Catalin Morin

Admirals win seventh straight game, 12th out of last 13



By Ron Giofu


The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals closed out the 2017 portion of their schedule with their seventh straight victory and 12th win out of their last 13 games.

The Admirals downed the last place Wallaceburg Lakers 4-1 Friday night at the Libro Centre thanks to two goals from Cory Burns and single goals from Dylan Muzzatti and Ryan Alexander. The win put them in first place in the PJHL’s Stobbs Division with a 20-8-2-2 record, good for 44 points.

Goalie Catalin Morin recorded his first win in about three months and made 17 saves. Wallaceburg got its goal from Ryan Nicholson in the final minute of the game to break the shutout.

They were one point up on both the Lakeshore Canadiens and Essex 73’s after that game, though the 73’s had a chance to regain first place Tuesday night, after this issue of the River Town Times went to press.

Amherstburg forward Zack Yott (17, dark jersey) gets a scoring chance on Wallaceburg goalie Patrick Timpany during the first period of last Friday night’s game at the Libro Centre. The Admirals won the Jr. C hockey game 4-1.

“Who would have thought we’d finish (2017) in first place with the way we played at the start of the season?” asked Admirals head coach/GM Paul Bortignon. “That’s obviously pretty important for this group.”

Bortignon said that should give the Admirals momentum as they look to finish the 2017-18 season strong. The 40-game regular season concludes at the end of January.

“We’ve had a great run and we’re going to focus on coming together and getting even better in 2018,” said Bortignon.

While acknowledging Wallaceburg’s struggles this season, Bortignon said the fact the Lakers picked up a 2-0 win last Wednesday night against Lakeshore was enough of a wake-up call for the Admirals not to let their guard down.

“That’s all we needed to get ready for this one,” he said. “Obviously, (Wallaceburg) isn’t up in the standings like other teams but a win is always good in this league.”

Bortignon said they were shorthanded three times in the third period and said they don’t want to pick up bad habits going forward, but was happy with the defensive effort and the Lakers’ low shot total.

The Admirals also played last Wednesday, a 3-2 win over the visiting Dresden Jr. Kings. After Dresden opened the scoring on a Will Tetzlaff goal, Travis Campbell, Michael Hatch and Josh Talerico scored before the first period was over to give Amherstburg a 3-1 lead. Cory Lucier cut it to 3-2 just 35 seconds into the second period but the teams were scoreless after that.

Ben Larder made 33 saves on the night for the Admirals.

“We got the win but it was not the best of efforts,” Bortignon said after Wednesday night’s game. “It was sloppy at both ends.”

Broden Meloche (71) of the Admirals drives to the net during the third period of last Wednesday night’s 3-2 win over the Dresden Jr. Kings at the Libro Centre. Also pictured is Dresden’s Cory Lucier.

The Admirals had two big penalty kills in the game’s final ten minutes, said Bortignon, and managed to shake off some rust that had accumulated over the Christmas break.

“You don’t want to make excuses, but it showed,” said Bortignon, of the layoff.

He added: “That’s one game where the guys kept fighting and fighting and they fought for the win and the two points.”

The Admirals battle the Canadiens in Lakeshore Friday night and the 73’s come to the Libro Centre Sunday night. Both games start at 7 p.m.

Admirals defeat Essex, lose to Wheatley



By Ron Giofu


The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals split the first two games of their four-game road trip over the past week.

The Admirals’ most recent game was Monday night where they were defeated 4-1 by the Wheatley Sharks.

After the teams played to a scoreless first period, the Admirals hit the scoreboard first thanks to a goal from Josh Talerico just over a minute into the second period. Justin Pinsonneault scored a powerplay goal for Wheatley with just under four minutes remaining in the middle frame to send it to the third period tied at one.

The Sharks sent their fans home happy with three goals in the third period, all unassisted. Carter Mastronardi, Parker Boyle and Ryan Zsebok scored for Wheatley, giving them the victory.

