Paul Bortignon

Season ends for Admirals at the hands of Essex 73’s

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The season is over for the Amherstburg Admirals.

The Admirals lost in four straight games to the Essex 73’s, the fourth and final game being a 5-2 defeat Sunday night at the Libro Centre. Travis Campbell and Michael Hatch gave the Admirals a 2-0 lead but Essex would score the next five and end the Admirals’ season.

Essex had won 2-1 in Game 3 the night before to push the Admirals to the brink of elimination from the PJHL Stobbs Division semi-final series with Josh DiCarlo scoring the lone goal in that game for Amherstburg. The 73’s now await the winner of the other semi-final between the Lakeshore Canadiens and Dresden Jr. Kings.

Amherstburg’s Bryce McGregor (18) gets a scoring chance on Essex goalie Connor Meyerink during Game 2.

“I told the guys we obviously did good things this year with records and stuff,” said Amherstburg head coach Paul Bortignon.

Bortignon called it “one of the most competitive four-game sweeps I’ve ever been a part of.” With the exception of a 6-2 loss in Game 2 last Thursday night in Amherstburg, Bortignon said every game was there for the taking in the third period.

“(Essex) just found ways to get goals at the right time and found breaks in the games,” he said. “Essex had results in the third period. Hats off to them.”

In Game 2, Bortignon said they allowed “too many easy goals” with many coming off of rebounds. He pulled starting goalie Ben Larder in favour of backup Jared Ratko hoping to change the momentum but it didn’t work, noting they didn’t get a shot in the first ten minutes of the third period. Andrew Clark and Ty Moss scored for the Admirals that night.

Admirals captain Austin Jennings chats with referee Nick Long during the first overtime in Game 1 in Essex.

The first game, played last Tuesday night in Essex, saw the 73’s win 3-2 in double overtime. Caleb Paquette and Cory Burns scored for the Admirals with Burns unable to score on a penalty shot in overtime. The Admirals looked to have won it in the first overtime that night, but a goal was called back thanks to a spearing penalty.

Bortignon said after Game 4 that he believes the Admirals have the physical ability of Essex but praised the 73’s mental toughness. He said they will work on improving that in the off-season, adding they will be back in the coming weeks with their mini-camp to get ready for the 2019-20 season.

Amherstburg’s Ty Moss (14) carries the puck up the ice during Game 2.

The Admirals bid farewell to overage players Burns, Larder, Campbell and team captain Austin Jennings, with those players being thanked for their efforts to the organization.

Team co-owner Wes Ewer added that they are grateful to the fans for their support as well as the sponsors. He said they are looking forward to many more years to come in Amherstburg.

Admirals sweep Flags, advance to semi-finals

 

 

By Christian Bouchard

 

The Amherstburg Admirals are back in the semifinals.

The Admirals have avenged their Game 7 loss from last season against the Mooretown Flags by sweeping the best-of-seven series 4-0 and are now in the semifinals of the PJHL Stobbs division.

The offense exploded for six goals on the road in Game 4 last Wednesday night. Josh Talerico would score two goals while Cole Welsh, Austin Jennings and Cory Burns would each have at least a goal and an assist. Goalie Ben Larder stopped 49 of the 50 shots he faced in net.

According to Larder, from start to finish, nobody backed down. He added the series sweep was “redemption for sure.”

“Everyone’s giving a full effort now,” said Talerico, who scored six goals in the four game series. “It’s good to get the sweep and get the rest we need.”

Travis Campbell (19) and Cole Welsh (4) celebrate Cory Burns first period goal during Game 4 against Mooretown.

With their ninth straight victory, the Admirals will now face the first place Essex 73’s in the semifinals. Amherstburg has never beaten the 73’s in the playoffs, including back-to-back loses in the finals. The last time Amherstburg and Essex faced each other in the playoffs was in 2017 when Essex swept the best-of-seven series 4-0.

Despite what the history books have to say, Larder is confident his team has what it takes to defeat the 73’s and advance to the finals.

“Essex is a good hockey team all around,” said Larder. “We’re expecting a tough series and we’re prepared. Everyone is sacrificing and showing how bad they want to win.”

The 73’s top line of Josh Pope-Ferguson, William Stadder and Michael Vieira have accounted for 77 of the 155 goals (49.6 per cent) scored during the regular season for Essex.

