General Amherst

Bulldogs boys hockey team’s season ends in disappointing fashion



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Bulldogs boys hockey team’s season ended in disappointing style last week.

The Bulldogs were swept in two straight games in the WECSSAA “AA” finals by the Belle River Nobles. The first game in the best-of-three series was at the Libro Centre Feb. 28 and saw the Nobles come away with a 4-3 overtime victory.

The Nobles took a 3-0 lead in that game and General Amherst came back to tie it at three and forced overtime thanks to a strong third period.

“We put together a period of hockey where we were impossible to beat,” said Bulldogs head coach Pat Garrett. “We dominated the first two minutes of overtime and then Belle River gets a fluky goal and wins it. It was pretty disappointing.”

Brock Beaudoin scored twice for the Bulldogs while Isaac Hammond had the other.

General Amherst head coach Pat Garrett discusses strategy during a timeout in the third period of a recent game at the Libro Centre. The Bulldogs advanced to the WECSSAA “AA” finals but lost in two straight games to the Belle River Nobles in the best-of-three series.

The next day, the two teams faced off at the Atlas Tube Centre in Lakeshore for Game 2. Things started well for the Bulldogs as they scored the first goal. General Amherst had a 2-1 third period advantage but Garrett said penalty trouble due to “significantly undisciplined play” led to them being down 4-2 in a short period of time.

Game 2 ended up 5-2 and the Nobles were WECSSAA champs.

Josh DiCarlo and Beaudoin scored for the Bulldogs.

“Every year you have a goal to win,” said Garrett. “I really felt we had the group to take a WECSSAA championship.”

The Bulldogs hoped for another chance last Tuesday afternoon as Belle River faced off with Lambton Central for the SWOSSAA “AA” championship. A Belle River win would have seen the Bulldogs have an opportunity to challenge for the region’s second OFSAA berth but the Nobles fell short and officially ended the Bulldogs’ season.

“I would have liked to have seen us move on but I would have liked to see us move on as WECSSAA champions,” said Garrett.

Garrett, who coached the team with Joe Shaw this year, praised not only the commitment of the players this season but the parents as well. He pointed out it was a long season as it started back in November but the parents and grandparents stuck with the team and showed continued support.

Lady Gens hockey season concludes


Special to the RTT

The General Amherst Lady Gens played the first place Sandwich Sabres in the WECSSAA quarterfinals Feb. 12.

This was a one-game knockout to see who would advance to the semi-finals.  The coaches knew going into the game that they were going to be tough to beat but the girls were up to the task and did not quit. They played a tight defensive zone defence and frustrated the powerful Sandwich team in the first period.

General Amherst scored the game’s first goal (Abbie Drouillard assisted by Jaycie Stanek) and continued to frustrate Sandwich with outstanding goaltending by Jaiden Stiles.

Sandwich eventually tied the game in the second period and we went into the intermission between the second and third period with the belief we could still pull out a shocking victory.

Unfortunately, Sandwich scored early in the third period to go up 2-1.  The Amherst girls did not quit and continued to press for the equalizer. With just over a minute to go, the Lady Gens pulled Jaiden for an extra attacker and we continued to pressure Sandwich.

As the final buzzer sounded, there would be no happy ending this time.  Although the girls were disappointed that it ended this way, they were very proud with their effort and refusal to quit.

The coaching staff from the other team and even the referees commended our team for their play against a very strong Sandwich team.

In the dressing room after the game, the Amherst coaching staff found it hard to properly express how proud they were of this group of ladies.  Amherst’s very young team was able to push Sandwich to the limit and gave them a scare (Sandwich went on to win the WECSSAA championship).

The coaches did not feel like this was a loss for this program. Sometimes in hockey and life, failures like this lead to future success. This hopefully will give next year’s team some extra confidence going into the season.  Head coach Dan Pettypiece said he really enjoyed coaching this group of girls this year and although there were ups and downs, he thinks they have a bright future ahead of them.