Catalin Morin stopped 27 of 31 shots in the Amherstburg net Monday night.

Amherstburg goalie Ben Larder makes a first period save last Tuesday night. The Admirals defeated the Essex 73’s 3-2.

The Admirals started the week last Tuesday night (Oct. 3) in Essex, where they snapped a streak of five games without a win by downing the 73’s 3-2.

Essex’s William Stadder scored a powerplay goal in the first period but Ryan Alexander tied it for Amherstburg in the second period. Brett Smith scored another powerplay goal for the 73’s early in the third period but Talerico and Bryce McGregor scored within a four-minute span of each other midway through the final frame to give the Admirals the victory.

Ben Larder stopped 27 of 29 shots for Amherstburg.

“I think they stayed composed,” Admirals coach/GM Paul Bortignon said after the game.

Bortignon acknowledged they had a “rough go” heading into the game, noting a 5-2 loss to the Dresden Kings Sept. 29 but said they played better against Lakeshore Oct. 1 and that continued in Essex.

“I think we could have fallen apart in the third after the 2-1 goal,” said Bortignon. “Larder was fantastic again tonight.”

Admirals’ captain Dylan Muzzatti carries the puck through the neutral zone during Amherstburg’s 3-2 win in Essex last Tuesday night.

A number of other players also played well, with Bortignon adding they played with ten forwards against Essex.

“That’s a testament to the guys in the room,” he said. “We found a way to get the two points here tonight.”

Amherstburg (2-4-1-1, six points) concludes their four-game road trip this week before returning home to the Libro Centre Sunday night. The Admirals are in Petrolia Thursday and Dresden Friday for a pair of 7:30 p.m. games before welcoming the Kings to Amherstburg Sunday for a 7 p.m. game.

Admirals lose in Lakeshore, rout Mooretown


By Ron Giofu

It was a weekend of mixed results for the Integrity Amherstburg Admirals with the positive of the two results coming Sunday night.

The Admirals (3-4, six points) blanked the Mooretown Flags 7-0 at the Libro Centre Sunday night in a game that the home team took control of early. Captain Curtis Prymack scored on the Admirals’ first shot just 19 seconds into the game and had another goal in the first period as part of Amherstburg’s 4-0 advantage after the first 20 minutes. The four goals in ten shots chased Mooretown starting goalie Nolan Hakr, who was replaced in the second and third periods by Jake Wilkins.

Mooretown goalie Nolan Hakr skates away as members of the Integrity Amherstburg Admirals celebrate a first period goal. Amherstburg won the game 7-0 Oct. 9.

Mooretown goalie Nolan Hakr skates away as members of the Integrity Amherstburg Admirals celebrate a first period goal. Amherstburg won the game 7-0 Oct. 9.

Austin Jennings and Travis Campbell also had first period goals for the Admirals. Lucas Bersuk and Zack Yott scored in the second period for Amherstburg while Caleb Paquette scored early in the third period to round out the scoring.

Catalin Morin stopped all 20 shots he faced for his first Jr. C shutout.

“It feels great. It’s always nice to get the first one under your belt,” said Morin.

Morin was quick to credit his teammates for their help.

“It was a team shutout for sure,” he said. “My teammates cleared rebounds out in front of me when they had the opportunity. Huge thanks to them.”

The Admirals quickly recovered from an 8-4 loss in Lakeshore Saturday night.

“We came hard out of the gate it was a nice bounce-back game after last night,” Morin stated.

The Admirals and Canadiens were actually tied 4-4 early in the second period when Kasey Basile scored for Amherstburg 2:21 into the final period. Other Amherstburg goals were scored by Campbell, Yott and Ryan Holzel.

Amherstburg's Mitch Holden (21) gets a scoring chance in front of Mooretown goalie Jake Wilkins during the second period of the Admirals' 7-0 victory Oct. 9 at the Libro Centre.