According to Talerico, while shutting down the top line will be a major key to victory, the Admirals must remember they have four lines of their own capable of scoring.

Josh Talerico (24) scores one of his team’s six goals during the Feb. 13 series clinching game at Mooretown. The Admirals swept the Flags in four straight games and play the Essex 73’s in the PJHL Stobbs Division semi-final starting Feb. 19 in Essex.

“Shutting down their top line and playing our game is key,” said Talerico. “Once we get going, it’s hard for teams to stop us.”

The best-of-seven series began Tuesday night in Essex after this issue of the RTT went to press. Game 2 is Thursday at the Libro Centre at 7 p.m. while Game 3 is back in Essex Saturday at 6:45 p.m. Game 4 is in Amherstburg Sunday at 7 p.m.

If necessary, Game 5 is next Tuesday in Essex at 7 p.m. while Game 6 would be in Amherstburg March 1 at 7:30 p.m. Should a Game 7 be required, it would be March 3 in Essex at 2:30 p.m.

Admirals take commanding 3-0 series lead vs. Mooretown

 

 

By Christian Bouchard and Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Admirals are one win away from advancing to the semi-finals of the PJHL Stobbs Division playoffs.

Josh Talerico scored a hat trick Saturday night in Game 2 to help lead the Admirals to a 5-4 victory in Mooretown against the Flags. Cory Burns and Travis Campbell each added a goal and an assist in the win.

Amherstburg would continue their excellent play on home ice Sunday night to take a commanding 3-0 series lead. Bryce McGregor scored less than two minutes into the third period to tie the game 1-1. The game would remain tied until Josh DiCarlo scored with 3:01 remaining in regulation to secure the 2-1 victory.  The win extended the Admirals winning streak to eight games.

Members of the Mooretown Flags leave their bench dejectedly as the Amherstburg Admirals celebrate behind them after Game 3 Feb. 10. The Admirals hold a 3-0 lead in the PJHL Stobbs Division quarterfinal heading into Wednesday night’s Game 4 in Mooretown.

“I’m looking forward to Wednesday,” said DiCarlo. “We want to get out of here in four games and get the rest we need to prepare for our next opponent.”

Admirals head coach Paul Bortignon said the team has entered the playoffs with the mentality of not chasing after games and it has proven to help achieve a 3-0 series lead.

“We were down 1-0 tonight (Game 3) but we didn’t push to get the goal every shift,” said Bortignon. “We did a good job keeping it a one goal game opposed to trying to tie it every shift.”

According to Bortignon, Game 4 in Mooretown will be viewed as a “must win game.”

“We’re heading into Mooretown Wednesday night and trying to end the series,” said Bortignon. “As much as we love our fans and love playing here (Libro Centre), it needs to end in four for us.”

The Admirals downed the Flags 5-3 last Wednesday night at the Libro Centre in Game 1 of the best-of-seven series with third period goals by Reid Stieler and Caleb Paquette putting Amherstburg in the lead for good. Amherstburg got a first period goal by Paquette and second period goals by Josh Talerico and Dean DeLuca to go up 3-0 but Mooretown scored three times within an eight-minute span later in the second period to make it a 3-3 game after 40 minutes. Brock Perry, Garrett Miller and Cade Robbins scored for the Flags.

“It’s one of 12 (wins),” Admirals head coach Paul Bortignon, as the team eyes its first division title in franchise history.

Josh DiCarlo and Caleb Paquette (6) celebrate DiCarlo’s game-winning goal in Sunday night’s 2-1 victory.

The win wasn’t the prettiest, but the Admirals will take it.

“Obviously, it’s probably not the way you draw it up,” he said.

After the 3-0 lead “vanished,” Bortignon was pleased with the way his team bounced back.

“We did a good job regrouping. Discipline played a big role in the third period,” he said. “It’s a big win. If we wouldn’t have come back and got the win, that’s a lot of adversity early in the series.”

A win Wednesday night for the Admirals will end the series and advance them to the semi-final round. If necessary, Game 5 will be Friday night in Amherstburg with Game 6 going Saturday in Mooretown and a final Game 7 being held in Amherstburg Sunday night.

Admirals win Game 1 of PJHL Stobbs Division quarterfinal

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Admirals have struck first in their PJHL Stobbs Division quarterfinal series with Mooretown.

