Paul Bortignon

Admirals pick up wins over Mooretown and Petrolia

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Amherstburg’s Jr. C hockey team picked up all four points that were up for grabs on the weekend, but their coach/GM still sees room for improvement.

The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals travelled to Mooretown Saturday night and came away with a 4-3 win but had to have late game heroics by Ryan Holzel in which to do it. After Cory Burns, Josh Talerico and Caleb Paquette scored in the first period to give the Admirals a 3-0 lead, they held it until the third period when Mooretown took advantage of Amherstburg penalty trouble and managed to tie the game.

Amherstburg defenseman Reid Stieler (7, left) battles for the puck with Petrolia’s Trent Jardine Sunday night.

However, Holzel scored with just 3:25 left in regulation time to give Amherstburg the win. Ben Larder stood tall in the Admirals’ net, stopping 46 of 49 shots.

The Admirals returned home Sunday night and hammered the visiting Petrolia Flyers 9-3. Dean Patterson and Paquette each scored twice with Bryce McGregor, Michael Hatch, Broden Meloche, Ryan Alexander and Holzel also scoring for Amherstburg.

Goalie Jared Ratko picked up his first win as an Admiral.

Admirals head coach/GM Paul Bortignon said the coaches want to see a better effort over 60 minutes every night.

“Obviously at this point, we’re fighting for every point,” he said. “It’s good to get the four points.”

Bortignon said the third period in Mooretown wasn’t as good as it should have been but “we fought back to get the win.” Even in the 9-3 win Sunday night, they didn’t play as well in the third period.

“We strung together 40 minutes in some games,” he said.

The Admirals have to do a better job locking down defensively and putting games away, he believed.

Amherstburg continued to make roster moves before the deadline, one of the more recent being the addition of Keegan MacVoy. Bortignon said MacVoy has got Jr. B experience and he helps bolster their blue line even further.

“For us, it was a no brainer to add him to our defense corps,” said Bortignon.

MacVoy said the Admirals were hungry to win these last two games after having lost the previous weekend to Lakeshore and Essex. He said he was happy to join the Admirals.

“I’ve been excited especially for this game,” he said after Sunday’s win over Petrolia in which he had one assist. “I’m excited to play in front of my hometown.”

Amherstburg’s Kyle Meloche (12, left) gets a scoring chance Jan. 14 against Petrolia. Amherstburg won the game 9-3.

MacVoy said they are gearing up to make a run at the PJHL Stobbs Division championship.

“I believe this team can win it all,” he said.

The Admirals (22-10-2-2, 48 points) have to increase their work ethic, MacVoy added, and stay out of the penalty box. He said there is a lot of skill on the Admirals but they have to avoid taking penalties.

The Admirals are in Wallaceburg Wednesday night before returning home to battle Lakeshore Sunday night. They travel to Wheatley to battle the Sharks next Monday night.

Admirals drop two straight over the weekend

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals’ winning streak came to a stop on the weekend thanks to a pair of defeats to local rivals.

The Admirals (20-10-2-2, 44 points) had won seven straight heading into Friday night’s game in Lakeshore but lost a 6-4 decision to the Canadiens. Lakeshore jumped out to a 3-0 first period lead on goals by Kyle Brothers, Jarrett Tazzman and Matt Smith before Travis Campbell and Caleb Paquette got the Admirals on the scoreboard before the first period was out.

Caleb Paquette (6, white jersey) drives to the net during third period action Jan. 5 at the Atlas Tube Centre in Lakeshore. Lakeshore defeated Amherstburg 6-4.

In the second period, Kyler Carter expanded Lakeshore’s lead to 4-2 but Cory Burns’ powerplay goal brought the Admirals back to within a goal. Steven Sartor’s powerplay goal of his own gave Lakeshore a 5-3 lead but a third period goal by Austin Jennings of the Admirals made it a 5-4 game.

Tazzman’s empty net goal rounded out the scoring.

“We let our guard down a couple of times and that was it,” said Admirals GM/head coach Paul Bortignon. “You can’t do that against good teams.”
Bortignon believed the Admirals “showed a lot of character in the third” but it just wasn’t their night.

“Some nights you are going to get the calls and we didn’t get the calls,” he added.

There was a flu bug that hit the Admirals Friday night, Bortignon added, but he was proud of the way they competed that night. Two nights later, though, the Admirals had a game that Bortignon called “a wake-up call” as they were thumped 5-0 by the Essex 73’s at the Libro Centre.

“I just think we had no jump,” Bortignon said after Sunday night’s game. “Flat out, we didn’t have it tonight. We were chasing the puck all night. We were chasing them all night.”

The Admirals weren’t prepared to play while the 73’s were, he believed.

Admirals forward Travis Campbell (19) knocks Essex’s Luke Gecse to the ice during the first period of their Jan. 7 game at the Libro Centre. Campbell was assessed a penalty on the play. Essex won the game 5-0.

