canadiens at Lakeshore Arena 5-4 to end the club’s inaugural season in Amherstburg.

With Amherstburg having been assessed a too many men on the ice penalty just moments earlier, Belle River’s Brian Johnson scored a powerplay goal at the 17:01 mark of the third period and that goal stood up as the game-winner. Johnson’s first shot attempt was blocked but he recovered the puck and buried the second attempt.

Amherstburg had built a 2-0 lead on first period goals by Dan Matoski and Luke Gangnon but the Canadiens scored four in a row to take a 4-2 lead just past the midway point of the second period. Branden Larocque scored a pair with Sebastian Kanally and Connor Goodchild also scoring.

A goal by Jordan Luciw brought Amherstburg back to within one before the second period was out and Blake Rutckyj tied it at four midway through the third period.

Team captain Kyle Morand was obviously disappointed after the loss, saying “it sucks” to go out that way, but was proud of his teammates and the organization. He said the season didn’t end the way they wanted.

“One lucky bounce and there goes your season,” he said.

While upset to lose, particularly on the too many men call, Morand said “it’s been a fun year.” Morand, who joined Ryan Jones as the two Admirals who played their last game, said between the second period they were told not to hold anything back.

“We fought really hard to come back,” he said. “We gave Belle River everything they could handle but it wasn’t enough at the end.”

Morand emphasized he was proud of his teammates, the coaches and the ownership.

“There’s nothing to complain about. It was a really great year,” he said.

Head coach/GM Greg Prymack said not many people would have said the series would have come down to the final three minutes of Game 7.

“It was a heart breaker,” he said.

The bench minor was “a heck of a way to end the game” but added “if the ref saw it, the ref saw it.”

Prymack said the Admirals were the most penalized team in the league this season and wondered if that was a “bad omen” leading to the bench minor penalty. He added he was proud of the team and believed losing only two players to the junior age limitation was a plus for his team. He added there will be exit meetings with each player and a mini-camp in April in preparation for next season.

The Admirals had a chance to close out the series on home ice last Wednesday night but Belle River held them off with a 4-1 win. Belle River opened the scoring with a Brenden Crundwell powerplay goal and Logan Percy added to their lead before Steven Spada got the Admirals on the board later in the first period.

Larocque made it 3-1 midway through the second period while Brad Carroll notched a shorthanded goal about four minutes after Larocque’s goal to round out the scoring.

Amherstburg won Game 5 in Belle River by a 5-4 score. Sebastian Kanally gave the Canadiens a 1-0 lead after one period with a powerplay goal before Amherstburg tallied three straight times in the second period with the Admirals getting goals from Chad Copeland, Gangnon, and Luciw. Kody Gagnon scored for Belle River before the second period ended.

Amherstburg would extend their lead to 5-2 on goals from Ryan Alexander and Brett Beattie though Crundwell and Kanally, the second on a powerplay, would make things interesting before the game concluded.

“It was a heck of a season for us for our first year in Amherstburg,” Prymack concluded.

Comments are closed.