Essex 73’s

Admirals down Mooretown at home, lose to Essex on the road


By Christian Bouchard and Ron Giofu

The Amherstburg Admirals have made it a mission to defend home ice this season.

After falling to the Essex 73’s Tuesday night in Essex, the Admirals responded with a 3-1 victory on home ice against the Mooretown Flags. The Admirals are now 7-1-0-1 at the Libro Centre.

After missing nearly the entire first half of the season due to a hand injury, the Admirals welcomed back veteran Travis Campbell to the lineup.

“I had a few setbacks but I’m thankful to be back,” said Campbell.

Cory Burns celebrates his second period goal against the Mooretown Flags during the Admirals 3-1 victory Sunday night.

The over-ager made an immediate impact by making big hits, including one that sent a Flags player over the boards and into the Mooretown bench.

The offense was once again led by Cory Burns who scored twice, including a powerplay goal. Burns now has an eight-game point streak which includes 12 goals and 18 points. Kyle Meloche would score the third goal for the Admirals on the penalty kill.

Ben Larder would get his ninth win of the season in net, extending his winning streak to nine in games he’s started this season. Larder is second in the league with a goal against average of 1.65.

“The guys in front of me played well,” said Larder. “Twenty shots against says a lot about our defense. They blocked shots and got pucks out quick. Shutting down Brock Perry and their top line was a key aspect to getting the win.”

Larder also noted the return of his fellow over-ager gave him and the team confidence heading into the game with Mooretown.

“We were pretty fired up that he was back,” added Larder. “He’s a big part of the team and it’s great to get him back in the lineup especially after being out for so long.”

The Admirals were in Essex last Tuesday night and dropped a 4-1 decision to the 73’s. Ty Moss scored the lone Amherstburg goal with just 54.8 seconds left in the third period.

Admirals goalie Jared Ratko faces a shot from Essex’s Josh Pope-Ferguson.

“I don’t think this was our best effort,” said head coach/GM Paul Bortignon.

Bortignon said he didn’t want to use playing four games in five nights as an excuse, but he said they weren’t as quick as they usually were and they had some players that were injured.

Jared Ratko played in goal in Essex and while he played well, Bortignon pointed out it was a case of not giving him any goal support.

“We really haven’t scored a lot of goals in front of him,” he said.

As of Sunday night, the Admirals are 12-5-0-2  with 26 points and are in fourth place in the Bill Stobbs division. If the season were to end today, the Admirals would secure home-ice advantage and face the Flags in a repeat of last year’s first-round matchup in the playoffs.

Admirals down 73’s on penalty shot in OT



By Christian Bouchard


The Amherstburg Admirals avenged their season opening loss to the Essex 73’s with a thrilling overtime win on Sunday.

Amherstburg got the scoring started as Dean Deluca scored in the dying minutes of the first period. Essex would score the next two goals before Austin Jennings would tie the game on the powerplay. Cory Burns would give the Admirals the lead in the third, but Josh Pope-Ferguson would score with 1:40 remaining in regulation to force overtime.

After getting tripped on a breakaway, Michael Hatch was awarded a penalty shot, which would be the game winning goal.

Essex goalie Jax Dhont breaks his stick in frustration as the Amherstburg Admirals celebrate Michael Hatch’s penalty shot goal in overtime to defeat the 73’s 4-3 in overtime Sunday night.

“We all knew it was a big game after losing to Essex in the season opener but when we had to step up, we rose to the challenge,” said Hatch.

A total of 18 penalties were called for 71 minutes. With 673 in attendance, Hatch said the game had a playoff atmosphere.

“The fans were around the glass cheering loud and penalties were getting called everywhere,” said Hatch. “The pace of the game just kept picking up as it progressed, and we were able to get a quality team win to win in overtime”.

With the win, the Admirals are now 9-3-0-1 on the season and 5-0-0-1 on home ice.

Caleb Paqutte takes a shot on Essex goalie Jax Dhont in the Admirals 4-3 victory in overtime Sunday night at the Libro Centre.

The Admirals are off until Nov. 3 when they visit the Mooretown Flags and the Dresden Jr. Kings on Nov. 9. The Admirals will return to home ice for a home-and-home series when they host the Blenheim Blades Saturday, Nov. 10 and the Lakeshore Canadiens Nov. 11.

