Ben Larder

Admirals split games over the weekend

 

 

By Christian Bouchard

 

After losing to last year’s defending league champions, the Amherstburg Admirals bounced back with a resounding 6-1 win over the Petrolia Flyers.

The Admirals fought hard but would fall 3-1 to the Lakeshore Canadiens Friday night. Their luck would fare better as they would get six goals on Sunday and another great performance by Ben Larder in net to pick up two points on Amherstburg Minor Hockey Association night in front of approximately 500 fans.

Cory Burns scores a first period goal against the Petrolia Flyers Sunday night.

The Admirals showed their depth as six different players found the back of the net. Goals were scored by Cory Burns, Max Clifford, Caleb Paquette, Brett Smith, Bryce McGregor and Josh Talerico.

“The team has bonded, we’re much closer together and it shows on the ice,” said Admirals goalie Ben Larder.

The 21-year-old netminder was just 4:21 away from his fourth shutout this season. He has now won his last five games while starting and has an impressive 1.74 goals against average this season.

With the win, the Admirals are now 4-0-0-1 at home. While head coach/general manager Paul Bortignon and Admirals leading scorer Cory Burns have stated the importance of protecting home ice all season long, Larder said it is also important to play for each other.

“It’s pedal to the metal, doing everything you can for the other guys on the team, because that’s who we play for,” said Larder.

Broden Meloche carries the puck up the ice during Sunday night’s win over Petrolia.

The Admirals host their rival, the Essex 73’s next Sunday. The Admirals lost the only previous meeting between the two teams this year by a final score of 6-3.

“We’re a different team than we were in the season opener,” added Larder. “Yes, we came out flat against them in the first game of the season but that’s just one game.”

To celebrate the holidays, the Admirals are welcoming kids 11 and under free admission to the game with a costume and will be holding a trick-or-treating event following the game in the Admirals dressing room.

 

 

Admirals improve to 2-2 after tough road schedule

 

 

By Christian Bouchard

 

The Amherstburg Admirals split a pair of games over the weekend, improving their record to 2-2.

Amherstburg couldn’t avenge their Game 7 loss in the playoffs to the Mooretown Flags Saturday as they lost 4-2 on the road. The Admirals allowed 40 shots in the loss, an area in which head coach/GM Paul Bortignon said needs to improve.

Defense was the name of the game in the Admirals home opener as they picked up a 5-0 win against an undefeated Dresden in front 614 fans. The Admirals outshot the Kings 40-15 as Ben Larder picked up his first shutout of the season.

Ty Moss celebrates his third period goal versus Dresden in the Admirals home opener. The Admirals defeated the Kings 5-0.

“We gave up 40 shots to Mooretown so to come back the next night against a team that was 4-0 and get four by a goalie like (Dresden’s Brett) Brochu who was playing lights out is huge for us,” said Bortignon.

The offensive was led by captain Austin Jennings who had two goals and an assist in the victory. Other Admirals goals were scored by Ty Moss, Josh Talerico and Christian McBride, who scored his first junior goal of his career.

Despite the offensive explosion, Bortignon said he was more impressed with the team’s effort on defense.

“Whenever you can give up 15 shots or less, that’s going to win you a lot of games,” added Bortignon.

With so much emphasis on defense, Ben Larder said it allowed him to have a great bounce back game.

Kyle Meloche (12, right) goes for a poke check on a Dresden player during Sunday night’s home opener.

“I’m happy with the effort in front of me, the boys helped me out a lot,” said Larder. “They did a great job killing penalties and blocking shots. I’m just trying to keep pucks out of the net. Winning the game is the goal, especially against a team that is 4-0”.

The Admirals hit the road this Thursday night to take on the Petrolia Flyers before returning home on this Sunday night to host the Wallaceburg Lakers. Puck drop for Sunday night’s game is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Libro Centre.

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 pick up wins over Mooretown and Petrolia

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Amherstburg’s Jr. C hockey team picked up all four points that were up for grabs on the weekend, but their coach/GM still sees room for improvement.

The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals travelled to Mooretown Saturday night and came away with a 4-3 win but had to have late game heroics by Ryan Holzel in which to do it. After Cory Burns, Josh Talerico and Caleb Paquette scored in the first period to give the Admirals a 3-0 lead, they held it until the third period when Mooretown took advantage of Amherstburg penalty trouble and managed to tie the game.

Amherstburg defenseman Reid Stieler (7, left) battles for the puck with Petrolia’s Trent Jardine Sunday night.

However, Holzel scored with just 3:25 left in regulation time to give Amherstburg the win. Ben Larder stood tall in the Admirals’ net, stopping 46 of 49 shots.

The Admirals returned home Sunday night and hammered the visiting Petrolia Flyers 9-3. Dean Patterson and Paquette each scored twice with Bryce McGregor, Michael Hatch, Broden Meloche, Ryan Alexander and Holzel also scoring for Amherstburg.

Goalie Jared Ratko picked up his first win as an Admiral.

Admirals head coach/GM Paul Bortignon said the coaches want to see a better effort over 60 minutes every night.

“Obviously at this point, we’re fighting for every point,” he said. “It’s good to get the four points.”

Bortignon said the third period in Mooretown wasn’t as good as it should have been but “we fought back to get the win.” Even in the 9-3 win Sunday night, they didn’t play as well in the third period.

“We strung together 40 minutes in some games,” he said.

The Admirals have to do a better job locking down defensively and putting games away, he believed.

Amherstburg continued to make roster moves before the deadline, one of the more recent being the addition of Keegan MacVoy. Bortignon said MacVoy has got Jr. B experience and he helps bolster their blue line even further.

“For us, it was a no brainer to add him to our defense corps,” said Bortignon.

MacVoy said the Admirals were hungry to win these last two games after having lost the previous weekend to Lakeshore and Essex. He said he was happy to join the Admirals.

“I’ve been excited especially for this game,” he said after Sunday’s win over Petrolia in which he had one assist. “I’m excited to play in front of my hometown.”

Amherstburg’s Kyle Meloche (12, left) gets a scoring chance Jan. 14 against Petrolia. Amherstburg won the game 9-3.

MacVoy said they are gearing up to make a run at the PJHL Stobbs Division championship.

“I believe this team can win it all,” he said.

The Admirals (22-10-2-2, 48 points) have to increase their work ethic, MacVoy added, and stay out of the penalty box. He said there is a lot of skill on the Admirals but they have to avoid taking penalties.

The Admirals are in Wallaceburg Wednesday night before returning home to battle Lakeshore Sunday night. They travel to Wheatley to battle the Sharks next Monday night.