Amherstburg Admirals

Groups interested in operating pro shop at Libro Centre

By Ron Giofu


While the Canadian Tire Pro Shop will cease to operate in the Libro Centre, other groups are interested in continuing to offer such a service.

The current pro shop will close March 28 and there are rumoured uses for the space, including offices for town employees. Members of the Amherstburg Admirals ownership group contacted the River Town Times stating they are one of the groups interested.

Gaspare Spada, who owns the team with Matt Fox and Wes Ewer, confirmed they sent in a proposal to the town.

“We already have relationships with these groups and would provide them with required services they need,” said Spada. “The transition would be a smooth one.”

Spada said they are confident in their abilities to run a business, noting their rent is paid on time.

“We operate the Admirals here and are in good standing with the town,” said Spada. “We are in the process of renewing the lease for the Admirals and we could include this venture in that term.”

As for discussion of turning the pro shop into offices, Spada said “I’m not aware of that but owning some properties myself, it makes no sense to give up rental dollars for offices. We’ve had meetings in regards to raising user fees for ice rental to create additional income for the town and it would make no sense to take a step backwards and lose rental income. There are some smart people employed by the town and on council. I can’t see this happening.”

Even if it did, Spada said the Admirals remain interested in operating a pro shop at the arena.

“After some discussions among our group, if the town chooses to use that space for their own use, we would consider relocating the pro shop to a different area of the arena if they would allow,” he said.

Efforts were made to contact another of the groups known to be interested in renting the space but those attempts were unsuccessful. There are reports that other parties are interested as well but their identities are unknown as of press time.

Admirals suffer heartbreaking season-ending loss


By Ron Giofu


The weekend proved to be a heartbreaking one for the Integrity Amherstburg Admirals.

The Admirals, who led the PJHL Stobbs Division quarterfinal three-games-to-one after a 4-0 win in Mooretown Feb. 14, couldn’t close out the series and that included a pair of weekend losses. The final one was a Game 7 loss on home ice Sunday night to the Flags.

Brett Farr’s goal 6:42 into the third period proved to be the game’s only goal.

Mooretown forced Game 7 with a 5-2 win in their rink Saturday night. Bryce McGregor and Broden Meloche had the Amherstburg goals in Game 6 but the bigger loss that night was Ryan Alexander, who suffered a broken leg in the game. Despite his injury and the fact that injury required surgery earlier in the day, Alexander attended Game 7 in a wheelchair to cheer his teammates on.

Josh Talerico (24) takes a shot on Mooretown goalie Jake Wilkins in Game 5.

“When you get into a Game 7, you are really leaving everything to chance,” said Admirals general manager/head coach Paul Bortignon. “I think our guys battled hard.”

Bortignon said they had the emotion of having to make up for the loss of Alexander, plus defenseman Austin Jennings played with a partially separated shoulder Sunday night.

“I think our guys did a good job of battling for 60 minutes,” Bortignon said, adding the only goal was a shot from the point that looked like it hit something in front and went in.

The teams limited each other’s scoring chances, he continued, and that it was a closely contested Game 7.

“That was probably the most evenly matched game of the series,” said Bortignon.

The injury bug started hitting the Admirals dressing room after Game 4 and that hampered the team, but Bortignon also gave credit to the opposition.

“Mooretown did a good job capitalizing on their opportunities,” said Bortignon. “(Mooretown goalie) Jake Wilkins was a difference maker in the last three games.”

Amherstburg’s Caleb Paquette splits through the defense during the third period of Game 7 Feb. 18.

Despite leading the PJHL Stobbs Division in offense this season, Bortignon said a problem they had during the season reoccurred in the playoffs including Game 7. He said when they needed a timely goal late, they couldn’t score one.

“You can’t take anything away from Mooretown. They did a great job,” said Bortignon. “We were a game short and couldn’t find the goals when we needed them.”

The Admirals had hoped to close out the series last Thursday night at the Libro Centre but lost 4-2 to the Flags. Mooretown built a 3-0 lead in that game – with the first goal coming just eight seconds in – and didn’t look back, although Amherstburg made it a one-goal game in the second period on goals by Caleb Paquette and Alexander.

Dylan Muzzatti (15) and Travis Campbell (19) console each other after the Admirals’ Game 7 loss.

