Joe Shaw

General Amherst taking young team into 2018-19 WECSSAA boys hockey season



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Bulldogs dropped to 0-2 on the WECSSAA boys hockey season last week but the coaches were not disappointed with what they saw.

The Bulldogs, who dropped their opening game 4-1 at Belle River two weeks ago, faced off with the St. Thomas of Villanova Wildcats last Thursday afternoon at the Vollmer Centre in LaSalle. The teams were close for the first half of the game before the Wildcats opened it up and came away with an 8-2 victory.

General Amherst head coach Pat Garrett said they missed about six players in the game, including their entire top line, due to illness or other commitments.

“I can’t say enough about our Grade 9’s and 10’s,” said Garrett. “They didn’t play poorly.”

Assistant coach Joe Shaw agreed, noting they were also missing their number one goalie. He added the Grade 10 players “did pretty well” and that “I’m not disappointed with this game at all.”

Shaw pointed out the Bulldogs only had two lines to put out on the ice against the larger Villanova squad.

General Amherst’s Sebastian Tronchin celebrates a first period goal during last Thursday’s game at the Vollmer Centre in LaSalle. Villanova won the game 8-2.

“They played hard,” Shaw said of the Bulldogs. “The Grade 9’s and 10’s played well.”

Garrett said they played well in Belle River as well with goalie Jacob Lister having a good game.

This year’s team has only two Grade 12 players, Garrett noted.

“I’ve had OFSAA teams with nine Grade 12’s,” he said. “It’s a big difference.”

Garrett added it’s the first time in the 14 years he’s been coaching the Amherst hockey program that he’s had more Grade 9’s and 10’s than 11 and 12’s.

“It’s exciting to see that many Grade 9’s came out and made the team,” he said. “That almost never happened in the past. We’ve got really good Grade 9’s this year and really good Grade 10’s.”

The Bulldogs’ home opener is Thursday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. against the St. Anne Saints.

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 lose in WECSSAA finals in three games



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Bulldogs pushed the Belle River Nobles to the limit in the WECSSAA “AA” boys hockey final but could get no further.

The third and deciding game was played Monday afternoon at the Atlas Tube Centre in Lakeshore with the Nobles winning the best-of-three series and the championship with a 4-0 victory.

General Amherst’s Max Clifford flips the puck into the Belle River zone during the third and deciding game of the WECSSAA Tier 1 hockey final Monday afternoon at the Atlas Tube Centre in Lakeshore. Belle River won the game 4-0 to win the title.

General Amherst’s Max Clifford flips the puck into the Belle River zone during the third and deciding game of the WECSSAA Tier 1 hockey final Monday afternoon at the Atlas Tube Centre in Lakeshore. Belle River won the game 4-0 to win the title.

“It was a good hockey game for two periods,” said Bulldogs’ head coach Pat Garrett.

A shorthanded goal that made it 2-0 for Belle River seemed to take the Bulldogs off their game for a bit but the wheels came off for the Bulldogs in the third period. Garrett said they tried sneaking a player behind the Nobles’ defense to generate some offense but that led to two-on-ones the other way, which proved costly.

“For lack of a better term, it got away from us,” he said, referring to the third period.

Garrett, who coached the team this season with Joe Shaw, said they were proud of the players and the effort they put forth.

“The tough part about championship games is someone has got to win and someone has got to lose,” he said.

Ethan Hamelin had a “phenomenal” game Monday afternoon with Garrett adding that Reid Stieler, Jacob Fields and Stefan Dobrich playing a ton of minutes on defense.

The two teams had split games last week to send the game to the deciding third game with Belle River winning last Tuesday 2-0 on their home ice and the Bulldogs tying the series with a 5-4 overtime win at the Libro Centre last Thursday afternoon. Hamelin scored the overtime winner last Thursday with Josh DiCarlo adding two goals and Dobrich and Nathan Lenson adding singles.

General Amherst celebrates Ethan Hamelin’s overtime goal last Thursday at the Libro Centre. The 5-4 win forced Monday’s Game 3.

General Amherst celebrates Ethan Hamelin’s overtime goal last Thursday at the Libro Centre. The 5-4 win forced Monday’s Game 3.

Garrett said goalie Will Bratt played well in that game. He added they had their chances in the first game but just couldn’t find a way to score despite outshooting the Nobles.

“We wanted to take it in regulation but any win is good,” Stieler said after the second game. “We’ve got to keep our energy for three periods. We finally proved we can take it to them.”

Garrett said Monday that they only lose one player to graduation and perhaps two or three more to junior hockey. The rest are eligible to return, leading him to believe the future is bright for the Bulldogs.

“That’s a good core of kids in there,” he said Monday, gesturing towards the Amherst dressing room. “I enjoyed coming to the rink and coaching them.”
Despite a 3-6-3 record in the regular season, Garrett stood by his belief they were better than that and noted they played without key players particularly early in the season. He said they had a good run when they got to the playoffs.

“It was a fun ride,” Garrett concluded.