Essex 73’s

Admirals gearing up for 2017-18 PJHL season

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

There will be some familiar faces returning to the Amherstburg Integrity Admirals lineup this upcoming Jr. C season with some new faces also hoping to push the team over the top.

The Admirals played the Essex 73’s to a 1-1 tie Sunday night in the first pre-season games for both PJHL Stobbs Division clubs, with the Admirals having a weekend full of practices and scrimmages as the coaches and management take a closer look at who might be taking the ice for them when the regular season starts Sept. 17.

“Overall, I thought it was a good weekend,” said Admirals head coach/GM Paul Bortignon. “There were a lot of young guys trying to make an impact. I thought the guys did a good job.”

Amherstburg’s Zack Yott (11) tries a wrap-around on Essex goalie Ryan Polidori Sunday night.

Amherstburg’s Zack Yott (11) tries a wrap-around on Essex goalie Ryan Polidori Sunday night.

Bortignon said there are about four or five spots up for grabs on this years team and envisions “good competition” over the next two weeks before the roster is shaved to the 23 player limit in time for the Sept. 17 season opener against Petrolia at the Libro Centre.

Goaltending could be a strength this year as the Admirals have landed Ben Larder – a three-year starter from Tavistock – to their crease to join incumbent Catalin Morin.

“Up front, we do return a lot of veteran players,” said Bortignon. “We’ve got a lot of good depth up front.”

Amherstburg acquired forward Kadin Ritchie from Dresden over the off-season with Ritchie scoring 11 goals and six assists last season for the Jr. Kings.

“We’re definitely excited to have him, that’s for sure,” said Bortignon.

Ritchie played with the Wallaceburg Lakers during the 2015-16 season.

“Our defensive core is going to be a bit younger,” Bortignon added.

The Admirals are looking forward to the 2017-18 season, Bortignon stated. Last season ended when they lost in four straight games to the 73’s in the PJHL Stobbs Division semi-finals and the Admirals are putting that behind them.

“As a group, we’re excited to get going,” said Bortignon.

Josh Talerico (15, left) carries the puck in the corner during second period action.

Josh Talerico (15, left) carries the puck in the corner during second period action.

Co-owner/assistant coach Matt Fox said the team’s annual golf tournament is Sept. 10 at Sutton Creek Golf Club and people looking to sign up or those who want more information invited to contact Mary Ewer at mary_ewer@hotmail.com.

Fox agreed they are looking forward to the start of the regular season.

“We’re looking forward to another big year,” he said.

The second pre-season game is at the Libro Centre tonight (Wednesday) at 7 p.m. versus the Lakeshore Canadiens. There will also be a volunteer information session Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. prior to the game against Lakeshore. Co-owner Wes Ewer said they will go over roles the team is looking for and the benefits of helping us out. Season tickets will also be sold at the game from 6-7:30 p.m.

Amherstburg eliminated from PJHL Stobbs Division playoffs

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The season is over for the Integrity Amherstburg Admirals.

The local Jr. C hockey team lost in four straight games to the Essex 73’s in the PJHL Stobbs Division semi-final, with the fourth game being a 7-2 loss at the Libro Centre Sunday night.

The 73’s’ first five goals were all off of special teams, four powerplay goals and one shorthanded goal, before pulling away in the third with two even-strength goals.

The teams swapped powerplay goals in the first period with Eric Shaw scoring for Essex followed later in the period by Curtis Prymack for the Admirals, the latter being on a five-on-three powerplay.

Anthony Cristofaro scored on the powerplay in the second while William Stadder scored on a shorthanded breakaway to make it 3-1 Essex after 40 minutes but Amherstburg climbed back into it just 59 seconds into the third period on a Jordan Luciw goal.

Michael Vieira and Cristofaro scored powerplay goals to give Essex a 5-2 lead before Michael Ruttinger and Stadder scored two more goals for the 73’s to round out the scoring.

“Not the storybook ending we wanted,” admitted Admirals coach Paul Bortignon after the game.

The Admirals coaches and management looked at the season positively despite the disappointing loss in the semi-final.

