Josh Talerico

Admirals take commanding 3-0 series lead vs. Mooretown



By Christian Bouchard and Ron Giofu


The Amherstburg Admirals are one win away from advancing to the semi-finals of the PJHL Stobbs Division playoffs.

Josh Talerico scored a hat trick Saturday night in Game 2 to help lead the Admirals to a 5-4 victory in Mooretown against the Flags. Cory Burns and Travis Campbell each added a goal and an assist in the win.

Amherstburg would continue their excellent play on home ice Sunday night to take a commanding 3-0 series lead. Bryce McGregor scored less than two minutes into the third period to tie the game 1-1. The game would remain tied until Josh DiCarlo scored with 3:01 remaining in regulation to secure the 2-1 victory.  The win extended the Admirals winning streak to eight games.

Members of the Mooretown Flags leave their bench dejectedly as the Amherstburg Admirals celebrate behind them after Game 3 Feb. 10. The Admirals hold a 3-0 lead in the PJHL Stobbs Division quarterfinal heading into Wednesday night’s Game 4 in Mooretown.

“I’m looking forward to Wednesday,” said DiCarlo. “We want to get out of here in four games and get the rest we need to prepare for our next opponent.”

Admirals head coach Paul Bortignon said the team has entered the playoffs with the mentality of not chasing after games and it has proven to help achieve a 3-0 series lead.

“We were down 1-0 tonight (Game 3) but we didn’t push to get the goal every shift,” said Bortignon. “We did a good job keeping it a one goal game opposed to trying to tie it every shift.”

According to Bortignon, Game 4 in Mooretown will be viewed as a “must win game.”

“We’re heading into Mooretown Wednesday night and trying to end the series,” said Bortignon. “As much as we love our fans and love playing here (Libro Centre), it needs to end in four for us.”

The Admirals downed the Flags 5-3 last Wednesday night at the Libro Centre in Game 1 of the best-of-seven series with third period goals by Reid Stieler and Caleb Paquette putting Amherstburg in the lead for good. Amherstburg got a first period goal by Paquette and second period goals by Josh Talerico and Dean DeLuca to go up 3-0 but Mooretown scored three times within an eight-minute span later in the second period to make it a 3-3 game after 40 minutes. Brock Perry, Garrett Miller and Cade Robbins scored for the Flags.

“It’s one of 12 (wins),” Admirals head coach Paul Bortignon, as the team eyes its first division title in franchise history.

Josh DiCarlo and Caleb Paquette (6) celebrate DiCarlo’s game-winning goal in Sunday night’s 2-1 victory.

The win wasn’t the prettiest, but the Admirals will take it.

“Obviously, it’s probably not the way you draw it up,” he said.

After the 3-0 lead “vanished,” Bortignon was pleased with the way his team bounced back.

“We did a good job regrouping. Discipline played a big role in the third period,” he said. “It’s a big win. If we wouldn’t have come back and got the win, that’s a lot of adversity early in the series.”

A win Wednesday night for the Admirals will end the series and advance them to the semi-final round. If necessary, Game 5 will be Friday night in Amherstburg with Game 6 going Saturday in Mooretown and a final Game 7 being held in Amherstburg Sunday night.

Admirals in tight race for top three position in playoffs



By Christian Bouchard


As the Amherstburg Admiral’s regular season is winding to a close, the team is eyeing a top three finish in the standings.

The Admirals braved the cold and picked up a win and 2 points in the standings Saturday as they defeated the Wallaceburg Lakers 5-0 in one of three outdoor games held at Lanspeary Park in Windsor. Broden Meloche would score twice for the Admirals while other goals were scored by Josh Talerico, Bryce McGregor and Caleb Paquette.

“I played in an outdoor game in Minor Midget at Comerica Park and it was fantastic,” said Meloche. “This game was just as good and an awesome experience.”

The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals took part in the PJHL Stobbs Division Outdoor Shinny Series and beat the Wallaceburg Lakers at Lanspeary Park in Windsor Jan. 12.

With temperatures reaching –6 degrees, Talerico said staying warm and adapting to the rough ice conditions were a few of the challenges that came with the outdoor game. He also said the team did a great job adapting to the conditions.

“It was a fun experience and something I’d love to do again,” said Talerico.

Looking to build off the combined shutout win, the Admirals would fall short Sunday night 3-1 to the Wheatley Sharks. Meloche would score the lone goal for the Admirals.

The Admirals have five games remaining this season and are 23-9-0-3, good for 49 points and fourth place in the Stobbs division of the Provincial Junior Hockey League.

According to Talerico, the remaining games for the Admirals are winnable, but the entire team needs to “buy in” and do the little things right to make a third-place position (or better) in the standings a reality.

Meloche agreed with his teammate and believes if the team wins the last five games in the regular season, the Admirals will lock up a top three finish in the standings.

Amherstburg’s Broden Meloche (71, blue jersey)
battles for the puck in front of the Wheatley net during Sunday night’s 3-1 loss. (RTT Photos by Christian Bouchard)

“We have loyal fans, and a lot of them are kids,” added Meloche. “The home crowd makes a big difference in playoffs. A top three finish for us would be huge.”

As of Sunday night, Dresden, Lakeshore and Amherstburg are all separated by five or less points with six or less games remaining before playoffs.

Amherstburg has back-to-back away games against Wheatley and Petrolia on Jan. 16 and Jan. 17 before returning home to host Wallaceburg Jan. 20. The Admirals will then travel to Essex Jan. 22 before hosting Wheatley in the final regular season game of the season.