On that note we are sad to say goodbye to Grade 12’s Carly Renaud, Emily Pontini, Alex Laframboise and Briana Farias. Pettypiece said he would especially like to thank Carly and Emily for their leadership with this young group of girls.

“I’ve had the pleasure to witness both of them grow up in the game of hockey and I know they will have lots to look forward to as they move to the next phase of. their lives,” said Pettypiece.  “Looking ahead to next year we will have most of the girls returning and we are looking forward to a strong new group of rookies coming in from Grade 8.  The future looks very bright for this team.”

The Grade 9’sand 10’s will compete in the Belle River Junior tournament on April 11-12 with the coaching help from the seniors.

“In closing I wish to thank our timekeeper Janice Ferguson, who has volunteered with us for 11 years, our sponsor Drew Coulson of Coulson Design-Build, assistant coach Jason Laframboise for his dedication to the program, our teacher reps  Kary Coulson and Nicole Rusenstrom for their commitment to this team, to Ron Giofu for his great coverage of this team and finally to the parents and grandparents who come out to cheer on the girls.  Your support of this program is very much appreciated,” said Pettypiece.


Jr. Lady Gens capture silver in WECSSAA “AA” volleyball playoffs



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Lady Gens junior girls volleyball team couldn’t quite get to the top of the mountain but are still happy with their season.

The Lady Gens were in LaSalle last Thursday night for the WECSSAA “AA” junior volleyball championship and went up against a powerful Sandwich Sabres team that went undefeated all season. The Sabres won the match and the championship with a 25-14, 25-13 and 25-23 victory.

The General Amherst Lady Gens junior girls volleyball team pose for a team shot with their silver medals after losing in three sets in the WECSSAA “AA” finals last Thursday evening at Sandwich Secondary School. (Photo by Kathy Dodds)

“They left it all on the floor,” said General Amherst head coach Mary Ewer.

Ewer said they were nervous in the first set and didn’t play their game and played better in the second set but “we weren’t able to get runs on them.” Ewer called a time out and told the Lady Gens simply to go out and have fun.

In the third game, the Lady Gens played well and led 23-20 at one point.

“The last seven points were the best seven points I’ve seen in a junior game in a long time,” Ewer stated. “It was back-and-forth. It was so much fun to watch.”

General Amherst’s Emma MacVoy (2) bumps the ball back over the net during action in the WECSSAA “AA” girls volleyball final last Thursday night at Sandwich Secondary in LaSalle.

Ewer, who coached the team with Jeff Miller and Christine Belcher this season, credited the opposition as well.

“Sandwich is a great team. They have a lot of club players, we had one,” she said. “I think our girls came out and tried our best. Sandwich is a very good defensive team.”

About 85-90 per cent of the players attended practices this season, Ewer added, and that made for “fabulous practices” and a better team.

Lexi Dodds of General Amherst goes after a loose ball during the first set of the WECSSAA “AA” volleyball final against Sandwich last Thursday night.

“We are so, so proud of them,” she said. “To me, it was a total team effort. It was lots of fun.”

Ewer said she is already looking forward to next year’s junior and senior seasons with the latter hosting the OFSAA “AA” provincial championship tournament.

Jr. Lady Gens advance in WECSSAA “AA” volleyball playoffs


By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst senior girls volleyball season may be finished, but the junior girls are still going.

The Jr. Lady Gens advanced in the WECSSAA “AA” volleyball playoffs last Thursday evening with a three-set sweep of the Essex Red Raiders in a match played at General Amherst High School. The Lady Gens, who were 8-2 in the regular season, defeated Essex 25-17, 25-20 and 25-15 to advance to the semifinals.

“The juniors have had a fantastic year,” said Jeff Miller, who coaches both the juniors and seniors at General Amherst. “Essex is way better than the ten-seed.”

The match versus the Red Raiders was good for the Lady Gens as they had to work for the victory.

“We played a really good, solid match to beat them,” Miller stated. “If we were sloppy, they could have knocked us off.”

Lexi Dodds hits the ball back over the net during General Amherst’s junior girls volleyball match with Essex Feb. 8.

General Amherst is the second seed in the WECSSAA “AA” playoffs and hope to eventually meet the top seed.

“The expectation is we want to be in the WECSSAA final and get another chance at Sandwich and put a scare into them,” said Miller.

This year’s junior Lady Gens team has been a pleasant surprise for coaches Miller and Christine Belcher.

“I thought we’d be a pretty solid group but I didn’t think we’d be second out of everybody,” said Miller.

The senior Lady Gens host the OFSAA “AA” championships next year and Miller believes that team will be “marketedly improved” as they will enter the provincial tournament as the host team.

The senior team will lose about five players to graduation but will have five returning players plus an influx of talent from this year’s junior team. The senior Lady Gens were eliminated from the WECSSAA playoffs in three sets last Tuesday, losing 25-18, 25-23 and 25-19 at Tecumseh Vista Academy. Miller said the seniors started playing better after the Christmas break but illness and injury didn’t help either.

“Unfortunately it was a little bit too late,” he said.

Lady Gens show improvement on the ice


The General Amherst Lady Gens have been progressing despite what their record indicates.

This very young team had a tough couple of weeks with a 1-3 record. That being said our last two games have been our best efforts of the year so far.  On Jan. 10, we lost to Kingsville 5-2.

Scoring for Amherst was Jaycie Stanek and Abby Bondy.  We just never got started properly and fell behind early.  Kingsville came to play and capitalized on our simple mistakes in our own end.  The coaching staff emphasized after the game to try to play a much simpler game. We have been caught with players trying to do too much and over thinking the game.

On Jan. 15, we played Cardinal Carter and had one of our weakest efforts of the year losing 7-1. Scoring for Amherst was Sydney Doyle assisted be Jaycie Stanek. It was one of those games that every team has at least once during the season. Sometimes it is best just to forget about them and move on to your next game with an improved effort and that’s what we did.

Cardinal Carter’s Chloe Mastronardi chases Abbie Drouillard of the General Amherst Lady Gens as she takes control of the puck to the left of the net during a WECSSAA Tier II girls hockey game at Unico Arena Jan. 15. Cardinal Carter won 7-1. (Photo by Bryan Jessop/Southpoint Sun)

On Jan. 16, we played Essex and although I think we outplayed them we lost 2-0. We definitely out-chanced them the whole game but had no puck luck around their net.

Overall it was one of our best games of the year.  On Jan. 22, we played St. Joseph’s and had our best game of the year.  The girls played a very smart, simple and aggressive game from the opening faceoff to the final buzzer. St. Joe’s had only lost twice all year and I think we outplayed them throughout the game.  They kept things simple and did not collapse after St. Joe’s tied the game in the second period.

One of the things that we have tried to emphasize throughout the season is that we have a young team and that we need to be patient with them.  They are going to make mistakes but that’s how they will learn to be better.  Failure lives in the house right next door to success and it’s the lessons we learn from failure that eventually breeds success.

Scoring for Amherst in this game were: Abby Bondy unassisted, Emily Pontini with the winner assisted by Jaycie Stanek and Abby Laframboise and Jaycie Stanek from Phoebe Trealout (her first high school point) and Cassidy Zelle.  Jaiden Stiles was very solid in goal and our defense did a fantastic job at both ends of the ice.

We would like to welcome Jaiden back from her injury and after missing three games. She has picked up where she left off giving us very steady goaltending.  We would also like to thank Autumn Guthrie for playing goal for us in Jaiden’s absence.  She worked very hard trying to learn an extremely tough position in a short amount of time with the help of goalie coach Terry Bondy. Great effort Autumn.  We now break for exams and play our final league game on Mon. Feb. 5th against Tecumseh Vista.

—Submitted by General Amherst head coach Dan Pettypiece