Lakeshore Canadiens

Admirals gearing up for 2017-18 PJHL season

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

There will be some familiar faces returning to the Amherstburg Integrity Admirals lineup this upcoming Jr. C season with some new faces also hoping to push the team over the top.

The Admirals played the Essex 73’s to a 1-1 tie Sunday night in the first pre-season games for both PJHL Stobbs Division clubs, with the Admirals having a weekend full of practices and scrimmages as the coaches and management take a closer look at who might be taking the ice for them when the regular season starts Sept. 17.

“Overall, I thought it was a good weekend,” said Admirals head coach/GM Paul Bortignon. “There were a lot of young guys trying to make an impact. I thought the guys did a good job.”

Amherstburg’s Zack Yott (11) tries a wrap-around on Essex goalie Ryan Polidori Sunday night.

Amherstburg’s Zack Yott (11) tries a wrap-around on Essex goalie Ryan Polidori Sunday night.

Bortignon said there are about four or five spots up for grabs on this years team and envisions “good competition” over the next two weeks before the roster is shaved to the 23 player limit in time for the Sept. 17 season opener against Petrolia at the Libro Centre.

Goaltending could be a strength this year as the Admirals have landed Ben Larder – a three-year starter from Tavistock – to their crease to join incumbent Catalin Morin.

“Up front, we do return a lot of veteran players,” said Bortignon. “We’ve got a lot of good depth up front.”

Amherstburg acquired forward Kadin Ritchie from Dresden over the off-season with Ritchie scoring 11 goals and six assists last season for the Jr. Kings.

“We’re definitely excited to have him, that’s for sure,” said Bortignon.

Ritchie played with the Wallaceburg Lakers during the 2015-16 season.

“Our defensive core is going to be a bit younger,” Bortignon added.

The Admirals are looking forward to the 2017-18 season, Bortignon stated. Last season ended when they lost in four straight games to the 73’s in the PJHL Stobbs Division semi-finals and the Admirals are putting that behind them.

“As a group, we’re excited to get going,” said Bortignon.

Josh Talerico (15, left) carries the puck in the corner during second period action.

Josh Talerico (15, left) carries the puck in the corner during second period action.

Co-owner/assistant coach Matt Fox said the team’s annual golf tournament is Sept. 10 at Sutton Creek Golf Club and people looking to sign up or those who want more information invited to contact Mary Ewer at mary_ewer@hotmail.com.

Fox agreed they are looking forward to the start of the regular season.

“We’re looking forward to another big year,” he said.

The second pre-season game is at the Libro Centre tonight (Wednesday) at 7 p.m. versus the Lakeshore Canadiens. There will also be a volunteer information session Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. prior to the game against Lakeshore. Co-owner Wes Ewer said they will go over roles the team is looking for and the benefits of helping us out. Season tickets will also be sold at the game from 6-7:30 p.m.

Admirals enter playoffs on two-game losing streak

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals will enter the PJHL Stobbs Division playoffs on a losing streak after losing to the division’s top two teams last week.

The first-place Lakeshore Canadiens came into the Libro Centre Sunday night and handed the Admirals a 6-2 defeat. Amherstburg got off to a good start with Luke Gangnon scoring 3:24 into the game but Lakeshore would score the next four before the period was out, including J.J. Percy’s goal just 15 seconds after Gangnon’s goal.

Connor Rosaasen scored two and Colin Sartor had the other in the first period.

Admirals players celebrate Dylan Muzzatti’s (15) tying goal with just 1:18 to play in the third period Jan. 24 at the Essex Centre Sports Complex. However, the 73’s would get a goal with just 16.3 seconds to play in regulation time to edge the Admirals 3-2.

Admirals players celebrate Dylan Muzzatti’s (15) tying goal with just 1:18 to play in the third period Jan. 24 at the Essex Centre Sports Complex. However, the 73’s would get a goal with just 16.3 seconds to play in regulation time to edge the Admirals 3-2.

The remainder of the goals were scored in the second period with the two teams playing a scoreless third period. Kasey Basile scored just nine seconds into the second period to cut the Lakeshore lead to 4-2 but Nick Tavolieri-Essex and Ameen Fadel scored for the Canadiens in the middle frame.

Amherstburg outshot Lakeshore 31-27 on the night.

The Admirals dropped a heartbreaking 3-2 decision last Tuesday night in Essex with a goal late in the game sinking Amherstburg’s hopes for a win.