The Admirals downed the Flags 5-3 last Wednesday night at the Libro Centre with third period goals by Reid Stieler and Caleb Paquette putting Amherstburg in the lead for good. Amherstburg got a first period goal by Paquette and second period goals by Josh Talerico and Dean DeLuca to go up 3-0 but Mooretown scored three times within an eight-minute span later in the second period to make it a 3-3 game after 40 minutes. Brock Perry, Garrett Miller and Cade Robbins scored for the Flags.

Amherstburg’s Kyle Meloche (12) looks for a scoring chance on Mooretown goalie Jake Wilkins during the third period of Game 1 of the PJHL Stobbs Division quarterfinal series Feb. 6. Game 2 is in Mooretown Saturday night and return to Amherstburg for Game 3 Sunday night.

“It’s one of 12 (wins),” Admirals head coach Paul Bortignon, as the team eyes its first division title in franchise history.

The win wasn’t the prettiest, but the Admirals will take it.

“Obviously, it’s probably not the way you draw it up,” he said.

After the 3-0 lead “vanished,” Bortignon was pleased with the way his team bounced back.

“We did a good job regrouping. Discipline played a big role in the third period,” he said. “It’s a big win. If we wouldn’t have come back and got the win, that’s a lot of adversity early in the series.”

The Amherstburg Admirals celebrate Reid Stieler’s third period goal Wednesday night versus Mooretown. It turned out to be the game-winner.

Bortignon said “we knew it’s going to be a battle” against Mooretown as “they are a very, very good team.” He added he knows it will be tough in Game 2 in Mooretown as it is a tough place to play for visitors.

The Flags host Game 2 Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. with Game 3 being back in Amherstburg Sunday night at 7 p.m. Results will be posted after each game on the River Town Times’ Twitter page.

Admirals honour overage players, prepare for playoffs

 

 

By Christian Bouchard

 

Four Amherstburg Admirals celebrated a bittersweet victory Sunday night.

Cory Burns, Travis Campbell, Austin Jennings and Ben Larder are all aging out of the league and played in their final regular season home game before playoffs begin in February.

The Admirals were led to victory by the overagers in Sunday’s 5-1 victory over the Wheatley Sharks. Burns, Campbell and Jennings would each score for the Admirals while Ben Larder recorder recorded 24 saves for the win and also added an assist.

The win improves the Admirals record to 28-9-0-3, good for 59 points for the season, which is a new franchise record in points and tied for most wins. The Admirals also set a new franchise record for fewest goals against, with 88. It was also the first time the Admirals allowed fewer than 100 goals in a season.

Admirals overage players Austin Jennings, Cory Burns, Travis Campbell and Ben Larder were joined by their families and team co-owners Matt Fox, Gaspare Spada and Wes Ewer for a special ceremony honouring them prior to Sunday night’s home game with Wheatley. It was the final regular season game of the 2018-19 season for the Admirals.

The Admirals have secured a top four spot in the playoffs, ranging from the second to fourth seed.  With a couple games remaining in the regular season for other teams, the Admirals wait to find out who their first round matchup will be.

While the Admirals remain patient, they have one thing on their minds: winning a championship.

“To win a championship for this town would mean everything,” said Ben Larder, the franchise leader in wins, save percentage and shutouts. “It’s something I always wanted and something I’ll work endlessly to achieve.”

According to head coach Paul Bortignon, the four overage players did an excellent job this season leading by example and teaching the younger players what it takes to build a championship team.

Amherstburg’s Ty Moss (left) reacts after one of his team’s five goals versus Wheatley.

“The OAs did a great job,” added Bortignon. “I always believe you’re going to go as far as your OAs take you and we got a great group this year. Hopefully that leads to 12 more wins in the Stobbs division playoffs.”

Since entering the division in 2013, the Admirals have never won a Stobbs Division championship. Despite several seasons of tough losses, the Admirals players and coaches said they’ve learned from the past and think they have the team to win a championship this year.

“This team wants it more than any other team I’ve ever been a part of,” said Burns, the Admirals franchise leader in points. “We don’t want to relive the pain from last year.”

The Admirals playoff schedule and matchup has not yet been posted.

The Jr. C hockey team has also released its playoff video. It can be found here: