General Amherst Bulldogs

Bulldogs advance to WECSSAA “AA” boys hockey final



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Bulldogs boys hockey team has advanced to the WECSSAA “AA” finals.

The Bulldogs won the third and deciding game of their best-of-three semi-final series with the Essex Red Raiders thanks to a 5-1 victory Monday afternoon at the Libro Centre. The teams played a scoreless first period but second period goals from Cole Zelle, Isaac Hammond and Josh DiCarlo put the Bulldogs in command heading for the third. Max Clifford’s two third period goals sandwiched Essex’s only goal and put the game away for the Bulldogs.

“That’s more like it,” said General Amherst head coach Pat Garrett. “It’s nice to move on and be in the finals.”

General Amherst forward Brock Beaudoin attempts a wraparound during the first game of the best-of-three series vs. Essex. Amherst lost Game 1 3-2 but won the series with wins in Game 2 (2-1 in OT) and Game 3 (5-1).

The Bulldogs are one step closer to OFSAA, and Garrett said he would like the Bulldogs to advance to the provincial tournament especially for the younger players who haven’t already been there.

Zelle said it felt good to advance.

“After we lost the first game, we came in focused in the next game and we knew we could beat them,” said Zelle. “Today, once we got the first (goal), all the guys were rolling.”

The Bulldogs are playing with confidence and Zelle added “we’re ready for whoever comes next.”

Bulldogs advance to WECSSAA “AA” boys hockey final.

A third game was necessary thanks to a three-minute stretch of the third period in Game 1 last Wednesday in Amherstburg. After Lee Sinasac and DiCarlo gave the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead after two periods in that game, Essex scored twice in the first 40 seconds of the third period of that game and another just moments later to take the lead and eventually win 3-2.

“Everyone got back on their heels,” Garrett said. “I still think we had a lot of opportunities in the third. I think we outshot them.”

General Amherst tied the series last Thursday in Essex thanks to a 2-1 overtime win. DiCarlo scored 1:29 into overtime to give the Bulldogs the win with Hammond scoring the other goal.

“It feels good. We talked about getting to the finals all year,” DiCarlo said after Game 2. “We were prepared for the game. It helped a lot.”

DiCarlo said they played well defensively, limited Essex’s scoring chances and tightened up their game.

The Bulldogs will play the winner of the Belle River-L’Essor series, with Game 1 scheduled for Wednesday afternoon in Amherstburg.

Sr. Bulldogs spirits not dampened despite 0-10 basketball season



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Bulldogs senior boys basketball season didn’t finish the year with the record they wanted but still managed to enjoy the experience.

The Bulldogs dropped a 72-32 decision to the Essex Red Raiders last Tuesday night in a game played at General Amherst High School. The Bulldogs held a 9-8 lead at one point in the first quarter but Essex finished the quarter strong and led 22-9 after the first eight minutes.

The Red Raiders lead ballooned to 33-19 at the half before pulling away further in the second half en route to the victory.

The loss dropped the Bulldogs to 0-10 and out of the playoffs. Essex finished the regular season with a 7-3 record.

The 2017-18 General Amherst Bulldogs senior boys basketball team concluded their season with a loss to the Essex Red Raiders last Tuesday night. The Bulldogs finished the season winless but still enjoyed their experiences with the team this year.

“We were just having fun, soaking it all in,” said Sebastian Hebert, one of the team’s seniors. “We were going for the win. It just kind of fell apart.”
Despite their record, Hebert said he had a fun year with his teammates.

“I’m glad we had a team,” he said. “I was just glad I could play.”

Hebert said that he didn’t know if he would enjoy basketball when he started in Grade 9.

“It turns out, I love it,” he said.

General Amherst head coach Ben Pelger said the final game against Essex was symbolic of how the entire season went.

“It was a tough season with a couple of good games,” he said.

Pelger said it was a lack of physical ability that held the Bulldogs back this season as they were unable to keep up with other teams.

Pelger also thanked the seniors for their leadership on this year’s team.

General Amherst’s Griffin Muzzin is pressured as he dribbles the ball up the court during last Monday evening’s WECSSAA senior boys basketball game. Essex defeated General Amherst 72-32 to drop the Bulldogs’ record to 0-10.

“We just have to go back to basics and work hard over the summer,” he said.

The season was still enjoyable, Pelger added, and said the support of parents and grandparents was appreciated.

“That’s something that’s really important for our community,” he said.

The junior Bulldogs, also coached by Pelger, finished the regular season with a 1-9 record.

“They worked hard and played to the best of their abilities,” he said. “We still don’t have the height to compete with the other teams. For a small team, they really had some close games.”


Bulldogs end regular season in first, build momentum towards hockey playoffs



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Bulldogs boys hockey team finished the regular season in first place in their division after three wins last week.

The Bulldogs finished the regular season 8-2-2, good for 18 points. They edged out L’Essor (17 points) and Belle River (16 points) for top spot in the WECSSAA “AA” Cullen Conference.

All three games last week were at the Libro Centre.

The Bulldogs wrapped up top spot with a 4-3 win over the Essex Red Raiders. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 3-0 lead on goals from Brock Beaudoin, Max Clifford and team captain Josh DiCarlo before Essex rallied to tie the game early in the second period. Beaudoin wired home his second of the game later in the second period and Amherst shut the opposition down the rest of the way.

“It was a big win,” said DiCarlo. “It gave us first place.”

General Amherst forward Max Clifford (right) gets a scoring chance on Essex goalie Chase Cosgrove during the Bulldogs’ final regular season game last Thursday afternoon at the Libro Centre. The Bulldogs defeated the Red Raiders to wrap up the regular season in first place in their division.

DiCarlo said they talked all year about finishing in first place heading into the playoffs and they achieved that goal. The Bulldogs received a first-round bye thanks to the victory.

“In the third period, we shut them down,” he said. “We could have had a couple of more goals. We had a lot of opportunities.”

The Bulldogs have momentum heading into the playoffs, he added.

“We’re rolling,” said DiCarlo. “Our better players are starting to put the puck in the net.”

General Amherst head coach Pat Garrett said it’s been a tight battle and believes his players earned the right to be in first place going into the playoffs.

“They deserve first place,” he said. “The real reward could come in a couple of weeks at the end of the playoffs. I’d like to be there looking at a SWOSSAA game.”

Garrett – who coaches the team with Joe Shaw – pointed out that if they want to win a title, they can’t take any team lightly along the way.

“If you look at the standings, there are about four teams that can legitimately go to the finals,” said Garrett.

The Bulldogs squared off with L’Essor Wednesday and won a high-scoring 9-5 affair. Beaudoin, Clifford and DiCarlo each scored twice in the win with Isaac Hammond, Cole Zelle and Max Jones also scored.

Garrett said they were down 4-1 in the first six minutes but managed to find a way to win.

“We came out very flat in an important game,” he said. “The kids made some adjustments and rallied.”

General Amherst’s Brock Beaudoing (19) scores a second period goal during the Bulldogs’ 4-3 victory over the Essex Red Raiders last week. Beaudoin has nine goals in his last four WECSSAA games.

Garrett said they were able to overcome adversity and battle back, with the team’s better players showing why they are the better players.

“All of our big game players are getting the job done,” he said. “You need to be rolling before the playoffs.

The other game of the week was a 6-1 win over the Brennan Cardinals. Russel Morencie and Beaudoin each scored a pair with Jones and Lee Sinasac adding the other goals.

The playoff schedule had not been finalized as of press time.

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 drop to 0-4 after loss to Villanova



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Bulldogs senior boys basketball team went into the Christmas break 0-4 after a 40-35 loss to the Villanova Wildcats.

The Wildcats looked to have the game well in hand in the first half, as they built a 11-5 lead after one quarter and a 22-8 halftime advantage. However, a lively third quarter saw General Amherst score 20 points in those eight minutes alone as they outscored Villanova 20-11 in the quarter to make it a 33-28 lead going into the fourth quarter.

However, Villanova held off General Amherst and came away with the win.

Sebastian Hebert, one of the General Amherst captains, said it was a fast-paced game and said they had “a good comeback” in the third quarter.

“It was really back-and-forth,” said Hebert. “We played good defense.”

Hebert attributed the third quarter surge to a boisterous fan base.

Villanova’s Ben Diab (30) attempts a shot over General Amhest’s Kale DeCarlo during the Bulldogs’ most recent home game. Villanova won 40-35.

“We had a good crowd and a lot of support,” he said.

Hebert added they shot the ball better and made better passes in the game against the Wildcats.

General Amherst coach Ben Pelger said he knew it was a rivalry game and that both enjoy playing one another.

“Our team had a slow start,” he said. “Then we really came together as a team.”

The Bulldogs were hamstrung by the fact they lost three players to foul trouble late in the game.

“No excuses,” Pelger stated. “(Villanova) played great.”

General Amherst’s Joe Leroux (55, left) drives to the basket during first half action against the Villanova Wildcats. Defending Leroux is Villanova’s James Hanlon (20). Villanova won the senior boys basketball game 40-35.

Pelger also pointed out the fan support, adding “we started making shots.” He said they got more aggressive in the third quarter but that led to the foul trouble.

Villanova also got the win in the junior game, which preceded the senior game. The Wildcats won 64-29.

“They are improving every game. They came out aggressive today,” said Pelger. “They had a good third quarter and proved they can play with other teams.”

The junior Bulldogs picked up their first win of the season 24 hours later when they travelled to Windsor and downed Westview Freedom Academy 71-25.

Both teams resume play Jan. 9 when St. Joseph comes to town then play at Belle River two days later.