“We’re on a roll right now. We just have to continue defending home ice and we’ll see what happens as we move forward in the season.”



Admirals begin 2018-19 season with 1-1 record



By Ron Giofu


The Amherstburg Admirals are 1-1 to start the 2018-19 PJHL Stobbs Division season.

The local Jr. C hockey team’s most recent game was a 5-2 victory Sunday night in Blenheim. The game was delayed due to a reported hydro loss in Blenheim but once it did, the powerplays for both teams showed they were powerful as the first four goals of the game were scored with the man-advantage.

Austin Jennings made it 2-0 for the Admirals with a goal in the first period and another goal in the second but the Blades tied it on goals by Connor Wright and Brodie Conlon. Ty Moss and Kyle Meloche restored Amherstburg’s two-goal lead before the second period was out.

Moss added his second of the game on a third period powerplay.

The Admirals began the season last Tuesday night with a 6-3 loss in Essex.

Amherstburg’s Christian McBride (white jersey, 27) crashes the net during last Tuesday’s game in Essex.

Bryce Ryan scored for Essex in the first period and it stayed that way until midway through the second when the 73’s expanded their lead to 2-0 on a goal by Dawson Winchester. Ty Moss scored his first Jr. C goal a little over two minutes after Winchester’s first goal of night, but Winchester would strike again shortly after Moss’ goal to give Essex a 3-1 lead.

The 73’s expanded their lead to 5-1 with a pair of goals early in the third period from Curtis Jackson and Quinn Fazekas, the latter on a powerplay, but the Admirals did not quit and scored two of their own as Cory Burns and Caleb Paquette made it a 5-3 game. Paquette’s goal came while the Admirals had a man-advantage of their own.

However, Michael Vieira’s shorthanded empty net goal with just over two minutes left sealed the deal and was the final goal in Essex’s victory.

“Ultimately, they were a cleaner team when it came to the defensive zone,” said Admirals GM/head coach Paul Bortignon after the game against the 73’s. “(Essex goalie) Jax D’Hondt gave them stops when they needed them.”

Dean DeLuca (16) and Broden Meloche battle with Essex players in front of the 73’s goal/

Bortignon said they never want to get down 5-1 in a game but did like how his team responded when they did so in Essex. He said the last 11 minutes of that game was something to build on as they had scoring chances and “our best players were our best players.”

The Admirals’ goal remains to get better every game, he said, and that he was pleased with how the first-year players performed against the 73’s.

“From the standpoint of the first-year players, I thought we did well tonight,” he said. “That was good to see.”

The Admirals are in Mooretown Saturday night before hosting Dresden Sunday at 7 p.m.

Admirals drop two straight over the weekend



By Ron Giofu


The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals’ winning streak came to a stop on the weekend thanks to a pair of defeats to local rivals.

The Admirals (20-10-2-2, 44 points) had won seven straight heading into Friday night’s game in Lakeshore but lost a 6-4 decision to the Canadiens. Lakeshore jumped out to a 3-0 first period lead on goals by Kyle Brothers, Jarrett Tazzman and Matt Smith before Travis Campbell and Caleb Paquette got the Admirals on the scoreboard before the first period was out.

Caleb Paquette (6, white jersey) drives to the net during third period action Jan. 5 at the Atlas Tube Centre in Lakeshore. Lakeshore defeated Amherstburg 6-4.

In the second period, Kyler Carter expanded Lakeshore’s lead to 4-2 but Cory Burns’ powerplay goal brought the Admirals back to within a goal. Steven Sartor’s powerplay goal of his own gave Lakeshore a 5-3 lead but a third period goal by Austin Jennings of the Admirals made it a 5-4 game.

Tazzman’s empty net goal rounded out the scoring.

“We let our guard down a couple of times and that was it,” said Admirals GM/head coach Paul Bortignon. “You can’t do that against good teams.”
Bortignon believed the Admirals “showed a lot of character in the third” but it just wasn’t their night.

“Some nights you are going to get the calls and we didn’t get the calls,” he added.

There was a flu bug that hit the Admirals Friday night, Bortignon added, but he was proud of the way they competed that night. Two nights later, though, the Admirals had a game that Bortignon called “a wake-up call” as they were thumped 5-0 by the Essex 73’s at the Libro Centre.