“We were beaten by the better team tonight,” he said. “They took advantage of all of our mistakes. The score was indicative of that. They dominated for two periods and coasted in the third.”

Riley Meyerink and Anthony Cristofaro had first period goals for the 73’s while William Stadder, Quinn Fazekas and Luke Gecse had third period goals for Essex.

Bortignon said the players have to put Sunday’s game behind them quickly while the staff has to watch the game again and point out their mistakes and correct them in this week’s practices.

Jared Ratko, the team’s new backup goalie, came on in relief in both games and Bortignon said his efforts were a bright spot on the weekend. Newcomer Dylan Kolic also debuted Sunday night against Essex after being signed recently.

“We’re excited to have them for the stretch run,” said Bortignon.

The Admirals – who are battling Essex, Lakeshore, Dresden and Mooretown in a tight battle for the top spots in the PJHL Stobbs Division – don’t play again until Saturday at 7:30 p.m. when they play the Flags in Mooretown. Their next home game is Sunday at 7 p.m. when the Petrolia Flyers come to the Libro Centre.

Admirals win seventh straight game, 12th out of last 13

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals closed out the 2017 portion of their schedule with their seventh straight victory and 12th win out of their last 13 games.

The Admirals downed the last place Wallaceburg Lakers 4-1 Friday night at the Libro Centre thanks to two goals from Cory Burns and single goals from Dylan Muzzatti and Ryan Alexander. The win put them in first place in the PJHL’s Stobbs Division with a 20-8-2-2 record, good for 44 points.

Goalie Catalin Morin recorded his first win in about three months and made 17 saves. Wallaceburg got its goal from Ryan Nicholson in the final minute of the game to break the shutout.

They were one point up on both the Lakeshore Canadiens and Essex 73’s after that game, though the 73’s had a chance to regain first place Tuesday night, after this issue of the River Town Times went to press.

Amherstburg forward Zack Yott (17, dark jersey) gets a scoring chance on Wallaceburg goalie Patrick Timpany during the first period of last Friday night’s game at the Libro Centre. The Admirals won the Jr. C hockey game 4-1.

“Who would have thought we’d finish (2017) in first place with the way we played at the start of the season?” asked Admirals head coach/GM Paul Bortignon. “That’s obviously pretty important for this group.”

Bortignon said that should give the Admirals momentum as they look to finish the 2017-18 season strong. The 40-game regular season concludes at the end of January.

“We’ve had a great run and we’re going to focus on coming together and getting even better in 2018,” said Bortignon.

While acknowledging Wallaceburg’s struggles this season, Bortignon said the fact the Lakers picked up a 2-0 win last Wednesday night against Lakeshore was enough of a wake-up call for the Admirals not to let their guard down.

“That’s all we needed to get ready for this one,” he said. “Obviously, (Wallaceburg) isn’t up in the standings like other teams but a win is always good in this league.”

Bortignon said they were shorthanded three times in the third period and said they don’t want to pick up bad habits going forward, but was happy with the defensive effort and the Lakers’ low shot total.

The Admirals also played last Wednesday, a 3-2 win over the visiting Dresden Jr. Kings. After Dresden opened the scoring on a Will Tetzlaff goal, Travis Campbell, Michael Hatch and Josh Talerico scored before the first period was over to give Amherstburg a 3-1 lead. Cory Lucier cut it to 3-2 just 35 seconds into the second period but the teams were scoreless after that.

Ben Larder made 33 saves on the night for the Admirals.

“We got the win but it was not the best of efforts,” Bortignon said after Wednesday night’s game. “It was sloppy at both ends.”

Broden Meloche (71) of the Admirals drives to the net during the third period of last Wednesday night’s 3-2 win over the Dresden Jr. Kings at the Libro Centre. Also pictured is Dresden’s Cory Lucier.

The Admirals had two big penalty kills in the game’s final ten minutes, said Bortignon, and managed to shake off some rust that had accumulated over the Christmas break.

“You don’t want to make excuses, but it showed,” said Bortignon, of the layoff.

He added: “That’s one game where the guys kept fighting and fighting and they fought for the win and the two points.”

The Admirals battle the Canadiens in Lakeshore Friday night and the 73’s come to the Libro Centre Sunday night. Both games start at 7 p.m.

Admirals keep rolling with wins over Essex and Lakeshore

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals’ hot streak continues after a pair of big wins over the weekend.

The Admirals have now won ten out of their last 11 games after beating Lakeshore 6-3 Sunday night and Essex 3-2 Saturday night. The three Essex County-based teams are battling for first place in the PJHL’s Stobbs Division with the Admirals being able to join that mix due to their recent hot streak.

Caleb Paquette led the way for the Admirals Sunday versus Lakeshore, as he scored four of Amherstburg’s six goals.

Caleb Paquette scores one of his four goals Sunday night versus Lakeshore.

“I’ve honestly never scored four goals in a junior hockey game,” said Paquette. “Lakeshore is number one (in the division) so that definitely makes it feel special.”

