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.

Sr. Bulldogs blanked in final game of regular season



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Bulldogs hung in there against Tecumseh Vista Academy but then the dam burst.

The winless Bulldogs were in Tecumseh last Thursday for WECSSAA Tier 2 senior football action and were matched up against not only an undefeated Vortex team, but a team that hadn’t allowed a point all season either. The end result didn’t change anything as Tecumseh Vista Academy blanked the Bulldogs 43-0.

The Bulldogs played well in the first half, including having a long first half drive that took a lot of time on the clock but didn’t result in any points. The game was scoreless until two minutes and 30 seconds was left on the clock in the half when the Vortex scored on a nine-yard touchdown run. They would add two more touchdowns before the first half was out, one on a 43-yard touchdown pass thrown by quarterback Dan Mailloux and the other on an 11-yard touchdown run by Mailloux. One of the converts was missed meaning Tecumseh Vista Academy had a 20-0 halftime lead.

Bulldogs’ running back Ethan Lavigne (14) tries to evade a pair of Tecumseh Vista Academy players during Oct. 26 game action.

Mailloux added a five-yard touchdown run and a one-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter to bring his team’s advantage to 34-0 after three quarters. Amherst conceded a safety in the fourth quarter to make it a 36-0 game with Mailloux connecting on a 20-yard touchdown pass in the game’s final moments to round out the scoring.

“I thought we came out extremely strong,” said General Amherst head coach John Rudak. “We moved the ball on offense and were good on defense.”

Rudak said they had a good opportunity to go into halftime only trailing 7-0 but “bad things happened” and the Vortex were able to get another two scores that half.

General Amherst quarterback Spencer Hawkins throws a pass despite a Vortex defender diving for his legs during Oct. 26 action. Tecumseh Vista Academy won 43-0.

“The floodgates opened up,” said Rudak.

Rudak praised the efforts of many of his graduating players, roughly nine in all, but added some members of this year’s senior football team didn’t show the commitment needed for the team to be successful.

“What caused us not to be successful is a lack of dedication from half of the team,” he said.

The senior Bulldogs had difficulty getting their entire team to practices this season and that showed in games. Rudak said junior players they called up “saved us” and was thankful the team made it through the six game season without having to fold.

“It was definitely very trying,” he said of the 2017 season.

Jr. Bulldogs lose heartbreaker to Catholic Central



By Ron Giofu


It was a game the General Amherst Bulldogs junior football team had a good shot at winning but a late touchdown by their opponents doomed them.

The Bulldogs lost 8-3 to the Catholic Central Comets last Tuesday afternoon at Centennial Park. Amherst carried a 3-0 lead into the fourth quarter but a 23-yard Catholic Central touchdown pass and subsequent two-point conversion gave the visitors the win.

Jacob Howson (9, right) looks for running room against Catholic Central Oct. 24.

It was the first win of the year for Catholic Central (1-4) while the Bulldogs dropped to 0-5.

The Comets looked to have opened the scoring in the first quarter thanks to a 77-yard touchdown run but it was called back on a penalty.

The second quarter saw a trio of General Amherst scoring opportunities. One drive stalled on the Catholic Central six-yard line, another resulted in a 26-yard field goal and the third saw the Bulldogs fumble on the Comets’ one-yard line right before the half.

Quarterback Emmitt Rosati (7) throws a pass Oct. 24 against Catholic Central. Rosati returned from injury to play in the game.

“It wasn’t the outcome we were looking for today,” admitted General Amherst head coach Dino Rosati. “We played tough. We hung in there. We had our chances but we just couldn’t take advantage of them.”

Rosati stated that the Bulldogs had five starters missing on offense, causing the coaches to have to use new running backs and wide receivers. Three more starters were injured on defense.

“It’s pretty disappointing,” he said after the game. “Even with all the backups, I still think we had a good chance to win the game.”

Head coach Dino Rosati (centre) talks to his players at halftime of last Tuesday’s game against Catholic Central at Centennial Park.

Quarterback Emmitt Rosati returned after missing last week with a sprained ankle but he was limited as well.

The coach did state that his players still made some good plays and they can use that to rebuild their confidence.

General Amherst’s final regular season game was Tuesday against Sandwich.

Sr. Bulldogs battle Riverside but come up short



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Bulldogs battled the Riverside Rebels for the second time this season and while it was a bit closer of a game, the result was the same.

The Bulldogs lost 38-6 last Thursday evening at the Libro Centre to fall to 0-5. Despite the score, the Bulldogs did play better than they did in the first game of the season, a 41-0 loss to the Rebels Sept. 14.

Riverside used big plays to build a lead, including an 80-yard punt return touchdown and a 76-yard run in the first half and that, plus a field goal, put the visitors up 17-0 at the half. Thanks to a 23-yard pass and a two-yard run, the Rebels went up 30-0 in the fourth quarter and followed that up with a single point on a kickoff to go up 31-0.

General Amherst’s Austin Hocevar (31) tries to get around a Riverside defender. Trying to create room for his teammate is Amherst’s Ethan Lavigne (14).

Brayden LeClerc provided a highlight for the Bulldogs, as he scored on a 75-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter but Riverside added another touchdown, this one on a 68-yard run, to round out the scoring.

General Amherst was able to move the ball at points, including a successful fake punt in the first half, but was unable to get to the end zone with the exception of the LeClerc touchdown.

“In the first half, I think we ran things a lot better,” said head coach John Rudak. “We were a lot more solid.”

With it being 17-0 at the half, Rudak said the Bulldogs believed the game was still in reach but their “bend but not break” defense allowed too many big plays.

“We have a lot of kids who haven’t played football (before this season) and are not football smart right now,” said Rudak. “It’s been difficult.”

With the Bulldogs set to face an undefeated Tecumseh Vista Academy team this Thursday afternoon in Tecumseh, Rudak wants all of his players to be ready and to come out to practice in preparation for the game. It will be the final regular season game for General Amherst.

Levi Reaume (gold jersey, #21) is tackled by a pair of Riverside defenders Oct. 19 at the Libro Centre. Riverside won 38-6.

“It’s about the team right now, not the individuals,” he said. “We have to be focused on the team. Our society seems to be based on what is good for me, at least with the youth it seems.”

Rudak even quoted Star Trek character Spock, in stating “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”

The team played the previous week in Wallaceburg for the “Bronze Boot” and while they lost, assistant coach Joel Charron said it was a good experience for the players.

“(Wallaceburg) was a big, beefy team,” said Charron. “I don’t think we came prepared.”