boys hockey

Bulldogs rally to salvage tie with Kingsville



By Ron Giofu


In a game that was similar to their previous one against Essex, the General Amherst Bulldogs boys hockey team rallied to salvage a 3-3 tie against Kingsville.

The Bulldogs and Cavaliers battled at the Libro Centre just before the Christmas break began and the visitors broke out to a 3-0 lead midway through the second period. The third Kingsville goal seemed to awaken the Bulldogs, as they quickly responded with two goals on the same shift. Max Clifford and Josh DiCarlo made it a 3-2 game before the intermission.

Isaac Hammond tied the game in the third period and that is how it ended.

“It seems to be our M.O. lately,” said General Amherst head coach Pat Garrett, of coming from behind to tie games. “We certainly don’t want to make a habit of that.”

General Amherst’s Isaac Hammond (left) drives to the net in the boys hockey team recent game against the Kingsville Cavaliers. The game ended in a 3-3 tie.

Garrett pointed out it was their fifth game in two days, as they advanced to the semi-finals of a tournament that week as well.

“Kingsville was missing a few players,” Garrett added. “We may have taken them too lightly. It’s nice to be able to pull out the tie.”

Garrett said the tie puts the Bulldogs in sole possession of second place in their division, the WECSSAA “AA” Cullen Conference. General Amherst is 3-1-2 on the season at the break, good for eight points. L’Essor and Essex each have nine points but General Amherst has a game in hand on both teams.

General Amherst’s Josh DiCarlo scores a second period goal against Kingsville Dec. 21. The Bulldogs overcame a 3-0 deficit and tied Kingsville 3-3.

Parts of the Bulldogs’ game that Garrett wants to improve include offensive zone pressure, as he stated that much of their offense comes from the perimeter and not in front of the net. He also wants to improve the powerplay.

“Josh and Max are carrying the load offensively,” said Garrett. “We’ve got some other pretty good players that have got to start hitting the back of the net.”

The Bulldogs resume WECSSAA action with a game at the Vollmer Centre in LaSalle Jan. 9 versus the Sandwich Sabres. The following game is not until Jan. 16 when the Belle River Nobles come to the Libro Centre for a 3 p.m. game.

Bulldogs pick up two wins and a tie in recent WECSSAA boys hockey action


By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Bulldogs boys hockey team’s last three games have been on the road and they have picked up points in all of them.

The most recent game was last Wednesday afternoon, a 4-4 tie in Essex. General Amherst head coach Pat Garrett said they were down 4-0 after two periods but made the necessary adjustments during the second intermission.

Not only did the Bulldogs kill off an early penalty in the third period, Garrett said Josh DiCarlo went end-to-end to score a shorthanded goal to make it 4-1. Brandon Salvati and Nick Bozin added goals in short order to make it a 4-3 game with Garrett stating DiCarlo tipped in a shot just 30 seconds before the curfew buzzer sounded to give Amherst a point.

The previous game was Dec. 7 and it was a 3-1 win over the defending WECSSAA champion Belle River Nobles at the Atlas Tube Centre. Max Clifford, Brock Beaudoin and Russ Morencie each scored for General Amherst in the win.

“We killed off three 5-on-3’s,” said Garrett, who added the third 5-on-3 was actually a 6-on-3 as Belle River pulled their goalie late in the game.

Garrett said DiCarlo, Beaudoin and Clifford all had strong games while Will Bratt “played phenomenal” in goal.

“It was one of those games where it was a great all-around effort,” said Garrett. “We were good defensively, good offensively and we got good goaltending.”

The Bulldogs got a lot of other scoring opportunities as well, he added.

“It’s always nice to beat them in their barn,” said Garrett.

The other game over the last two weeks was a Dec. 6 game against the Brennan Cardinals. The Bulldogs won 5-1 with Isaac Hammond, Clifford, Nate Lenson, DiCarlo and Salvati scoring goals.

The Bulldogs are 3-1-1 thus far on the 2017-18 WECSSAA Tier 1 boys hockey season. They host Kingsville this Thursday at 3 p.m. in their final league game before the Christmas break.

The Bulldogs will also square off against the Amherstburg Police Service Friday from 12-2 p.m. at the Libro Centre in a charity game for Special Olympics. Admission is a $2 donation.

Bulldogs start WECSSAA boys hockey season with win and loss



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Bulldogs boys hockey team has started the 2017-18 WECSSAA season with a 1-1 record.

The Bulldogs opened the season last Tuesday afternoon on the road with a 4-2 win over L’Essor. The game, played at Tecumseh Arena, saw Brock Beaudoin lead the way for General Amherst with two goals. Josh DiCarlo and Max Clifford each had two goals.

The home opener for the Bulldogs was two days later but it was the Sandwich Sabres who left the Libro Centre Thursday with a 4-3 win. The Bulldogs led 3-1 after two periods on goals from Brandon Salvati, Nate Lenson and Colle Zelle but Sandwich scored three goals in quick succession in the third period for the come-from-behind victory.

Amherst head coach Pat Garrett said the Bulldogs were a bit “flatfooted” in the third period against Sandwich but otherwise was happy with the start of the season.

“I’m excited about the start of the year and the rest of the year for that matter,” Garrett said after Thursday’s game. “I think we’ll be right in the mix. That’s a good group of kids (in the Bulldogs’ dressing room).”

General Amherst’s Isaac Hammond (right) skates past Sandwich’s Connor Fabel last Thursday afternoon at the Libro Centre. Sandwich picked up a 4-3 come-from-behind victory.

Garrett said they were missing DiCarlo against the Sabres but didn’t use that as an excuse. He said the loss and how the loss happened can be used in the Bulldogs’ favour going forward.

“It’s something we can learn from and move on,” he said.

The team saw key members of its defense corps from last year graduate while two other players moved on as well. Despite those losses, a number of players have returned and Garrett said “it goes to show you the depth we had.”

General Amherst’s Nick Bozin brings the puck into the Sandwich zone during the third period of the Nov. 30 game at the Libro Centre in Amherstburg.

The Bulldogs have three scoring lines, Garrett added, and six mature defenseman with a Grade 10 blueliner also showing he can play well. Garrett said he never feels nervous about who he puts out over the boards.

“That’s a huge bonus for us,” he said.

The Bulldogs are on the road twice this week. They play Brennan today (Wednesday) at the WFCU Centre before going to the Atlas Tube Centre in Lakeshore to battle the Belle River Nobles. General Amherst’s next home game is Dec. 21 at 3 p.m. versus the Kingsville Cavaliers.

Bulldogs lose in WECSSAA finals in three games



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Bulldogs pushed the Belle River Nobles to the limit in the WECSSAA “AA” boys hockey final but could get no further.

The third and deciding game was played Monday afternoon at the Atlas Tube Centre in Lakeshore with the Nobles winning the best-of-three series and the championship with a 4-0 victory.

General Amherst’s Max Clifford flips the puck into the Belle River zone during the third and deciding game of the WECSSAA Tier 1 hockey final Monday afternoon at the Atlas Tube Centre in Lakeshore. Belle River won the game 4-0 to win the title.

General Amherst’s Max Clifford flips the puck into the Belle River zone during the third and deciding game of the WECSSAA Tier 1 hockey final Monday afternoon at the Atlas Tube Centre in Lakeshore. Belle River won the game 4-0 to win the title.

“It was a good hockey game for two periods,” said Bulldogs’ head coach Pat Garrett.

A shorthanded goal that made it 2-0 for Belle River seemed to take the Bulldogs off their game for a bit but the wheels came off for the Bulldogs in the third period. Garrett said they tried sneaking a player behind the Nobles’ defense to generate some offense but that led to two-on-ones the other way, which proved costly.

“For lack of a better term, it got away from us,” he said, referring to the third period.