Paquette said the rest of the team also feels good after picking up that win as well as the win over the 73’s the previous night. He pointed out that he felt good coming into Sunday night’s game with the Canadiens.

“I actually said to Cory Burns that I was going to score,” said Paquette.

The Admirals maintained a good work ethic during both games, he added, and kept the pressure on both the 73’s and Canadiens.

“They are very good teams but we worked harder and came up with the wins,” he said.

Paquette added the Admirals go into the Christmas break with some confidence and believes if they keep working hard, they can continue to play well when they resume their schedule Dec. 27.

Ryan Alexander and Burns also scored against Lakeshore.

Burns also scored a pair against Essex Saturday night, including the game winning goal with just 1:14 to play in the third period. The 73’s led 2-1 going into the third period but Amherstburg scored twice in the final 20 minutes to pull out the victory.

Paquette added the other goal against the 73’s. Ben Larder picked up the wins in goal in both weekend games.

“We talked about this weekend for a while,” said Admirals head coach/GM Paul Bortignon.

Bortignon said they talked about getting all four points if they worked for 60 minutes in both games, and that is what happened.

“Those two wins, those are on those guys,” he said of the players. “They were incredible from the goalie all the way out.”

Bortignon also used the word “incredible” to describe the play of the line of Burns, Paquette and Josh Talerico over the weekend. Their play is among the best Bortignon said they have seen in the current hockey staff’s four years with the team.

Cory Burns scores against Lakeshore Sunday night.

The Admirals knew they would have to get rolling to dig themselves out of an early season hole but the current hot streak is above even their expectations, he believed.

“It shows the character of our team,” said Bortignon.

The attitude of the team has changed, and that started with a 4-0 loss to Mooretown at home Nov. 12. They had a team meeting after that game and have played well since.

“The energy since that loss has been incredible,” said Bortignon.

The Admirals thanked the fans for their support over the weekend and wish the town a Merry Christmas. Their next two games are both at home as Dresden comes to town Dec. 27 and Wallaceburg is in Amherstburg Dec. 29. Both games are at 7 p.m.

Admirals pick up three of four points on the weekend

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

It wasn’t a perfect weekend for Amherstburg’s Jr. C hockey team, but it was close.

The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals picked up three of four points over the weekend, with the latter of the two games being a 5-2 victory over the Wheatley Sharks Sunday night at the Libro Centre. Cory Burns gave the Admirals a 1-0 lead in the second period with Travis Campbell and Caleb Paquette extending the lead in the second period.

Amherstburg’s Cory Burns breaks in on Wheatley goalie Dylan Zelko before scoring the game’s first goal Sunday night.

After Dawson Iles got Wheatley on the board early in the third period, Dylan Muzzatti put the game away for the Admirals with a pair of goals. Cole Butler scored late in the game for Wheatley but the game was already in hand for the Admirals by that point.

The third period saw some fireworks with a trio of fights with Dean Patterson, Ryan Alexander and Josh Talerico taking on Wheatley opposition in the fisticuffs department. Admirals head coach/GM Paul Bortignon expected some disciplinary action as a result of the third period fights.

“I thought it was a little of the same from (Nov. 27, a 6-3 Amherstburg win in Wheatley),” said Bortignon. “It got a little carried away tonight. It doesn’t really show on the score sheet, but I thought our guys kept their composure as much as they could.”

Even if they lose players due to suspension, Bortignon said “we’ve always been a next man up team” and they have to move forward this week.

Bortignon said picking up three of four points this past weekend “is big for us” and said all wins are big in the PJHL Stobbs Division. Their forecheck was good Sunday night, he said, and their defense got their shots through and allowed their forwards to do a good job banging home pucks.

Admirals’ defenseman Dean Patterson (right) takes down Wheatley’s Dawson Iles as part of a third period fight Sunday night at the Libro Centre. The Admirals won the hockey game 5-2.

The Admirals were in Mooretown Saturday night and lost 3-2 in overtime. Joe Ferrera scored a powerplay goal in the first period for the Flags but Paquette scored in the second period to tie it. The Flags’ Landon Wilson made it a 2-1 game early in the third but Burns tied it a few minutes later.

Brent Blais won it 30 seconds into overtime for Mooretown.

Cole Welsh and David Cooke each received game misconducts late in the game – Welsh for charging the goaltender and Cooke for abuse of officials – and did not play Sunday.

“We came out slow but we stepped up in the second and third period,” said Bortignon.

Bortignon said Mooretown is a tough place to play but they came close to winning, as it was literally a game of inches. After Amherstburg hit the crossbar early in overtime, Mooretown buried a chance just under the crossbar seconds later.

The Admirals (14-8-2-2, 32 points, third place) are in Petrolia Thursday night and in Blenheim this Sunday. Their next home game is Dec. 16 versus the Essex 73’s at 7:30 p.m. while Lakeshore comes to the Libro Centre the next night at 7 p.m.