Jr. C

Admirals split games over the weekend

 

 

By Christian Bouchard

 

After losing to last year’s defending league champions, the Amherstburg Admirals bounced back with a resounding 6-1 win over the Petrolia Flyers.

The Admirals fought hard but would fall 3-1 to the Lakeshore Canadiens Friday night. Their luck would fare better as they would get six goals on Sunday and another great performance by Ben Larder in net to pick up two points on Amherstburg Minor Hockey Association night in front of approximately 500 fans.

Cory Burns scores a first period goal against the Petrolia Flyers Sunday night.

The Admirals showed their depth as six different players found the back of the net. Goals were scored by Cory Burns, Max Clifford, Caleb Paquette, Brett Smith, Bryce McGregor and Josh Talerico.

“The team has bonded, we’re much closer together and it shows on the ice,” said Admirals goalie Ben Larder.

The 21-year-old netminder was just 4:21 away from his fourth shutout this season. He has now won his last five games while starting and has an impressive 1.74 goals against average this season.

With the win, the Admirals are now 4-0-0-1 at home. While head coach/general manager Paul Bortignon and Admirals leading scorer Cory Burns have stated the importance of protecting home ice all season long, Larder said it is also important to play for each other.

“It’s pedal to the metal, doing everything you can for the other guys on the team, because that’s who we play for,” said Larder.

Broden Meloche carries the puck up the ice during Sunday night’s win over Petrolia.

The Admirals host their rival, the Essex 73’s next Sunday. The Admirals lost the only previous meeting between the two teams this year by a final score of 6-3.

“We’re a different team than we were in the season opener,” added Larder. “Yes, we came out flat against them in the first game of the season but that’s just one game.”

To celebrate the holidays, the Admirals are welcoming kids 11 and under free admission to the game with a costume and will be holding a trick-or-treating event following the game in the Admirals dressing room.

 

 

Admirals host fifth annual golf tournament

 

 

By Christian Bouchard

 

The Amherstburg Admirals traded in their sticks for clubs as they celebrated their fifth annual Fall Classic golf tournament this past weekend.

Admirals players, coaches, families and friends golfed at Sutton Creek Golf Club on Sunday for the team’s annual fundraiser. Cory Burns and his team won the overall tournament shooting 18 under par and a total of 54 strokes.

While final numbers are not available yet, general manager/head coach Paul Bortignon estimates 13-14 groups participated.

Victoria Hilton goes for the green during the fifth annual Fall Classic golf tournament presented in wet conditions Sunday at Sutton Creek Golf Course in McGregor.

“Aside from the weather, I thought everything went well,” said Bortignon. “We had a ton of support from the community and all the guys had fun”.

Just a few days before their season opener, the Admirals have set the roster to the 23-player limit. He added they are excited about the players they’ve added and with the returning players but stated there wasn’t a lot of time to prepare before the season opener in Essex, which was played Tuesday night after this issue of the River Town Times went to press.

Ty Moss and Dean Deluca were among many of the rookies who Bortignon said would have a lot of impact for the team. He added Andrew Clark, a 2000 player from Windsor, is more than likely going to be the biggest surprise.

“What he brings on the penalty kill, in energy alone, and especially in the face-off circle, I think he’s going to wow some people in the organization this year,” added Bortignon.

Admirals goalie Ben Larder chips one towards the hole.

With the addition of a handful of rookies being added to the roster, the Admirals will rely heavily on veteran presence to lead the team. Now entering his fifth year with the team, Bortignon said he’s thrilled with what he’s seen from his team’s leaders.

“I really think the leadership we have this year with Austin Jennings as our Captain, Travis Campbell, Cory Burns and Caleb Paquette wearing the As, it may be the best leadership we’ve had in five years,” said Bortignon.

Along with players taking on bigger leadership roles, he stressed the importance of taking it one game at a time and trying to get as many points as possible early in the season.

“When you look at the last 30 games last year, we had the best record in the league,” he said. “That still put us in the fourth spot going into playoffs. If you can get one of the top three seeds in the league, that saves you a round of torture in the playoffs. So for us, that’s a huge goal.”

The Admirals concluded the pre-season with a 5-2 win in Wheatley last Friday. The Admirals’ first home game is Sept. 23 against the Dresden Kings at 7 p.m.

