Jaiden Stiles

General Amherst girls compete in junior hockey tournament

 

The General Amherst girls played in a junior hockey tournament for Grade 9’s and 10’s, organized by the Belle River Nobles in Lakeshore April 11-12.

Originally 12 players signed up to participate but due to injuries and illness we were only able to ice nine skaters and a goalie.  But true to Amherst spirit and determination, they battled on to the end.  Graduating seniors Carly Renaud and Emily Pontini coached the team as way of giving back to the program.  Their strong dedication to the program was evident as they organized and ran practices leading up to the tournament.  They dealt with a very short bench and kept the girls focused on playing hard till the final buzzer sounded.

On Wednesday, Amherst played their first game against Kingsville. They played a solid game and were able to defeat Kingsville 2-0.  Abby Bondy scored both goals for Amherst.  Jaiden Stiles played a great game in goal posting the shutout.  The Amherst defence corps of Abby Laframboise, Cassidy Zelle, Renae Hammond and newcomer Mia McGrath played a solid game in front of their goalie.  Taylor Dufour also made her return to hockey after taking a year off and played hard throughout the tournament.  Halle Higgins came out of her comfort zone and made her debut playing her first ever hockey game.

Carly Renaud and Emily Pontini give the General Amherst team encouragement during a junior hockey tournament game for high school girls. (Submitted photo)

Later that day we played our second game versus a strong Sandwich team.  Sandwich was able to come away with a hard fought 2-0 victory. Once again Jaiden Stiles played a solid game in goal for Amherst but we were not able to capitalize on our chances against a strong Sandwich team which was allowed to use their grade 11 goalie for the tourney. (They did not have a Grade 9 or 10 goalie)

On Thursday, Amherst played their third game of the tourney against another strong team from L’Essor.  Once again in spite of having a short bench Amherst played a spirited game but came away with a 3-1 loss.  Scoring for Amherst was Abbie Drouillard assisted by Cassidy Zelle. Jaiden Stiles played her usual solid game in goal.

Although we did not advance to the semifinals this tournament the coaching staff was very pleased with their effort and how they showed great potential for the future. With 10 players returning next year as well as a strong group of players coming in from Grade 8, we look forward to next year and can’t wait to get started.

The players and coaches would like to thank Carly and Emily for their time and commitment in coaching this team.  Their leadership and enthusiasm will be missed and we wish them great success in the future.  We would also like to thank the parents for their support throughout the season and a special thank you to John Holzel for his time and expertise in taking our team photo.  Have a great summer if it ever comes and see you in November.

 

-Submitted by General Amherst head coach Dan Pettypiece

(attached photo shows Carly Renaud & Emily Pontini giving the team encouragement)

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

Lady Gens battle adversity in recent hockey tournament

 

Special to the RTT

 

The General Amherst Girls Hockey team participated in the Lady Crusader Hockey Tournament in London Dec. 5-6.

The coaching staff knew going into this tournament that they would be coming up against some powerful teams and they relayed that message to their senior players before committing to it. Their strong belief was that it would a great team bonding event for the girls especially with all the new Grade 9’s.

If that was our main goal of this tournament we came out as champions. Sometimes (actually most times) it’s not about trophies, medals and banners. It’s more importantly about the experiences you have along the journey. That’s what they remember. That’s what gets etched in their memories for years to come. We lost all five games we played but that’s not the real story of this journey.

   This is how our very young team became the talk of the tournament.                                                 At the end of the second period of the second game, our goalie Jaiden Stiles suffered a concussion after getting a shot off the head. Jaiden’s parents took her to the hospital and they returned home that night with her suffering a mild concussion. We all felt really bad for Jaiden and were faced with trying get someone dressed in her equipment to continue on with the third period or play with six attackers to finish the game.