The two arch rivals battled back-and-forth with the Admirals striking first thanks to a two-on-one. Luke Gangnon converted on an Austin Jennings pass to make it 1-0 13:29 into the first period.

Essex controlled much of the play in the second, outshooting the Admirals 14-3 and scoring the period’s only two goals. Michael Vieira scored at the 7:25 mark with Eric Shaw putting the 73’s in front with a goal with two minutes left in the period.

Amherstburg’s Lucas Bersuk (17, left) hits Essex forward Anthony Cristofaro (right) during second period action last Tuesday. Bersuk received a roughing penalty on the play.

Amherstburg’s Lucas Bersuk (17, left) hits Essex forward Anthony Cristofaro (right) during second period action last Tuesday. Bersuk received a roughing penalty on the play.

Amherstburg looked as if they were going to take the game into overtime when Dylan Muzzatti’s powerplay goal with just 1:18 left in the third period tied the score at two goals apiece.

However, William Stadder scored for the 73’s with just 16.3 seconds remaining in the third period when his shot went through traffic and found the top corner behind Amherstburg goalie Matt Badour.

Badour stopped 34 of 37 shots in the game, his first against his former team. Amherstburg managed 18 shots in the game.

Amherstburg finished the regular season with a 26-14 record, good for 52 points and third place in the division. They are headed for a first-round best-of-seven playoff match-up with the Wheatley Sharks with the first game being Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Libro Centre.

Admirals captain Curtis Prymack battles with 73’s forward Michael Vieira Jan. 24.

Admirals captain Curtis Prymack battles with 73’s forward Michael Vieira Jan. 24.

Games 2 and 3 will be in Wheatley next Monday (Feb. 6) and next Wednesday (Feb. 8) with Game 4 scheduled for Amherstburg Feb. 9 at 7 p.m.. Game 5, if necessary, will also be in Amherstburg Feb.12 at 7 p.m.

If necessary, Game 6 will be in Wheatley Feb. 13 with Game 7 being scheduled for Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m. in Amherstburg.

Amherstburg won three of the four games they played against Wheatley during the regular season.

Admirals drop games to Lakeshore and Essex

 

By Ron Giofu

 

It wasn’t the weekend the Integrity Amherstburg Admirals were looking for.

The Admirals played their two top rivals in the PJHL’s Stobbs Division but lost 5-1 in Lakeshore Friday night and 7-4 to Essex Sunday night at the Libro Centre to the Essex 73’s.

Amherstburg’s Luke Gangnon (24) looks for a scoring chance in front of Essex goalie Jax Dhont during Sunday night’s PJHL Jr. C game at the Libro Centre. Essex won the game by a final score of 7-4.

Amherstburg’s Luke Gangnon (24) looks for a scoring chance in front of Essex goalie Jax Dhont during Sunday night’s PJHL Jr. C game at the Libro Centre. Essex won the game by a final score of 7-4.

The latter game saw the Admirals stick close to the 73’s on the scoreboard until the visitors were able to pull away in the third period. The 73’s had leads of 1-0, 3-1 and 4-3 but the Admirals came back to tie on all three occasions. However, Essex scored three straight in the third period to pull away for the victory.

Dean Patterson scored twice for the Admirals with Ryan Alexander and Caleb Paquette also adding goals for Amherstburg. Michael Vieira scored a pair for Essex with Blake McConville, Tyler Boughner, William Stadder, Brett Smith and Tyler Scott adding one goal each.

The 73’s outshot the Admirals 41-16 on the night.

The Admirals trip to the Atlas Tube Centre in Lakeshore Friday night saw the Canadiens build a 3-0 lead en route to the 5-1 win. Ameen Fadel and former Admiral James Brooks gave Lakeshore a 2-0 lead after one period with powerplay goals with Kyler Carter extending the lead for the Canadiens in the second period. Austin Jennings scored on the powerplay to pull the Admirals within two but Mejoe Gasparovic and Lucas Gignac scored for Lakeshore in the third period to round out the scoring.

Admirals forward Aidan Ryan (7) brings the puck up the ice during second period action versus the Essex 73’s Sunday night at the Libro Centre. The 73’s defeated the Admirals 7-4.

Admirals forward Aidan Ryan (7) brings the puck up the ice during second period action versus the Essex 73’s Sunday night at the Libro Centre. The 73’s defeated the Admirals 7-4.

Lakeshore outshot Amherstburg 39-31 Friday night.

“I guess we’ve got a lot of work to do,” said Admirals head coach Paul Bortignon after Sunday night’s loss to Essex. “We gave up 12 goals in two games.”