Amherstburg’s Mitch Holden (21) gets a scoring chance in front of Mooretown goalie Jake Wilkins during the second period of the Admirals’ 7-0 victory Oct. 9 at the Libro Centre.

Lakeshore got two goals each from Connor Rosaasen and Jake Nimmo with one goal each from Ameen Fadel, Steven Sartor, Brandon Ireland and Aaron Moore.

Amherstburg head coach Paul Bortignon called it a “Jekyll and Hyde” weekend. He said a number of mental breakdowns cost them Saturday night in Lakeshore but was pleased with Sunday night’s effort on home ice against Mooretown.

“Our commitment to defense was big for us,” said Bortignon after Sunday night’s win.

The Admirals put Saturday night’s loss behind them and came out with a fresh outlook Sunday night, Bortignon added, and “it turned out to be one of our best efforts.”

There still hasn’t been a winning streak this season for the Admirals and Bortignon said they are looking to build on Sunday night’s victory. They play three games in four nights starting Thursday night in Petrolia.

“I think, for us, Thursday night is a must win,” said Bortignon.

Bortignon pointed out Morin’s performance with Yott scoring in back-to-back games for the Admirals. He said Yott is “one of the better rookies in the league thus far.”

Thursday night’s game in Petrolia starts at 7:30 p.m., as does Saturday night’s rematch with the Flags in Mooretown. The Admirals return to the Libro Centre Sunday night for a 7 p.m. game with the Dresden Jr. Kings.

Admirals need OT to win first game of season



By Ron Giofu


One game, one win for the Integrity Amherstburg Admirals but they needed overtime to do it.

Michael Hatch scored 13 seconds into overtime Sunday night to give the Admirals a 2-1 victory over the visiting Mooretown Flags. Mooretown opened the scoring in the first period thanks to a Ryan Lyle goal with Caleb Paquette tying the game for the Admirals at the 2:42 mark of the second period. The teams played a scoreless third period to send the game into the extra session.

“Obviously two points is the way we wanted to start the season,” said Amherstburg head coach Paul Bortignon. “It’s a good starting point. We don’t want to be chasing points later in the year.”

The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals celebrate their first victory of the season Sunday night at the Libro Centre. Michael Hatch’s goal 13 seconds into overtime gave the Admirals a 2-1 win over the Mooretown Flags.

The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals celebrate their first victory of the season Sunday night at the Libro Centre. Michael Hatch’s goal 13 seconds into overtime gave the Admirals a 2-1 win over the Mooretown Flags.

Bortignon called starting goalie Catalin Morin the best player on the ice, stating the young goalie handled himself well in his first Jr. C assignment. Morin stopped 29 of 30 Mooretown shots.

“He did a phenomenal job. He made some great saves, handled the puck pretty well and communicated well on the back end,” said Bortignon.

The team is also awaiting word on another goalie as the Admirals are hoping to clear up Connor O’Reilly’s eligibility issues and add him to the roster.

“We’re doing what we need to do to get him added to our roster,” said general manager Wes Ewer.

Bortignon said the Admirals expected Mooretown to come out and work hard.

“You know they are going to work hard for 60 minutes,” he said.

Amherstburg’s Dylan Muzzatti gets a second period scoring chance on Mooretown goalie Nolan Hakr Sunday night.

Amherstburg’s Dylan Muzzatti gets a second period scoring chance on Mooretown goalie Nolan Hakr Sunday night.

The Admirals’ energy picked up in the second and third periods, he added, and they got more pucks to the net. Defensive zone communication has to get better, Bortignon pointed out, but he said they are happy to get the two points. Winning games like that also show the character of the Admirals’ lineup.

“For a first game, I can live with it,” said Bortignon.

The Admirals have two big games this weekend, with Blenheim coming to the Libro Centre Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Essex the next night at 7 p.m. Bortignon believes Blenheim will be looking for revenge after the Admirals ousted them from the playoffs the last two years while Essex is always a playoff-type atmosphere whenever the two teams play.