Max Clifford

Admirals lose overtime decision in Mooretown



By Ron Giofu


The only game of the week for the Amherstburg Admirals didn’t go the way they had hoped.

The Admirals were on the road last Saturday night in Mooretown but dropped a 4-3 overtime decision to the Flags. Amherstburg had built a 3-1 lead after two periods on goals by Max Clifford, Josh Jacobs and Dean DeLuca but the Flags got third period goals by Brock Perry and Cameron Rannie, the latter scoring his second of the game at the 16:27 mark of the third period.

Perry would add his second of the game 3:28 into the extra period to give Mooretown the victory.

Amherstburg outshot Mooretown 34-32 on the night.

The Admirals are now 9-3-0-2 on the season, good for 20 points, but they are fifth in the PJHL Stobbs Division behind Dresden, Essex, Lakeshore and Mooretown. However, Amherstburg has games in hand on all four teams ahead of them in the standings.

It will be a busy weekend for the Admirals as they have three games in three days coming up. Amherstburg heads to Dresden Friday night for a 7:30 p.m. game against the Jr. Kings. After that, the Admirals return home where they are thus far undefeated this season for a pair of games. The Blenheim Blades comes to the Libro Centre Saturday night while the defending division champion Lakeshore Canadiens come to town Sunday night.

Both of this weekend’s home games start at 7 p.m.

The schedule doesn’t get any easier the following week, with a Nov. 13 tilt in Essex and a Nov. 18 home game versus Mooretown Nov. 18.

Admirals fall to first place Dresden in OT



By Christian Bouchard


The Amherstburg Admirals fell short in a 2-1 overtime loss to the first place Dresden Kings this past weekend.

The Admirals got an early lead as Max Clifford scored less than five minutes into the game. That would be the lone goal for Amherstburg.

Jared Ratko helped extend the home shutout streak to 179 minutes but with just 59 seconds remaining in regulation, Nolen Vandenboorn, the league’s leading goal scorer tied the game sending it to overtime. Vandenboorn would score his second of the night and 14th of the season to defeat the Admirals 2-1 in overtime.

Max Clifford (25, left) scores a first period goal less than five minutes into the game versus the Dresden Kings. The Admirals would lose 2-1 in overtime.

“We were missing three key bodies,” said Paul Bortignon, the Admirals head coach and general manager.

The Admirals were without Kyle Meloche after his penalty and fight in the second period led to a game misconduct. Also missing from the lineup was Caleb Paquette, who was unavailable due to a family function, and Travis Campbell.

Despite the loss, Bortignon is happy with the way his team has defended home ice.

“If you’re going to get five of every six points on home ice you’re going to be a happy coach,” said Bortignon. “I think we can build off that. Those are teaching moments for us.”

As of Sunday night, he Admirals are now 4-2-0-1 and have nine points, a feat that took them 11 games to reach last year.

Kyle Meloche (12, left) gets into a tussle with a Dresden player during Sunday’s game at the Libro Centre.

“We know those points are critical especially come playoff time,” added Bortignon. “We’ll take our record now and be happy with it.”

The Admirals next game is Wednesday night in Wallaceburg before returning home Sunday night to host the Mooretown Flags. Sunday night’s game at the Libro Centre starts at 7 p.m.

Midget Majors eliminated from OMHA playdowns



By Ron Giofu


The Amherstburg Stars midget major hockey team is in a place they are not used to in early February.

Eliminated in the first round of the OMHA playdowns.

The Stars were in Harrow Saturday night for the fourth game of their series with the Erie North Shore Storm with the latter completing the upset with a 4-2 victory.

The Storm – who had a 6-12-6 regular season – won the six-point series six points to two over the Stars (13-9-2).

After a scoreless first period, Isaac Hammond got Amherstburg on the board first just over two minutes into the second period. The Storm tied it later in the period and sent it to the third period tied 1-1.

The Storm got the game-winning goal with just 5:30 to play in the third period and added a pair of goals – including an empty net goal – to go up 4-1 before Max Clifford scored in the dying seconds to round out the scoring.

“We had a couple of bad bounces on the second (Storm) goal,” said Hammond, after the game.

