Pat Garrett

General Amherst taking young team into 2018-19 WECSSAA boys hockey season

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs dropped to 0-2 on the WECSSAA boys hockey season last week but the coaches were not disappointed with what they saw.

The Bulldogs, who dropped their opening game 4-1 at Belle River two weeks ago, faced off with the St. Thomas of Villanova Wildcats last Thursday afternoon at the Vollmer Centre in LaSalle. The teams were close for the first half of the game before the Wildcats opened it up and came away with an 8-2 victory.

General Amherst head coach Pat Garrett said they missed about six players in the game, including their entire top line, due to illness or other commitments.

“I can’t say enough about our Grade 9’s and 10’s,” said Garrett. “They didn’t play poorly.”

Assistant coach Joe Shaw agreed, noting they were also missing their number one goalie. He added the Grade 10 players “did pretty well” and that “I’m not disappointed with this game at all.”

Shaw pointed out the Bulldogs only had two lines to put out on the ice against the larger Villanova squad.

General Amherst’s Sebastian Tronchin celebrates a first period goal during last Thursday’s game at the Vollmer Centre in LaSalle. Villanova won the game 8-2.

“They played hard,” Shaw said of the Bulldogs. “The Grade 9’s and 10’s played well.”

Garrett said they played well in Belle River as well with goalie Jacob Lister having a good game.

This year’s team has only two Grade 12 players, Garrett noted.

“I’ve had OFSAA teams with nine Grade 12’s,” he said. “It’s a big difference.”

Garrett added it’s the first time in the 14 years he’s been coaching the Amherst hockey program that he’s had more Grade 9’s and 10’s than 11 and 12’s.

“It’s exciting to see that many Grade 9’s came out and made the team,” he said. “That almost never happened in the past. We’ve got really good Grade 9’s this year and really good Grade 10’s.”

The Bulldogs’ home opener is Thursday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. against the St. Anne Saints.

Bulldogs boys hockey team’s season ends in disappointing fashion

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs boys hockey team’s season ended in disappointing style last week.

The Bulldogs were swept in two straight games in the WECSSAA “AA” finals by the Belle River Nobles. The first game in the best-of-three series was at the Libro Centre Feb. 28 and saw the Nobles come away with a 4-3 overtime victory.

The Nobles took a 3-0 lead in that game and General Amherst came back to tie it at three and forced overtime thanks to a strong third period.

“We put together a period of hockey where we were impossible to beat,” said Bulldogs head coach Pat Garrett. “We dominated the first two minutes of overtime and then Belle River gets a fluky goal and wins it. It was pretty disappointing.”

Brock Beaudoin scored twice for the Bulldogs while Isaac Hammond had the other.

General Amherst head coach Pat Garrett discusses strategy during a timeout in the third period of a recent game at the Libro Centre. The Bulldogs advanced to the WECSSAA “AA” finals but lost in two straight games to the Belle River Nobles in the best-of-three series.

The next day, the two teams faced off at the Atlas Tube Centre in Lakeshore for Game 2. Things started well for the Bulldogs as they scored the first goal. General Amherst had a 2-1 third period advantage but Garrett said penalty trouble due to “significantly undisciplined play” led to them being down 4-2 in a short period of time.

Game 2 ended up 5-2 and the Nobles were WECSSAA champs.

Josh DiCarlo and Beaudoin scored for the Bulldogs.

“Every year you have a goal to win,” said Garrett. “I really felt we had the group to take a WECSSAA championship.”

The Bulldogs hoped for another chance last Tuesday afternoon as Belle River faced off with Lambton Central for the SWOSSAA “AA” championship. A Belle River win would have seen the Bulldogs have an opportunity to challenge for the region’s second OFSAA berth but the Nobles fell short and officially ended the Bulldogs’ season.

“I would have liked to have seen us move on but I would have liked to see us move on as WECSSAA champions,” said Garrett.

Garrett, who coached the team with Joe Shaw this year, praised not only the commitment of the players this season but the parents as well. He pointed out it was a long season as it started back in November but the parents and grandparents stuck with the team and showed continued support.

Bulldogs advance to WECSSAA “AA” boys hockey final

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs boys hockey team has advanced to the WECSSAA “AA” finals.

The Bulldogs won the third and deciding game of their best-of-three semi-final series with the Essex Red Raiders thanks to a 5-1 victory Monday afternoon at the Libro Centre. The teams played a scoreless first period but second period goals from Cole Zelle, Isaac Hammond and Josh DiCarlo put the Bulldogs in command heading for the third. Max Clifford’s two third period goals sandwiched Essex’s only goal and put the game away for the Bulldogs.

“That’s more like it,” said General Amherst head coach Pat Garrett. “It’s nice to move on and be in the finals.”

General Amherst forward Brock Beaudoin attempts a wraparound during the first game of the best-of-three series vs. Essex. Amherst lost Game 1 3-2 but won the series with wins in Game 2 (2-1 in OT) and Game 3 (5-1).

The Bulldogs are one step closer to OFSAA, and Garrett said he would like the Bulldogs to advance to the provincial tournament especially for the younger players who haven’t already been there.

Zelle said it felt good to advance.

“After we lost the first game, we came in focused in the next game and we knew we could beat them,” said Zelle. “Today, once we got the first (goal), all the guys were rolling.”

The Bulldogs are playing with confidence and Zelle added “we’re ready for whoever comes next.”

Bulldogs advance to WECSSAA “AA” boys hockey final.

A third game was necessary thanks to a three-minute stretch of the third period in Game 1 last Wednesday in Amherstburg. After Lee Sinasac and DiCarlo gave the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead after two periods in that game, Essex scored twice in the first 40 seconds of the third period of that game and another just moments later to take the lead and eventually win 3-2.