Garrett, who coached the team this season with Joe Shaw, said they were proud of the players and the effort they put forth.

“The tough part about championship games is someone has got to win and someone has got to lose,” he said.

Ethan Hamelin had a “phenomenal” game Monday afternoon with Garrett adding that Reid Stieler, Jacob Fields and Stefan Dobrich playing a ton of minutes on defense.

The two teams had split games last week to send the game to the deciding third game with Belle River winning last Tuesday 2-0 on their home ice and the Bulldogs tying the series with a 5-4 overtime win at the Libro Centre last Thursday afternoon. Hamelin scored the overtime winner last Thursday with Josh DiCarlo adding two goals and Dobrich and Nathan Lenson adding singles.

General Amherst celebrates Ethan Hamelin’s overtime goal last Thursday at the Libro Centre. The 5-4 win forced Monday’s Game 3.

General Amherst celebrates Ethan Hamelin’s overtime goal last Thursday at the Libro Centre. The 5-4 win forced Monday’s Game 3.

Garrett said goalie Will Bratt played well in that game. He added they had their chances in the first game but just couldn’t find a way to score despite outshooting the Nobles.

“We wanted to take it in regulation but any win is good,” Stieler said after the second game. “We’ve got to keep our energy for three periods. We finally proved we can take it to them.”

Garrett said Monday that they only lose one player to graduation and perhaps two or three more to junior hockey. The rest are eligible to return, leading him to believe the future is bright for the Bulldogs.

“That’s a good core of kids in there,” he said Monday, gesturing towards the Amherst dressing room. “I enjoyed coming to the rink and coaching them.”
Despite a 3-6-3 record in the regular season, Garrett stood by his belief they were better than that and noted they played without key players particularly early in the season. He said they had a good run when they got to the playoffs.

“It was a fun ride,” Garrett concluded.


Bulldogs advance to WECSSAA final by sweeping Kingsville



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Bulldogs have gone to a level that seemed improbable a few weeks ago.

The boys hockey team, who finished the regular season 3-6-3, are back in the WECSSAA AA finals after stunning the Kingsville Cavaliers in two straight games last week.

The second and final game of the series was Thursday afternoon at the Libro Centre, a 7-6 General Amherst victory.

Brock Beaudoin led the way with three goals while teammate Max Clifford scored twice. Cole Zelle and Brandon Salvati had the other goals.

General Amherst actually trailed Game 2 4-2 late in the second period but would score two before the period was over and the first three goals of the third period to take a 7-4 lead. Kingsville rallied with two of their own before time ran out on them.

“Thirteen goals in a playoff game is pretty rare,” admitted Amherst head coach Pat Garrett.

Garrett said the players relied upon to score goals did so and was also pleased both goalies got a chance to play in the Kingsville series.

General Amherst’s Max Clifford (2, white jersey) gets a second period scoring chance last Thursday at the Libro Centre. Amherst won 7-6 to clinch the series with the Cavaliers and earn a berth in the WECSSAA AA boys hockey final.

General Amherst’s Max Clifford (2, white jersey) gets a second period scoring chance last Thursday at the Libro Centre. Amherst won 7-6 to clinch the series with the Cavaliers and earn a berth in the WECSSAA AA boys hockey final.

Last year’s WECSSAA champions now get to defend their title in the finals, something that didn’t always seem possible. Garrett said they entered the playoffs as the sixth seed and “to be in the finals is a testament to these guys.

“They got hot at the right time,” he added. “We got healthy at the right time.”

The finals will be tough, Garrett said, but he believes the Bulldogs can get the job done.

Beaudoin also had a hat trick in Game 1, a 6-2 General Amherst win. He said the Bulldogs were able to outplay the Cavaliers and get the puck deep.

Beaudoin added they are playing well now, scoring goals and doing so at the right time.

“At first I thought we weren’t going to go that far,” he admitted.

Also scoring for the Bulldogs in Game 1 were Clifford, Ethan Hamelin and Isaac Hammond.