Bortignon said the Admirals did a good job in their own end and covered up defensive gaffes during their 11-game winning streak but have been “exposed” in recent games. He said they were missing key players due to injury or suspension Sunday night but didn’t use that as an excuse, adding the fourth line players and rookies played well and gave the team energy.

“We need to be a team that works harder,” said Bortignon.

The Admirals were opportunistic and that led to goals and success but Bortignon said they have to step up their work ethic.

“As a staff and as head coach, I take responsibility for that,” he said.

Admirals’ forward Kasey Basile (22) skates around the Essex goal with the puck as he is watched by 73’s defenseman Cody Leeming during the second period of Sunday’s game in Amherstburg.

Admirals’ forward Kasey Basile (22) skates around the Essex goal with the puck as he is watched by 73’s defenseman Cody Leeming during the second period of Sunday’s game in Amherstburg.

The team did make some roster moves last week, including picking up a new goalie. While Catalin Morin played both of the weekend games, he had a new backup as Matt Badour was added last week. Badour played with the 73’s and was the goalie in the latter half of the league finals last season against the Admirals.

“He’s won a Game 7 and a championship,” said Bortignon.

The team released Connor O’Reilly, who was picked up by a team in the U.S. following being let go by Amherstburg.

The Admirals sat in third place in the PJHL’s Stobbs Division with a 23-12-0 record and 46 points as of press time, three points behind second place Lakeshore and five points back of first place Essex. The Admirals next game is Sunday at the Libro Centre against the Wheatley Sharks starting at 7 p.m.

Admirals knock off visiting Lakeshore 4-3

 

By Ron Giofu

A match-up between two of the better teams in the Provincial Junior Hockey League’s (PJHL) Stobbs Division went in Amherstburg’s favour.

The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals downed the visiting Lakeshore Canadiens 4-3 Sunday night at the Libro Centre in what was the fifth straight win for Amherstburg.

Amherstburg forward Ryan Alexander (55) scores the first of his two goals on Lakeshore goalie Mitch Topliffe Nov. 27 The Admirals won 4-3.

Amherstburg forward Ryan Alexander (55) scores the first of his two goals on Lakeshore goalie Mitch Topliffe Nov. 27 The Admirals won 4-3.

The Admirals took a 2-0 lead after one period with Ryan Alexander opening the scoring 6:58 into the game when he burst in on the Lakeshore goal and beat goalie Mitch Topliffe. Amherstburg’s Jordan Luciw made it 2-0 at the very end of the period when his shot crossed the goal line just before the buzzer sounded to end the period.

Ryan Alexander taps home his second of two goals in the Admirals 4-3 win over Lakeshore. The Admirals do not have another home game until Dec. 11.

Ryan Alexander taps home his second of two goals in the Admirals 4-3 win over Lakeshore. The Admirals do not have another home game until Dec. 11.

Lakeshore’s Ameed Fadel cut the Admirals’ lead to 2-1 at the 6:24 mark of the second period but Alexander scored his second of the game, this goal being shorthanded, at the 12:45 point of the period. Luciw took a shot that dribbled past Topliffe but Alexander was there to bury the puck for the Admirals.

Aidan Ryan scored with about two-and-a-half minutes left in the period to put Amherstburg up 4-1 but Steven Sartor cut the Amherstburg lead to 4-2 with about 39 seconds left in the period.

Joe Binder scored for the Canadiens at the 15:08 mark of the third period but Lakeshore could get no closer as Admirals goalie Catalin Morin made key saves to help preserve the win for his team. Lakeshore outshot Amherstburg 38-32 on the night.

Amherstburg's Jake Cummings gets around Lakeshore defenseman Joe Binder during second period action at the Libro Centre last Sunday night.

Amherstburg’s Jake Cummings gets around Lakeshore defenseman Joe Binder during second period action at the Libro Centre last Sunday night.

“It was a hard fought game. It was a big four-point game,” said Alexander. “The boys worked hard, it was a good game and we earned it.”

Alexander noted that while he had a good game with two goals, he couldn’t have done anything without his teammates.

“None of my goals were unassisted,” he said. “It was a total team effort, from the forwards to the goalie.”

When Lakeshore cut the lead to 4-3, Alexander said they put more emphasis on their defensive play to ensure they came out with the win. Head coach Paul Bortignon believed the two Lakeshore goals that made it a one-goal hockey game were the product of unfortunate bounces for the Admirals.