The General Amherst Lady Gens warm up for a tournament game in London without a goalie. Their goalie – Jaiden Stiles – suffered a concussion during the tournament but the Lady Gens
soldiered on in her absence. (Submitted photo)

When the referee came over to tell us we could also call the game, the girls said resoundingly “Amherst doesn’t quit”. So faced with a 5-0 deficit against a strong Kincardine team, they played with six attackers and at one point made it a 5-2 game until the other team realized they better get going again. After the game I told the girls that in over 40 years of coaching I’ve never been prouder of a team.

That night they continued their bonding by going out for a night of bowling, dinner and hanging out as a team in one of their rooms.

The next day faced with playing three games without a goalie the coaching staff made the decision to ask the Guelph team we were playing if we could borrow their other goalie. They graciously allowed her to play for us. But it wasn’t the same team during this game. They came out flat, with not the same heart and determination they had the day before.

After that game we told them we would have to play with six attackers for the next game (no spare goalie available). That team we saw the day before with no quit in them was back. They played a tough team from Wallaceburg but only lost 8-3. In the dressing room after I witnessed a group of players that lost the game but won the hearts of their coaches, the referees, parents and coaches from other teams. They were laughing and saying how much fun they had. They were the talk of the tournament for all of the heart and grit that they showed.

We asked them if they wanted us to use a goalie from the other team for the last game and they basically said in unison “no we got this.” We finished up with Guelph in the “D” final and lost 10-2 but the legend of the team from Amherst who refused to quit will live on forever. We exceeded our goal of coming together as a team and the girls, coaches and parents will have life long memories to share.

The scores of our games were: St. Mary’s Hamilton 3 Amherst 0 (Jaiden Stiles played a great game in goal); Kincardine 7 Amherst 2 (scoring for Amherst were Sydney Doyle from Breana Farias & Lauren Bratt and Jaycie Stanek from Abby Laframboise); Guelph 6 Amherst 0 (Elise the goalie from the other team played for us); Wallaceburg 8 Amherst 3 (scoring Abby Bondy from Emma Fleming, Jaycie Stanek two goals assisted by Briana Farias); Guelph 10 Amherst 2 (scoring Emily Pontini from Jaycie Stanek & Abby Bondy from Jaycie Stanek).

They won’t remember the scores but they will remember the experience. How they came together as a team and fought for each other in true “Bulldog Spirit.” The coaching staff are so proud and honored to be a part of this program. They represented their school and their town with true grit and determination.

 

-Submitted by General Amherst head coach Dan Pettypiece

Rebuilding year forecasted for Lady Gens hockey team

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Lady Gens opened the 2017-18 WECSSAA girls hockey season with a 1-1 tie but the season may be more difficult than years past.

The graduation of some key players off of last year’s team has given the Lady Gens a younger roster and one that its head coach Dan Pettypiece said will require some patience.

“The biggest thing I’m going to have to adjust to and the girls are going to have to adjust to is that we are in a rebuilding state,” said Pettypiece after Monday afternoon’s 1-1 tie with Massey.

Pettypiece said there are six Grade 9 players on this year’s Lady Gens squad and they are going to make mistakes.

“Today’s game showed that,” he said.

Instead of making plays when they had the opportunity, the Lady Gens rushed with the puck and gave it away. They have to learn to be patient, said Pettypiece, adding he’d rather see players have the puck taken from them than to just give it away.

“Right now, they are fighting the puck,” he added.

The Lady Gens were late getting onto the ice Monday, and Pettypiece said they weren’t ready to play.

The strong teams they’ve had in the last four years have moved on, he added.

“Those days are done. We’re writing a new story now,” said Pettypiece.

Jaycie Stanek had the lone goal against Massey while Jaiden Stiles played well in goal, Pettypiece stated. He said there were things that didn’t go well in that game and possibly cost them a chance to win. He added they were missing a couple of players as well.

“This team is going to take time to gel,” he said. “It’s about being patient with them and them being patient with themselves.”

General Amherst hosts Essex today in a 3:15 p.m. game at the Libro Centre.