“In a season with highs and lows, as a staff we are proud of the effort our guys brought forth,” said Bortignon.

Bortignon said they were within one goal in the third period Sunday night but things started to come apart after the fourth Essex goals. He said the Admirals still battled hard until the end, despite the final score.

The Admirals have accomplished a lot the last few years, he added, including back-to-back trips to the finals with Kasey Basile, Luke Gangnon, Luciw and Prymack being part of that. All four players have played their last Jr. C game as they were the overage players this season.

Ryan Alexander gets a scoring chance on Essex goalie Tyler Ryan during Feb. 26 action at the Libro Centre. The Admirals kept it close for just over two periods but Essex pulled away midway through the third period to win Game 4 7-2 and the series four games to none.

Ryan Alexander gets a scoring chance on Essex goalie Tyler Ryan during Feb. 26 action at the Libro Centre. The Admirals kept it close for just over two periods but Essex pulled away midway through the third period to win Game 4 7-2 and the series four games to none.

“We are obviously disappointed and not satisfied but we are proud of what we accomplished this year and proud of the players for sure,” said Bortignon.

The staff will take some time to regroup and look to “reload” for the 2017-18 hockey season. They will look for impact players in the off-season and fill the voids from the players that won’t return from this season.

The team thanks the fans and the town for its support this past season and vow to get back to the finals and beyond as soon as possible.

“They have our commitment. We’ll work harder than ever to get back to where we are used to,” said general manager/co-owner Wes Ewer.

Essex outshot Amherstburg 29-20 in Game 4.

The 73’s built a three games to none advantage in the best-of-seven series thanks to a 7-5 win Feb. 21 at the Essex Centre Sports Complex.

The series’ third game went back-and-forth with Amherstburg having the lead on a couple of occasions, including taking a 5-4 lead into the second intermission. Essex scored three times in the third period to propel themselves to the win.

The game started on the right note for the Admirals thanks to Ryan Holzel scoring at the 8:59 mark of the period but Michael Ruttinger tied it for Essex less than a minute later.

The Admirals got the lead back just 11 seconds after Ruttinger’s goal thanks to a tally from Cory Burns but Essex would score twice more before the period was out with Matthew Rosati and Michael Vieiera scoring for the 73’s.

The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals celebrate Curtis Prymack's first period powerplay goal Sunday night. The Admirals lost 7-2 in Sunday's Game 4 and the series in four straight games.

The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals celebrate Curtis Prymack’s first period powerplay goal Sunday night. The Admirals lost 7-2 in Sunday’s Game 4 and the series in four straight games.

Amherstburg controlled the second period, outscoring the 73’s 3-1 in the period. Luke Gangnon scored at 2:22 and 19:22 with Jordan Luciw scoring in between for the Admirals. Dalton Langlois had the Essex goal in the period.

The 73’s got a pair of powerplay goals early in the third period to re-take the lead with Eric Shaw and Adam Gaiarin scoring. William Stadder scored the 73’s’ seventh goal with just 3:11 left in the game to give Essex and insurance marker.

Both starting goalies were pulled in the high-scoring game with Jax Dhont relieving starter Tyler Ryan in the Essex net in the first period while Matt Badour took over from Catalin Morin in the Amherstburg net in the second period.

The Admirals outshot the 73’s 38-34 in Game 3 but Essex was 3-for-9 on the powerplay as opposed to the Admirals going 0-for-4. There were nine slashing penalties on the night between the two teams.

Essex now awaits the winner of the Lakeshore-Blenheim series.

Admirals lose close games versus Essex to open semi-final series

By Ron Giofu

 

A familiar rivalry has been renewed in the PJHL Stobbs Division playoffs with Amherstburg’s Jr. C team looking to reverse the momentum after the series’ first two games.

The Admirals lost the first two games of the best-of-seven semi-final series with the Essex 73’s and are looking to climb back into the series. Game 3 of the series was Tuesday night after this issue of the River Town Times went to press. Follow www.rivertowntimes.com for results of that game.

 

Amherstburg’s Cory Burns (18) brings the puck into the Essex zone during Game 1 action last Friday night. Burns had a goal in each of the first two games of the best-of-seven series.