“I thought we were in good spots on both goals,” said Bortignon.

Bortignon praised Morin for making key saves when he had to but said many of Lakeshore’s 38 shots were not high percentage scoring chances.

Amherstburg were missing some players coming into the game and lost a few more during the game with Bortignon stating the game was a “gutsy” win where the team showed character.

“We found a way to get goals when the chances came,” said Bortignon.

Due to the missing bodies, players lower on the depth chart got chances to play and Bortignon was pleased how they performed.

The Admirals have now won 11 of their last 13 games after a tough 4-6 start. Beating Lakeshore for the second time in nine days did well for their confidence, the coach added.

The Jr. C team hosts a comedy night at Shooters Saturday night with tickets being available at the door at a cost of $15. There will also be a Christmas raffle with the draw being Dec. 18. Tickets for the raffle are available at home games.

The Admirals don’t have another home game until Dec. 11 when they host Petrolia in a 7 p.m. game. In the meantime, there are two road games with the Admirals being in Blenheim this Sunday and in Wheatley next Monday night.

Admirals run win streak to four with pair of weekend wins

 

By Ron Giofu

 

It was a successful weekend for Amherstburg’s Jr. C hockey team.

The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals won a pair of weekend games as they battle for second place in the Great Lakes Jr. C Hockey League standings. The Admirals (22-10-3-1, 48 points) won Saturday night in Mooretown 3-2 before returning to the Libro Centre Sunday night where they beat Lakeshore 3-1.

The two wins on the weekend have extended Amherstburg’s winning streak to four games.

Admirals’ forward Kasey Basile (22) gets a scoring chance during Sunday night’s game against the Lakeshore Canadiens. Basile didn’t score on the play but Amherstburg did score three goals in a 3-1 victory.

Admirals’ forward Kasey Basile (22) gets a scoring chance during Sunday night’s game against the Lakeshore Canadiens. Basile didn’t score on the play but Amherstburg did score three goals in a 3-1 victory.

Amherstburg goalie Connor Meyerink made 37 saves in Sunday night’s victory. Curtis Prymack opened the scoring early in the second period but Lakeshore’s Colin Sartor tied the game midway through the period.

Two goals two minutes apart in the third period sealed the win for the Admirals with Marshal Laing and Jordan Luciw finding the back of the net.

“It feels pretty good to be in the running for second place,” said Meyerink after Sunday night’s game.

Meyerink gave credit to his teammates but thought he had a good game as well.

“It’s all about the boys,” he said. “I thought I played as good as I can.”

Saturday night’s game in Mooretown saw Broden Meloche open the scoring in the first period only to have Ben Morrison tie it just over a minute later. The Flags took the lead early in the second period on an Alec Segers goal but Travis Campbell tied the game at the 12:12 mark of the period. Caleb Paquette’s goal with just over five minutes to play in the third period proved to be the game winner.

The Admirals fought off two late penalties and came away with the victory.

Admirals head coach Paul Bortignon said the weekend featured “two big wins for us.” He said they had to work hard to win Saturday’s game and admitted the Canadiens were shorthanded in Sunday’s game but “in the third period, we found a way to get a couple by them.”

Amherstburg now hits the road for three straight games, including a matchup this Sunday night in Blenheim. That game could be the one that decides second place as the Admirals and Blades are a point apart in the standings. Bortignon said they can’t overlook Wallaceburg, whom they play Wednesday night, but the game against Blenheim will be a big one.

The road trip concludes Jan. 29 in Lakeshore.

Amherstburg's Ryan Alexander (left) scraps with Lakeshore's Logan Percy during the first period of a game at the Libro Centre Jan. 17. The Admirals won 3-1.

Amherstburg’s Ryan Alexander (left) scraps with Lakeshore’s Logan Percy during the first period of a game at the Libro Centre Jan. 17. The Admirals won 3-1.

Bortignon noted they are playing well defensively, having allowed more than two goals in a game once in their last 11 contests. The Admirals have been playing better in their own end and doing a better job of clearing the net, he said.

The biggest thing they have to work on now is penalties, as the Admirals have been taking more penalties in recent games than they do normally. That will come into greater importance in the game in Blenheim due to the Blades’ strong power play.

“Hopefully it’s a blip in the road,” Bortignon said of the team’s recent penalty trouble.

The next home game for the Admirals is also the team’s final regular season game. It will be played Jan. 31 against the Wheatley Sharks starting at 7 p.m.