 

Admirals bolster lineup with newest signees

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Admirals will have some new faces in the lineup and the local Jr. C franchise is excited to add them.

Forwards Dean DeLuca and Ty Moss have signed with the Admirals while defenseman Aaron Jacobs has re-signed with the team. DeLuca played with the Amherstburg Stars midget major team last season while Moss comes out of the Windsor AAA hockey program. Jacobs played with the Admirals last year.

Admirals general manager/head coach Paul Bortignon said the team is pleased with the latest additions.

“To sign three guys like this is a good start for us going forward,” said Bortignon.

Bortignon hopes that DeLuca and Moss can be top nine forwards with the club, if not in the top six. While the Admirals led the PJHL Stobbs Division in scoring last season, there were points in their playoff series loss to the Mooretown Flags where they needed a goal and couldn’t get one.

The Admirals will take a different approach offensively next season, Bortignon added, as they plan on putting a lot of pucks to the net and players as well.

That style of play could suit DeLuca, who describes himself as a power forward who likes to go in the corners and drive the net. He added he looks for bounces and deflections in front of the net and patterns his game after Ryan Kesler of the Anaheim Ducks. DeLuca said he likes how Kesler bangs bodies and still scores goals.

The Amherstburg Admirals officially signed new players Saturday morning. From left: head coach/GM Paul Bortignon, co-owner Matt Fox, Aaron Jacobs, captain Austin Jennings, Dean DeLuca, Ty Moss and co-owner Gaspare Spada.

Moss describes himself as a two-way forward in the mold of Nicklas Backstrom of the Washington Capitals. Moss said he wants to make sure he is good defensively but also be able to put the puck in the net in the offensive end.

Moss said signing with Amherstburg is a good “first step out of minor hockey” and believes he can develop and become a better hockey player with the Admirals.

“It’s a good place to start in junior hockey,” said Moss.

DeLuca is happy to stay close to home to start his junior hockey career.

“It’s nice to play in my hometown,” said DeLuca. “It’s going to be fun to try and move up and do something different.”

For Jacobs, he said he is pleased to return to the Admirals lineup.

“I love it here,” said Jacobs. “It’s one of my favourite places to play. I want to finish my career here with a championship, maybe two.”

Jacobs said the Admirals are a close group and called it “a great organization.”

“I love Amherstburg,” he said. “I come here to fish a lot. I like coming out here.”

Jacobs joked he doesn’t go on the Pointstreak website to check out statistics “because I don’t get a lot of points.” He said he doesn’t like getting scored on but hopes to expand his game offensively this upcoming season as well.

Co-owner Matt Fox said the team is excited to add talented players like Moss, DeLuca and Jacobs and believes the team is being steered in the right direction.

“It’s a big step forward,” he said of the new players.

“We got some good pieces today,” Bortignon added after the players officially signed Saturday morning.

Bortignon said the Admirals were “humbled” last season and they are going to take a game-by-game approach this upcoming season and set their goals that way.

Admirals earn four of six points on weekend

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Two-thirds of the weekend was good for Amherstburg’s Jr. C hockey team but the conclusion to the weekend was something they want to forget.

The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals won two of three games over the weekend. They went to Dresden Friday night and won 4-3 in overtime and then defeated the Blenheim Blades 5-2 Saturday night at the Libro Centre.

Their game Sunday night was against the Mooretown Flags and saw the Flags come into Amherstburg and capture a 4-0 victory.

Amherstburg defenseman Austin Jennings (left, 10) carries the puck into the Mooretown zone during third period action Sunday night. At right is Flags’ defenseman Hayden MacDonald (4).

Austin Jennings was the hero last Friday as he tied the game with a powerplay goal early in the third period and won it in overtime for the Admirals. Travis Campbell and Caleb Paquette also scored for Amherstburg while Ben Larder made 41 saves in goal for the Admirals.

Cory Burns scored twice while Josh Talerico, Bryce McGregor and Amilio Acampora scored in Saturday night’s 5-2 win, Acampora’s goal being his first in Jr. C. Larder made 36 saves in that win.

A second period altercation Saturday night that saw defenseman Dean Patterson leave the bench and join in resulted in Patterson and head coach Paul Bortignon being suspended two games each. Assistant coaches Matt Fox and Rob Bondy ran the bench Sunday night.

Bortignon watched Sunday night’s game from the stands and was not impressed with what he saw.