Amherstburg’s Cory Burns (18) brings the puck into the Essex zone during Game 1 action last Friday night. Burns had a goal in each of the first two games of the best-of-seven series.

GAME 1

The series started with a back-and-forth game at the Essex Centre Sports Complex Friday night, won by the host 73’s 4-3 in overtime.

Luke Gecse scored the first and last goals of the game, the latter being the game-winning goal for Essex 11:51 into overtime.

No team had more than a one-goal lead with the Admirals having leads of 2-1 and 3-2 in the second and third periods.

After Gecse scored 6:40 into the game, Mark Gangnon tied it for Amherstburg at the 15:42 mark of the first period.

Amherstburg took the lead with a powerplay goal at the 16:16 mark of the second when Curtis Prymack blasted home a shot from the blue line but Essex tied the game at two with under a minute left in the middle frame thanks to a powerplay goal from Tyler Scott.

Cory Burns put the Admirals back in front with a goal 10:38 into the third period but an Adam Gaiarin shot bounced off some legs in front of the net and eluded Admirals’ goalie Catalin Morin with just 3:04 left in regulation time and sent the game into the extra period.

Despite the loss, Admirals coach Paul Bortignon was satisfied with how his team played.

“I think we were with them shot for shot,” said Bortignon.

Bortignon said the Admirals had their chances in overtime but it wasn’t meant to be in Game 1.

“It’s only one game,” he said. “We’ve just got to bounce back and be ready to go (for Game 2). I think when we look at the game, we’ve got to be happy with how we played.”

Bortignon said they were missing two regulars up front and also said Morin played well in what was his biggest Jr. C game to-date.

 

GAME 2

The 73’s built a 2-0 lead after one period and managed to hang on to knock off the Admirals 3-2 Sunday night at the Libro Centre.

Anthony Cristofaro and Eric Shaw gave Essex the lead in the first period but Amherstburg rallied in the second period, outscoring the 73’s 2-1 in the middle frame. Cory Burns made it a 2-1 game with Sylvano Valente’s goal giving Essex a 3-1 lead.

Amherstburg’s Jordan Luciw (9, right) pulls away from Essex defenseman Adam Gaiarin (4) during the first period of Game 2 Sunday night at the Libro Centre. Essex won that game 3-2.

Amherstburg’s Jordan Luciw (9, right) pulls away from Essex defenseman Adam Gaiarin (4) during the first period of Game 2 Sunday night at the Libro Centre. Essex won that game 3-2.

Luke Gangnon scored with just over five seconds left in the second period to cut the Admirals’ deficit to 3-2 but Amherstburg couldn’t get the equalizer in the third period.

Essex outshot Amherstburg 25-22.

Bortignon said they believed coming into the series every game would be one-goal.

“I think we did a good job against them defensively,” said Bortignon, noting they limited the 73’s to under 30 shots.”

The Admirals played well but there is room for improvement. The 73’s got their point shots through, which included their first and third goals, while the Admirals’ shots from the point were blocked.

“(Essex) executed a bit better,” said Bortignon.

Special teams also played a role, with the 73’s getting the lone powerplay goal on the night, scored by Cristofaro.

Bortignon said the Admirals are still confident and that they still believe they are capable of winning. Being down 2-0 after Sunday’s game was some “uncharted waters,” he said, noting the last two semi-final series over the previous two years saw the series be tied 1-1.

“At the end of the day, it is what it is,” said Bortignon.

The Admirals thanked the fans for a strong turnout and those seeking Game 4 tickets this Sunday can reserve them at info@amherstburgadmirals.com.

Admirals-73’s semi-final series schedule announced

 

The schedule has been announced for the PJHL Stobbs Division semi-final series between the Amherstburg Admirals and the Essex 73’s.

Essex, due to finishing second place in the standings, will have home ice advantage during the series. The Admirals finished in third place during the season.

