Matt Fox

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 welcome new assistant coach to staff

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Admirals are making some changes to their coaching staff with a local resident and former Jr. C player joining them.

Eric Shaw has signed on to be an assistant coach with the Admirals and will help work with the team’s forwards. Shaw is an Amherstburg native who won four titles in what was then the known as the Great Lakes Jr. C Hockey League (now the PJHL Stobbs Division) with the Essex 73’s.

Shaw, who finished his Jr. C career as a player two years ago, was an assistant coach with the Amherstburg Stars pee wee major team this past season. He said he likes helping younger players develop and wants to give back and pass along what he learned as a player.

Having been a player just a few years ago, he believes he can give a personal insight to current players and work with them to improve. He stated the Admirals have a solid core of players eligible to return for the 2018-19 Jr. C season and looks forward to being a part of it.

“We have a good group of guys coming back and I’m looking forward to the season for sure,” said Shaw.

Shaw added he will do whatever he can to help the Admirals get back to the PJHL Stobbs Division final.

Eric Shaw (centre) is the new assistant coach for the Integrity Amherstburg Admrials. He replaces Matt Fox, who will be focusing on the business end of the Jr. C hockey franchise as Fox is also a co-owner. At left is Admirals GM/head coach Paul Bortignon and assistant coach Rob Bondy is at right.

“Not that I need to do much, they’ve been doing great,” said Shaw. “It’s good to come back and help out.”

Admirals GM/head coach Paul Bortignon said Matt Fox will not be returning to the bench next season as Fox, who is also a co-owner of the Admirals, will concentrate more on the business aspect of the franchise with fellow co-owners Gaspare Spada and Wes Ewer.

“We feel Eric is a great addition to our team,” said Bortignon. “We’re definitely excited to have him and we’re hoping for an exciting season.”

Bortignon said Shaw’s experience on championship teams will help the Admirals, adding that Shaw is well respected both in the Admirals’ locker room and around the league as well.

“I think the guys will respect that,” Bortignon said, of Shaw’s championships as a player. “There’s an instant respect factor for us.”

Assistant coach Rob Bondy, who works with the Admirals defense corps, called Shaw a “class act” who will help the skilled players and other talent on the forward lines.

“I think he’ll really help the younger guys,” said Bondy.

The Admirals are also seeking a video coach and Bortignon said they want to have that coach in place by the April 25-26 mini-camp. He added there are still spots open for the mini-camp and players that are interested can e-mail him at paulbortignon@gmail.com.

“As much as it pains me to say, we’ve taken a step back in the playoffs,” he said, noting their second round exit in the 2016-17 season and the first round exit in the 2017-18 season. “Getting back to the finals is the number one goal for us as we head into next season.”

Admirals tie game with Lakeshore 2-2 despite overtime efforts

 

By Jolene Perron

After suffering a 5-2 loss against Dresden last Friday, the Amherstburg Integrity Admirals returned to their home ice against Lakeshore and put up a fight in their overtime 2-2 loss.

Against Dresden, vice president and assistant coach Matt Fox described the game as “a wake-up call” for the team.

“I think a couple of lapses in the second period cost us and put us behind the eight ball and then we were just trying to play catch up the rest of the game,” said Fox. “It was a decent effort, not as good as we wanted but as long as we stick to the process the results will come.”

The team took that game with them as a lesson going into Sunday night’s game against Lakeshore, where the first period went scoreless.

Josh Talerico skates down the ice, keeping the puck away from a Lakeshore player, close behind.

Admirals captain Dylan Muzzatti opened up the scoring for the night with a goal on a power play at 11:52, assisted by Michael Hatch and Bryce McGregor. That goal wasn’t answered by Lakeshore until 14:53 in the third period, when Jarrett Tazzman gave Lakeshore their first goal. In less than 40 seconds, Amherstburg came back with their second goal by Josh Talerico, assisted by Luc Warnock and Ryan Alexander.

The last goal of the game came at 18:19 of the third period by Lakeshore’s Kyler Carter.

The game went into a seven-minute three-on-three overtime period, which remained scoreless resulting in a tie game.

Admirals goalie Ben Larder stopped 44 of 46 Lakeshore shots on the night.

“The three on three is always a little bit different just because you put guys in tough situations,” explained Fox. “It was fast, and we would have liked to get one goal there on the power play at the end but we will take the tie and move on to Tuesday.”

The Admirals now embark on a four-game road trip, which started last night in Essex after this issue of the RTT went to press. They are in Wheatley next Monday night before games in Petrolia and Dresden on back-to-back nights Oct. 12-13.

The next home game for the Admirals is Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. versus Dresden.

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.”

Admirals down Petrolia 5-3 in regular season opener

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Integrity Admirals defeated the Petrolia Flyers 5-3 in the PJHL Stobbs Division regular season opener, but it is clear the Admirals are looking for a better effort going forward.

Ryan Alexander had a hat trick for Amherstburg Sunday night, including the opening goal 9:20 into the first period. Caleb Paquette made it a 2-0 game 50 seconds later. A bad bounce for Amherstburg led to a Connor Lovell goal and made it a 2-1 game but Alexander scored again at the 19:19 mark of the opening period making it a 3-1 game at the first intermission.

Amherstburg’s Caleb Paquette (6, left) rounds the Petrolia net with the puck while being watched by Eric Marsh.

The Flyers tied it on goals by Eric Campbell and Eric Marsh in the second period but captain Dylan Muzzatti’s goal gave the Admirals the lead after 40 minutes. Muzzatti also had two assists on the night.

Alexander scored a powerplay goal with approximately three minutes to play in the third period to round out the scoring.

Amherstburg outshot Petrolia 39-26 on the night.

“We came out pretty strong for the first little bit. We died down after that. We didn’t play a full 60 minutes,” said Alexander.

Alexander credited his teammates for the hat trick.

“None of the goals were unassisted,” he said. “I couldn’t do it without my teammates.”

The Admirals did a good job picking each other up but Alexander emphasized they have to have a better effort in future games.

“I’m glad we got the two points but we’ve got to have better efforts down the road,” he said. “Down the road, we can’t get away with playing ten minutes out of a full 60.”

Alexander said “expectations are always as high as they can be” for the season and that while they have some new faces this year, they have players with a good work ethic that will get better as the 2017-18 season goes on.

Amherstburg forward Cory Burns (9) crashes the net during Sunday’s 5-3 win over Petrolia. The Admirals got three goals from Ryan Alexander and single goals from Dylan Muzzati and Caleb Paquette in the season opening win.

Admirals head coach/GM Paul Bortignon also pointed out they didn’t have the best effort on the night.

“What I told our guys was to be happy with the result but don’t be happy with the effort,” said Bortignon. “The effort wasn’t quite there tonight.”

If they have similar efforts in future games, the Admirals likely will be on the opposite end of the result, Bortignon believed. He attributed the less than stellar effort to first game jitters but said there was more intensity from the rookies through the veterans during the pre-season.

“Overall, it was not good enough,” he said. “We obviously have to get better and get better in a hurry.”

Bortignon was happy with the two points and the Admirals’ penalty killing, but didn’t think they were as good as they should be five-on-five or on the powerplay.

“It’s tough to pick out a lot of positives in a game like that,” he added.

Assistant coach/co-owner Matt Fox said the team was pleased with the attendance, noting they got a lot of support from the town.

“It was great to see,” said Fox.

The Admirals were in Essex Tuesday night, after this issue of the RTT went to press. They have two weekend games at the Libro Centre this weekend, hosting Blenheim Saturday and Mooretown Sunday. Both weekend games are at 7 p.m.