“This weekend, we won two of three games and that’s kind of where it ended,” he said after Sunday’s game. “We can’t talk about the effort (against Mooretown) because there wasn’t one.”

Bortignon said Mooretown controlled Sunday’s game from start to finish, adding the poor performance from the Admirals is something that usually happens once a year and will be quickly be put behind them. While it was the third game in three nights, Bortignon said that is not an excuse as fatigue may cause mental mistakes but the Admirals had a poor effort top to bottom.

“(Mooretown) owned the game for 60 minutes,” he said.

Larder was one of the lone highlights for the Admirals Sunday, as he made 35 saves.

Amherstburg’s Ryan Holzel (14) shoots the puck in the direction of Mooretown goalie Nolan Hakr during the first period of Sunday night’s Jr. C hockey game at the Libro Centre. Mooretown won 4-0.

The effort was much different the first two games of the weekend, Bortignon indicated. He said they worked hard for the entire game Friday night and came out of Dresden with a win, something that is tough to do as the Jr. Kings are 7-1-0-1 on home ice.

Bortignon said “we picked up where we left off” Saturday night and turned in another solid effort in the 5-2 win over Blenheim.

Amherstburg (8-8-2-1, 19 points) travels to Wallaceburg to play the last-place Lakers Wednesday night. Despite a 1-15 record, Bortignon said Wallaceburg is playing better as of late and stated the Admirals will have to put in a full 60 minute effort.

The Admirals return home Sunday for a 7 p.m. game with the Petrolia Flyers.

Former owner returns to Admirals

 

 

Special to the RTT

 

A former owner of the town’s Jr. C hockey club is now a current owner once again. 

Co-owners Matt Fox and Wes Ewer made it official on Thursday that they and Gaspare Spada have agreed to terms that will see Spada back on board as an owner of one-third of the Integrity Amherstburg Admirals.

When asked why have Spada come back in now, Ewer simply had this to say: “Why? I say why not?  It was not a tough decision for Matt and I to make.”

Ewer went on to say that Spada approached him and Fox about coming back into the ownership group a couple months ago and it didn’t take the two long to agree.  

“We see so much value in having Gaspare back on board from an operations standpoint. He is the only reason Matt and I are where we are with this team today. He took a chance on (general manager/head coach) Paul (Bortignon), Matt and myself four years ago and I think it has worked out pretty well. He brings so much entrepreneurial experience that we couldn’t turn down the help on the business side,” said Ewer.  “With my new role being more business focused, I am very excited to have Gaspare help continue to push us in the right direction.”

The team had “a minor set-back” last year after being swept by the Essex 73’s in the second round, but the progress and steps that have been made as a team over the past four years are certainly nothing to be ashamed of, the ownership group states. Under Spada as an owner, the team saw its first finals appearance and then made it back there the following season after Ewer and Fox took over.  

“Gaspare brings a lot to the table for Wes and I,” said Fox, who is also an assistant coach. “He is a very passionate hockey guy and a very smart business person; it is a great fit to have him joining our ownership group.” 

The three owners believe they share a lot of ideas.

“My ultimate goal was always to be the best organization in the league. On the ice was of course to win a championship but more importantly off the ice, was to have a great place for players and families to play and be a part of, to have volunteers treated respectfully and give them the ownership to feel like part of the team. When the team wins we all win,” said Spada.  

Ever since Spada sold his shares, he felt like something was missing.  

“I’ve had an incomplete feeling since I sold the team. Hockey is in my blood and not winning a title doesn’t sit well with me,” he said. “I feel I can add some knowledge on the business side that can contribute to the success of the organization. With the support of my family, I felt that being involved in an ownership capacity again, was the right move.”  

When asked what challenges he sees in the future of the team, Spada replied: “Every year there are challenges with players, volunteers, finances and many aspects of running this business. However with the three of us pulling in the same direction, I’m confident that any challenges that appear, will be handled successfully.”

Spada thanked Ewer and Fox “for allowing me back into the mix” and he said he looks forward to “working with them to achieve that ultimate goal.”

The three-man ownership group is confident they won’t miss a beat.

“It is business as usual,” said Ewer. “Although he wasn’t an owner the past two years, Gaspare didn’t really go anywhere. His family is a big part of our organization and he himself never stopped helping us.”