The schedule is as follows:

GAME 1 — Friday, February 17 — at Essex

GAME 2 — Sunday, Feburary 19 — at Amherstburg

GAME 3 — Tuesday, February 21 — at Essex

GAME 4 — Sunday, February 26 — at Amherstburg

*GAME 5 — Tuesday, February 28 — at Essex

*GAME 6 — Thursday, March 2 — at Amherstburg

*GAME 7 — Friday, March 3 — at Essex

(*if necessary)

All games start at 7 p.m.

Essex won four of the five games the two teams played during the 2016-17 PJHL Stobbs Division regular season

Admirals enter playoffs on two-game losing streak

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals will enter the PJHL Stobbs Division playoffs on a losing streak after losing to the division’s top two teams last week.

The first-place Lakeshore Canadiens came into the Libro Centre Sunday night and handed the Admirals a 6-2 defeat. Amherstburg got off to a good start with Luke Gangnon scoring 3:24 into the game but Lakeshore would score the next four before the period was out, including J.J. Percy’s goal just 15 seconds after Gangnon’s goal.

Connor Rosaasen scored two and Colin Sartor had the other in the first period.

Admirals players celebrate Dylan Muzzatti’s (15) tying goal with just 1:18 to play in the third period Jan. 24 at the Essex Centre Sports Complex. However, the 73’s would get a goal with just 16.3 seconds to play in regulation time to edge the Admirals 3-2.

Admirals players celebrate Dylan Muzzatti’s (15) tying goal with just 1:18 to play in the third period Jan. 24 at the Essex Centre Sports Complex. However, the 73’s would get a goal with just 16.3 seconds to play in regulation time to edge the Admirals 3-2.

The remainder of the goals were scored in the second period with the two teams playing a scoreless third period. Kasey Basile scored just nine seconds into the second period to cut the Lakeshore lead to 4-2 but Nick Tavolieri-Essex and Ameen Fadel scored for the Canadiens in the middle frame.

Amherstburg outshot Lakeshore 31-27 on the night.

The Admirals dropped a heartbreaking 3-2 decision last Tuesday night in Essex with a goal late in the game sinking Amherstburg’s hopes for a win.

The two arch rivals battled back-and-forth with the Admirals striking first thanks to a two-on-one. Luke Gangnon converted on an Austin Jennings pass to make it 1-0 13:29 into the first period.

Essex controlled much of the play in the second, outshooting the Admirals 14-3 and scoring the period’s only two goals. Michael Vieira scored at the 7:25 mark with Eric Shaw putting the 73’s in front with a goal with two minutes left in the period.

Amherstburg’s Lucas Bersuk (17, left) hits Essex forward Anthony Cristofaro (right) during second period action last Tuesday. Bersuk received a roughing penalty on the play.

Amherstburg’s Lucas Bersuk (17, left) hits Essex forward Anthony Cristofaro (right) during second period action last Tuesday. Bersuk received a roughing penalty on the play.

Amherstburg looked as if they were going to take the game into overtime when Dylan Muzzatti’s powerplay goal with just 1:18 left in the third period tied the score at two goals apiece.

However, William Stadder scored for the 73’s with just 16.3 seconds remaining in the third period when his shot went through traffic and found the top corner behind Amherstburg goalie Matt Badour.

Badour stopped 34 of 37 shots in the game, his first against his former team. Amherstburg managed 18 shots in the game.

Amherstburg finished the regular season with a 26-14 record, good for 52 points and third place in the division. They are headed for a first-round best-of-seven playoff match-up with the Wheatley Sharks with the first game being Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Libro Centre.

Admirals captain Curtis Prymack battles with 73’s forward Michael Vieira Jan. 24.

Admirals captain Curtis Prymack battles with 73’s forward Michael Vieira Jan. 24.

Games 2 and 3 will be in Wheatley next Monday (Feb. 6) and next Wednesday (Feb. 8) with Game 4 scheduled for Amherstburg Feb. 9 at 7 p.m.. Game 5, if necessary, will also be in Amherstburg Feb.12 at 7 p.m.

If necessary, Game 6 will be in Wheatley Feb. 13 with Game 7 being scheduled for Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m. in Amherstburg.

Amherstburg won three of the four games they played against Wheatley during the regular season.