“I just think we had no jump,” Bortignon said after Sunday night’s game. “Flat out, we didn’t have it tonight. We were chasing the puck all night. We were chasing them all night.”

The Admirals weren’t prepared to play while the 73’s were, he believed.

Admirals forward Travis Campbell (19) knocks Essex’s Luke Gecse to the ice during the first period of their Jan. 7 game at the Libro Centre. Campbell was assessed a penalty on the play. Essex won the game 5-0.

“We were beaten by the better team tonight,” he said. “They took advantage of all of our mistakes. The score was indicative of that. They dominated for two periods and coasted in the third.”

Riley Meyerink and Anthony Cristofaro had first period goals for the 73’s while William Stadder, Quinn Fazekas and Luke Gecse had third period goals for Essex.

Bortignon said the players have to put Sunday’s game behind them quickly while the staff has to watch the game again and point out their mistakes and correct them in this week’s practices.

Jared Ratko, the team’s new backup goalie, came on in relief in both games and Bortignon said his efforts were a bright spot on the weekend. Newcomer Dylan Kolic also debuted Sunday night against Essex after being signed recently.

“We’re excited to have them for the stretch run,” said Bortignon.

The Admirals – who are battling Essex, Lakeshore, Dresden and Mooretown in a tight battle for the top spots in the PJHL Stobbs Division – don’t play again until Saturday at 7:30 p.m. when they play the Flags in Mooretown. Their next home game is Sunday at 7 p.m. when the Petrolia Flyers come to the Libro Centre.

Admirals keep rolling with wins over Essex and Lakeshore



By Ron Giofu


The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals’ hot streak continues after a pair of big wins over the weekend.

The Admirals have now won ten out of their last 11 games after beating Lakeshore 6-3 Sunday night and Essex 3-2 Saturday night. The three Essex County-based teams are battling for first place in the PJHL’s Stobbs Division with the Admirals being able to join that mix due to their recent hot streak.

Caleb Paquette led the way for the Admirals Sunday versus Lakeshore, as he scored four of Amherstburg’s six goals.

Caleb Paquette scores one of his four goals Sunday night versus Lakeshore.

“I’ve honestly never scored four goals in a junior hockey game,” said Paquette. “Lakeshore is number one (in the division) so that definitely makes it feel special.”

Paquette said the rest of the team also feels good after picking up that win as well as the win over the 73’s the previous night. He pointed out that he felt good coming into Sunday night’s game with the Canadiens.

“I actually said to Cory Burns that I was going to score,” said Paquette.

The Admirals maintained a good work ethic during both games, he added, and kept the pressure on both the 73’s and Canadiens.

“They are very good teams but we worked harder and came up with the wins,” he said.

Paquette added the Admirals go into the Christmas break with some confidence and believes if they keep working hard, they can continue to play well when they resume their schedule Dec. 27.

Ryan Alexander and Burns also scored against Lakeshore.

Burns also scored a pair against Essex Saturday night, including the game winning goal with just 1:14 to play in the third period. The 73’s led 2-1 going into the third period but Amherstburg scored twice in the final 20 minutes to pull out the victory.

Paquette added the other goal against the 73’s. Ben Larder picked up the wins in goal in both weekend games.

“We talked about this weekend for a while,” said Admirals head coach/GM Paul Bortignon.

Bortignon said they talked about getting all four points if they worked for 60 minutes in both games, and that is what happened.

“Those two wins, those are on those guys,” he said of the players. “They were incredible from the goalie all the way out.”

Bortignon also used the word “incredible” to describe the play of the line of Burns, Paquette and Josh Talerico over the weekend. Their play is among the best Bortignon said they have seen in the current hockey staff’s four years with the team.

Cory Burns scores against Lakeshore Sunday night.

The Admirals knew they would have to get rolling to dig themselves out of an early season hole but the current hot streak is above even their expectations, he believed.

“It shows the character of our team,” said Bortignon.

The attitude of the team has changed, and that started with a 4-0 loss to Mooretown at home Nov. 12. They had a team meeting after that game and have played well since.

“The energy since that loss has been incredible,” said Bortignon.

The Admirals thanked the fans for their support over the weekend and wish the town a Merry Christmas. Their next two games are both at home as Dresden comes to town Dec. 27 and Wallaceburg is in Amherstburg Dec. 29. Both games are at 7 p.m.