“Everyone got back on their heels,” Garrett said. “I still think we had a lot of opportunities in the third. I think we outshot them.”

General Amherst tied the series last Thursday in Essex thanks to a 2-1 overtime win. DiCarlo scored 1:29 into overtime to give the Bulldogs the win with Hammond scoring the other goal.

“It feels good. We talked about getting to the finals all year,” DiCarlo said after Game 2. “We were prepared for the game. It helped a lot.”

DiCarlo said they played well defensively, limited Essex’s scoring chances and tightened up their game.

The Bulldogs will play the winner of the Belle River-L’Essor series, with Game 1 scheduled for Wednesday afternoon in Amherstburg.

Bulldogs end regular season in first, build momentum towards hockey playoffs

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs boys hockey team finished the regular season in first place in their division after three wins last week.

The Bulldogs finished the regular season 8-2-2, good for 18 points. They edged out L’Essor (17 points) and Belle River (16 points) for top spot in the WECSSAA “AA” Cullen Conference.

All three games last week were at the Libro Centre.

The Bulldogs wrapped up top spot with a 4-3 win over the Essex Red Raiders. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 3-0 lead on goals from Brock Beaudoin, Max Clifford and team captain Josh DiCarlo before Essex rallied to tie the game early in the second period. Beaudoin wired home his second of the game later in the second period and Amherst shut the opposition down the rest of the way.

“It was a big win,” said DiCarlo. “It gave us first place.”

General Amherst forward Max Clifford (right) gets a scoring chance on Essex goalie Chase Cosgrove during the Bulldogs’ final regular season game last Thursday afternoon at the Libro Centre. The Bulldogs defeated the Red Raiders to wrap up the regular season in first place in their division.

DiCarlo said they talked all year about finishing in first place heading into the playoffs and they achieved that goal. The Bulldogs received a first-round bye thanks to the victory.

“In the third period, we shut them down,” he said. “We could have had a couple of more goals. We had a lot of opportunities.”

The Bulldogs have momentum heading into the playoffs, he added.

“We’re rolling,” said DiCarlo. “Our better players are starting to put the puck in the net.”

General Amherst head coach Pat Garrett said it’s been a tight battle and believes his players earned the right to be in first place going into the playoffs.

“They deserve first place,” he said. “The real reward could come in a couple of weeks at the end of the playoffs. I’d like to be there looking at a SWOSSAA game.”

Garrett – who coaches the team with Joe Shaw – pointed out that if they want to win a title, they can’t take any team lightly along the way.

“If you look at the standings, there are about four teams that can legitimately go to the finals,” said Garrett.

The Bulldogs squared off with L’Essor Wednesday and won a high-scoring 9-5 affair. Beaudoin, Clifford and DiCarlo each scored twice in the win with Isaac Hammond, Cole Zelle and Max Jones also scored.

Garrett said they were down 4-1 in the first six minutes but managed to find a way to win.

“We came out very flat in an important game,” he said. “The kids made some adjustments and rallied.”

General Amherst’s Brock Beaudoing (19) scores a second period goal during the Bulldogs’ 4-3 victory over the Essex Red Raiders last week. Beaudoin has nine goals in his last four WECSSAA games.

Garrett said they were able to overcome adversity and battle back, with the team’s better players showing why they are the better players.

“All of our big game players are getting the job done,” he said. “You need to be rolling before the playoffs.

The other game of the week was a 6-1 win over the Brennan Cardinals. Russel Morencie and Beaudoin each scored a pair with Jones and Lee Sinasac adding the other goals.

The playoff schedule had not been finalized as of press time.

Bulldogs split two games in WECSSAA boys hockey action

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs boys hockey team heads into the exam break with a 5-2-2 record after a win and a loss last week.

The Bulldogs’ first game of the week was a 4-3 defeat at the hands of the visiting Belle River Nobles. Cole Zelle scored twice in the loss while Josh DiCarlo added the other goal.

“We blew a couple of two-goal leads,” said General Amherst head coach Pat Garrett.

The Bulldogs led 2-0 before Belle River made it a 2-1 game then held a 3-1 lead after two periods. After Belle River had made it 3-2 in the third period, the Nobles pulled their goalie late and made it 3-3. Garrett said the Bulldogs may have become too tense after the tying goal and subsequently allowed the game winner with seconds remaining.

“It was kind of a letdown on our behalf. We let up a little bit,” said Garrett.

Garrett believed the Bulldogs didn’t play poorly against Belle River but hopes not getting any points doesn’t haunt them in the fight for playoff positioning later in the season.

“I think it might be a little bit of a learning lesson for us,” he said of the Belle River game.

In terms of the games developed on the scoreboard, the Bulldogs were on the opposite end of a comeback the next day in Kingsville. The Bulldogs and Cavaliers faced off with Kingsville taking a 3-1 lead on their home ice after two periods before the Bulldogs scored three goals in the third period to win 4-3.

Garrett said it was their first time in Kingsville in several years and the Bulldogs had to adapt to a smaller ice surface. After getting down by two goals after two periods, Garrett said he reminded the Bulldogs of what happened the day before and that they could come back too.

“We went out and played an incredible third period,” he added.

Brock Beaudoin led the way for General Amherst with three goals while Zelle had the other.

After the exam break, the Bulldogs have three games on consecutive days – Feb. 6-8 – with all games being at the Libro Centre. The opponents will be Brennan, L’Essor and Essex respectively with all games scheduled for 3 p.m. starts.