Admirals push Flags to brink of elimination


By Ron Giofu

The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals took a three-games-to-one lead over the Mooretown Flags Wednesday night thanks to a 4-0 win in Mooretown.

Bryce McGregor got things going for Amherstburg with a goal just 1:24 into the game. Early second period goals were scored by Brett Smith and Cory Burns to give the Admirals a 3-0 lead heading into the third period.

Unlike Game 2 when they were unable to hold the 3-0 lead, the Admirals not only kept the Flags off the scoreboard in the third period but added an insurance goal from Josh Talerico with just over five minute left to play.

Goalie Ben Larder turned aside all 38 Mooretown shots to earn the shutout.

The series comes back to the Libro Centre in Amherstburg tonight (Feb. 15) where the Admirals will have a chance to close out the PJHL Stobbs Division quarterfinal series.

All other PJHL Stobbs Division series are over with Lakeshore, Essex and Dresden having advanced in four straight games in their respective series.

Admirals keep rolling with wins over Essex and Lakeshore



By Ron Giofu


The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals’ hot streak continues after a pair of big wins over the weekend.

The Admirals have now won ten out of their last 11 games after beating Lakeshore 6-3 Sunday night and Essex 3-2 Saturday night. The three Essex County-based teams are battling for first place in the PJHL’s Stobbs Division with the Admirals being able to join that mix due to their recent hot streak.

Caleb Paquette led the way for the Admirals Sunday versus Lakeshore, as he scored four of Amherstburg’s six goals.

Caleb Paquette scores one of his four goals Sunday night versus Lakeshore.

“I’ve honestly never scored four goals in a junior hockey game,” said Paquette. “Lakeshore is number one (in the division) so that definitely makes it feel special.”

Paquette said the rest of the team also feels good after picking up that win as well as the win over the 73’s the previous night. He pointed out that he felt good coming into Sunday night’s game with the Canadiens.

“I actually said to Cory Burns that I was going to score,” said Paquette.

The Admirals maintained a good work ethic during both games, he added, and kept the pressure on both the 73’s and Canadiens.

“They are very good teams but we worked harder and came up with the wins,” he said.

Paquette added the Admirals go into the Christmas break with some confidence and believes if they keep working hard, they can continue to play well when they resume their schedule Dec. 27.

Ryan Alexander and Burns also scored against Lakeshore.

Burns also scored a pair against Essex Saturday night, including the game winning goal with just 1:14 to play in the third period. The 73’s led 2-1 going into the third period but Amherstburg scored twice in the final 20 minutes to pull out the victory.

Paquette added the other goal against the 73’s. Ben Larder picked up the wins in goal in both weekend games.

“We talked about this weekend for a while,” said Admirals head coach/GM Paul Bortignon.

Bortignon said they talked about getting all four points if they worked for 60 minutes in both games, and that is what happened.

“Those two wins, those are on those guys,” he said of the players. “They were incredible from the goalie all the way out.”

Bortignon also used the word “incredible” to describe the play of the line of Burns, Paquette and Josh Talerico over the weekend. Their play is among the best Bortignon said they have seen in the current hockey staff’s four years with the team.

Cory Burns scores against Lakeshore Sunday night.

The Admirals knew they would have to get rolling to dig themselves out of an early season hole but the current hot streak is above even their expectations, he believed.

“It shows the character of our team,” said Bortignon.

The attitude of the team has changed, and that started with a 4-0 loss to Mooretown at home Nov. 12. They had a team meeting after that game and have played well since.

“The energy since that loss has been incredible,” said Bortignon.

The Admirals thanked the fans for their support over the weekend and wish the town a Merry Christmas. Their next two games are both at home as Dresden comes to town Dec. 27 and Wallaceburg is in Amherstburg Dec. 29. Both games are at 7 p.m.

Admirals keep rolling with two road victories



By Ron Giofu


The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals’ hot streak continued over the past week with a pair of wins away from home.

The Admirals have now won three straight games and eight of their last nine with their most recent victory being a 7-2 win in Blenheim Sunday night. Josh Talerico scored a goal in each of the three periods to lead Amherstburg’s offensive attack against the Blades with Travis Campbell adding two goals in the game as well.

Caleb Paquette and Dylan Muzzatti also scored Sunday night.

The Admirals built a 2-0 lead after one period and led 4-2 after two periods before pulling away with three goals in the third period.

Ben Larder stopped 30 of 32 shots in the Admirals’ net against Blenheim.

Bryce Broad and Drew Marlatt scored second period powerplay goals for the Blades.

The Admirals’ previous game of the week was last Thursday night, a 4-2 victory in Petrolia. The Flyers had a 1-0 lead on a goal by Kole Keating but Ryan Holzel tied it for the Admirals before the opening 20 minutes had concluded.

After a scoreless second period, Mark McNally gave Petrolia a 2-1 lead early in the third period but Amherstburg took over from there and scored three goals to put the game away. Kyle Meloche, Muzzatti and Paquette scored third period goals for Amherstburg.

Larder also stopped 30 of 32 shots in the Petrolia game.

The Admirals (16-8-2-2, 36 points) play twice at the Libro Centre this weekend against Essex County opponents. The Essex 73’s are in town Saturday night for a 7:30 p.m. game while the Lakeshore Canadiens come to Amherstburg Sunday night for a 7 p.m. game. Those games are the first two games of a four-game homestand for the Admirals.