“We weren’t ready to go,” said Bortignon, after Game 5. “We’ll take responsibility for that. When you get scored on eight seconds in, it’s a coach’s mistake.”

Bortignon said there may have been guys in the locker room looking ahead but gave Mooretown credit after last Thursday’s game as well.

“We lost to a good team tonight,” he said.

In Game 4 last Wednesday, Bortignon said they built a three-goal lead after two periods and were able to get the victory.

“(Goalie) Ben (Larder) was outstanding,” he said.

The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals salue the crowd at the Libro Centre after Sunday night’s 1-0 loss to the Mooretown Flags in Game 7 of the PJHL 
quarterfinals. The Admirals lost the series four games to three and their 2017-18 season is now over.

McGregor, Brett Smith, Cory Burns and Josh Talerico scored for the Admirals in Game 4.

In the five years the Admirals franchise has been in Amherstburg, it is only the second time the team has been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. The other time was their first season in Amherstburg, when they lost in seven games to the then-Belle River Canadiens. The team was able to rebound after that and have two straight appearances in the finals as well as a semi-final appearance.

With the win, Mooretown now plays the Lakeshore Canadiens in one PJHL Stobbs Division semi-final series while the Essex 73’s take on the Dresden Jr. Kings in the other semi-final.

Caleb Paquette is turned aside by Mooretown goalie Jake Wilkins in Game 7, won by Mooretown 1-0 Feb. 18.

As for the future, the Admirals lose Alexander, Ryan Holzel, Dean Patterson and captain Dylan Muzzatti as they will be too old for Jr. C hockey next year. Bortignon said they do return players like Larder, Burns and Jennings and said those players, among others, will be solid building blocks for the future. He added that management and coaches will be looking for impact players for next year’s team that can contribute immediately.

The Admirals thanked the fans for the support all season, including the over 700 fans that turned out at the Libro Centre for Game 7. Bortignon said the training and equipment staff including Don Mouck, Stu Bertram and Grant Wood are appreciated for their work as are all the volunteers and supporters of the team.

Admirals push Flags to brink of elimination


By Ron Giofu

The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals took a three-games-to-one lead over the Mooretown Flags Wednesday night thanks to a 4-0 win in Mooretown.

Bryce McGregor got things going for Amherstburg with a goal just 1:24 into the game. Early second period goals were scored by Brett Smith and Cory Burns to give the Admirals a 3-0 lead heading into the third period.

Unlike Game 2 when they were unable to hold the 3-0 lead, the Admirals not only kept the Flags off the scoreboard in the third period but added an insurance goal from Josh Talerico with just over five minute left to play.

Goalie Ben Larder turned aside all 38 Mooretown shots to earn the shutout.

The series comes back to the Libro Centre in Amherstburg tonight (Feb. 15) where the Admirals will have a chance to close out the PJHL Stobbs Division quarterfinal series.

All other PJHL Stobbs Division series are over with Lakeshore, Essex and Dresden having advanced in four straight games in their respective series.

Admirals hold two-games-to-one lead in PJHL playoff series



By Ron Giofu


Unlike the regular season when the road team won four of the five games, the home team has won each of the first three games in the Admirals’ PJHL Stobbs Division quarterfinal with the Mooretown Flags.

The Admirals took a two-games-to-one lead in the series thanks to a 7-2 win Sunday night at the Libro Centre. A Josh Talerico wrist shot gave the Admirals a 1-0 lead late in the first period and Caleb Paquette made it a 2-0 lead 30 seconds into the second period with a powerplay goal but Garrett Miller and Ryan Lyle quickly tied it for the Flags.

After that, it was all Amherstburg as the Admirals got a breakaway goal from Cory Burns late in the second period and third period goals from Ryan Alexander, Austin Jennings, Amilio Acampora and Brett Smith, the latter being a powerplay goal.

Amherstburg’s Caleb Paquette (6, left) breaks in alone on Mooretown goalie Jake Wilkins during third period action in Game 1. Paquette didn’t score on the play but the Admirals would win that game 4-2 Feb. 7.

Admirals head coach/GM Paul Bortignon said Game 3 could have gone either way after a disappointing loss in Game 2. He said they got off to a good start and did a good job bouncing back after Mooretown had tied it at two in the second period of Sunday’s game.