Amherstburg’s Max Clifford (25) attempts a wrap-around during the third period of Saturday night’s midget major OMHA playdown game in Harrow. Erie North Shore won 4-2 to win the series six games to two. Clifford and Isaac Hammond scored the goals for the Stars.

Hammond indicated it was a matter of simply not being able to score enough goals in the series as well as in Game 4.

“We couldn’t get the puck in the net when we needed it,” he said. “We couldn’t get things to go our way.”

The Stars got down on themselves after the quick goals, Hammond added, and it was tough to come back as the goals came in the latter stages of the third period.

“We couldn’t get the job done when it mattered,” he said.

Hammond believed the team can still look back on a solid 2017-18 year.

“We had a good season,” said Hammond.

This year’s setback is surprising, given that the midget majors have won OMHA titles in 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2016 and OHF titles in 2011 and 2014.

Midget Majors lose to Erie North Shore, fall behind in six-point series



By Ron Giofu


The Amherstburg Stars midget majors are in a hole and will look to climb back into their six-point OMHA playdown series this weekend.

The Stars lost 4-1 to the Erie North Shore Storm last Saturday night at the Libro Centre. The Storm took a 2-0 lead early but Brock Beaudoin’s second period goal brought the Stars within one. However, the visitors scored two times late in the third period to put the game away.

“We’ve got to be better in our own zone,” commented forward Max Clifford, after Saturday night’s game.

Dean DeLuca (white jersey) gets a scoring chance in front of the Erie North Shore goal Saturday night. The midget major Stars lost 4-1 to fall behind four points to two in their six-point series.

Clifford said they have to concentrate on making the simple plays and not doing anything outside of their roles. He added they will put the game behind them and focus on Game 4, which is this Saturday in Harrow at 7:30 p.m.

“We can’t let this hang over our heads,” said Clifford.

The Stars face elimination this Saturday as Erie North Shore leads the six-point series four points to two.

“Everyone has to be better,” said Clifford. “We have to be better as a team and as individuals.”
Clifford added they have to keep moving forward and play like they did at the end of the 2017-18 Bluewater League regular season, when they had a six-game winning streak.

“We’re in a tough spot,” he admitted, but said they have to use it to motivate them and get back into the series.

Midget Majors head to New Hamburg with OMHA semi-final series tied



By Ron Giofu


The Amherstburg Stars midget major team is heading to New Hamburg with the OMHA semi-final playdown series tied at two points apiece.

Jacob DeLuca scored 55 seconds into overtime to give the Stars a 5-4 win Sunday afternoon at the Libro Centre. It came less than 24 hours after New Hamburg had defeated the Stars 6-2 in the series’ first game.

DeLuca, who recorded a hat trick in the game, credited teammate Max Clifford for making the play to get him the puck. He said the difference between Sunday afternoon and Saturday night was they “pushed back” more Sunday.

Clifford said they entered Saturday night’s game not knowing anything about New Hamburg, a team they found out is big and skilled. He believed the win Sunday will give them confidence heading on the road this weekend.

Amherstburg's Kyran Kelly (centre, white jersey) tries to play the puck with his feet as he is surrounded by three New Hamburg players last Sunday. Amherstburg won this game 5-4 in overtime but lost 6-2 the night before, meaning the OMHA midget major playdown series is tied.

Amherstburg’s Kyran Kelly (centre, white jersey) tries to play the puck with his feet as he is surrounded by three New Hamburg players last Sunday. Amherstburg won this game 5-4 in overtime but lost 6-2 the night before, meaning the OMHA midget major playdown series is tied.

“We’ve got to go there and get it done,” said Clifford.

Head coach Glen Holden noted the fact the Stars gave up ten goals in two games, something they have to improve upon from the goalie on out.

“We have to have better defensive play,” he said, adding the ten goals in two games “is just not us.”

New Hamburg earned the Stars respect, Holden indicated.

“They are a big, physical team who brings speed to the game,” he said. “We definitely have a lot of respect for them. They are well coached. It’s a good match-up for us.”

Holden said they can’t afford to take a shift off and have to keep working if they want to beat New Hamburg.

The next two games are on the road Friday and Saturday with a fifth game, if necessary, being at the Libro Centre Sunday.