“I thought our guys did a good job keeping their composure in the third period,” said Bortignon. “We just did a lot of things right. We played with a lot of speed in the third.”

Bortignon added that the Admirals should get a momentum boost from the game but acknowledged Mooretown won’t be happy with what happened in Game 3 and will look to turn things around in Game 4.

Before the game, Burns was honoured with an award for being the Stobbs Division’s scoring leader in the regular season. Burns finished with 65 points.

Game 2 was a heartbreaker for the Admirals, as they squandered a 3-0 lead and fell 4-3 in overtime in Mooretown Saturday night.

Admirals co-owner/assistant coach Matt Fox presents Cory Burns with an award prior to Sunday’s Game 3 as Burns was the leading scorer in the PJHL Stobbs Division during the 2017-18 regular season with 65 points. (Photo by John Holzel)

Dylan Muzzatti’s first period goal gave Amherstburg a 1-0 lead with Kyle Meloche and Michael Hatch adding second period goals for the Admirals. However, Nolan Riley, Joe Ferrera and Ryan Lyle scored third period goals for the Flags – the latter two being in the final three minutes of the game and while Mooretown had their goalie out for the extra attacker.

Lyle would score again 7:17 into overtime, this goal being on a powerplay, to give Mooretown the victory.

Mooretown outshot Amherstburg 59-30 in Game 2.

Game 1 saw the Admirals get off to a slow start as Joe Stock and Cameron Rannie gave the Flags a 2-0 lead just past the halfway mark of the first period. However, the Admirals would score the next four goals en route to a 4-2 win.

Ryan Alexander’s first of two goals came on a powerplay at the 14:26 mark of the first period and he tied the game almost 13 minutes into the second period. Keegan MacVoy broke the tie when his point shot found the back of the net on a powerplay at the 4:19 point of the third period with Broden Meloche scoring the fourth Amherstburg goal just over four minutes later.

The Flags outshot the Admirals 31-27 in Game 1.

Cory Burns (9) scores a second period goal on Mooretown’s Nolan Hakr during the second period of Game 3 Feb. 11. Amherstburg won that game 7-2.

“It took us a little while to get into it,” said Bortignon after Game 1. “(Mooretown) was ready for playoff hockey and it took us 6-7 minutes for us to get going. It was a good wake-up call for our club, for sure.”

Bortignon said they started Game 1 playing “regular season hockey” but quickly found their playoff mode.

“We expect this one to go long,” he said of the Mooretown series. “All we can control is how we play.”
Game 4 is Wednesday (Feb. 14) in Mooretown with Game 5 being Thursday at 7 p.m.

If necessary, Game 6 will be Saturday night in Mooretown with a seventh and deciding game being at the Libro Centre Sunday at 7 p.m. Monitor and our social media feeds throughout the week to follow the Admirals’ progress.


Admirals-Flags playoff schedule released


The playoff schedule has been finalized for the Integrity Amherstburg Admirals first round PJHL Stobbs Division playoff series.

The Admirals, who finished the 2017-18 regular season in fourth place with 54 points (25-11-2-2 record), will face off against the fifth place Mooretown Flags (24-12-1-2, 51 points).

The schedule for the best-of-seven series is as follows:

GAME 1 (Wed., Feb. 7) — Mooretown at Amherstburg, 7 p.m.

GAME 2 (Sat., Feb. 10) — Amherstburg at Mooretown, 7:30 p.m.

GAME 3 (Sun., Feb. 11) — Mooretown at Amherstburg, 7 p.m.

GAME 4 (Wed., Feb. 14) — Amherstburg at Mooretown, 8 p.m.

*GAME 5 (Thurs., Feb. 15) — Mooretown at Amherstburg, 7 p.m.

*GAME 6 (Sat., Feb. 17) — Amherstburg at Mooretown, 7:30 p.m.

*GAME 7 (Sun., Feb. 18) — Mooretown at Amherstburg, 7 p.m.

*if necessary

Ticket prices will be $9 for adults, $6 for students and seniors, $4 for youth 6-12 and free for children five and under.

Mooretown won the season series between the two teams three games to two. Mooretown won 3-2 Sept. 24, 4-0 Nov. 12 and 3-2 Dec. 2 while the Admirals won 4-2 Oct. 28 and 4-3 Jan. 13. The road team won four of the five games the two teams played in the 2017-18 regular season.