Paul Bortignon

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.

Admirals extend winning streak to five games

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals winning streak is now at five games after a win in Wheatley Monday night.

The Admirals won 6-3 thanks to two goals from Ryan Alexander and single goals from Bryce McGregor, Josh Talerico, Dylan Muzzatti and Austin Jennings. The win improves Amherstburg’s record to 13-8-2-1, good for 29 points and fourth place in the PJHL Stobbs Division.

Ben Larder had 28 saves Monday night for the Admirals.

Amherstburg’s Travis Campbell (19) gets a scoring chance on Wallaceburg goalie Patrick Timpany during Sunday night’s game at the Libro Centre. Amherstburg defeated the Lakers 8-1.

The Admirals opened the week with a 6-3 win in Blenheim last Thursday night. McGregor led the way with his first Jr. C hat trick. Head coach/GM Paul Bortignon said they played a solid game throughout.

“I thought we controlled most of that game,” he said. “We played well through two periods. In the third period, I thought we executed very well.”

Also scoring for Amherstburg were Alexander, Ryan Holzel and Cory Burns.

The offence kept rolling Sunday night when the Admirals welcomed the last place Wallaceburg Lakers to the Libro Centre. Amherstburg used a six-goal second period to propel them to an 8-1 win. Four of the Admirals’ eight goals came on the powerplay.

Zack Yott and Talerico each scored twice versus the Lakers with McGregor, Jennings, Travis Campbell and Holzel also scoring.

“For the first period, I thought we were a little slow,” said Bortignon. “A lot of what we put to the net in the second period found its way in. A lot of guys contributed tonight.”

Josh Talerico (24) scores a third period goal against Wallaceburg Sunday night.

The turning point, he believed, was a second period five-on-three powerplay in which the Admirals scored twice.

Bortignon said he thought the Admirals’ defense were “pretty solid” and made some adjustments after the first period that paid off in the second and third periods. Despite beating the last place team, Bortignon emphasized that all wins are important in the PJHL’s Stobbs Division.

Goalie Chris Mitre relieved Larder with just over five minutes to go against Wallaceburg and got his first taste of Jr. C experience. Mitre was called up from the Amherstburg Stars juvenile team while Catalin Morin recovers from injury.

The Admirals play a pair of games this weekend, one on the road and one at home. Amherstburg is in Mooretown this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. while Wheatley comes to town Sunday at 7 p.m.

Admirals pick up pair of 4-1 victories over past week

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals won twice last week, each by a score of 4-1.

The most recent of the 4-1 wins was Sunday night at the Libro Centre, when the Admirals knocked off the Petrolia Flyers. Ben Larder made 37 saves in the win with Ryan Alexander, Cory Burns, Luc Warnock and Josh Talerico finding the back of the net for Amherstburg.

Amherstburg’s Ryan Holzel (14, left) gets a scoring chance on Petrolia Flyers’ goalie Riley Collins during the third period of Sunday night’s game. The Admirals downed Petrolia 4-1.

Amherstburg snapped Petrolia’s seven-game winning streak by defeating the Flyers Sunday night.

The other game of the week was last Wednesday night in Wallaceburg. Burns, Dylan Muzzatti and Warnock put Amherstburg up 3-0 after one period with Talerico adding a third period goal in that 4-1 win. Larder made 30 saves against the Lakers.

“We looked at these as must-win games,” Admirals head coach/GM Paul Bortignon. “It was definitely a big week for us and four big points for us.”

Bortignon said the win in Wallaceburg “went as planned” as the Admirals built an early lead and was pleased with Sunday night’s effort against Petrolia as well, noting they snapped the Flyers winning streak.

“I thought we did a good job in the first two periods and getting on (Petrolia’s) D (defense),” said Bortignon.

Bortignon said their intensity seemed to reduce after they built a 4-0 lead but still got a big win.

“In this league, any time you win a game is a big win,” he said.

Cory Burns (9, left) and Ryan Alexander (16, right) celebrate Burns’ second period goal Sunday night.

The Admirals started off the second half of their schedule well, Bortignon added, and will look to continue that Thursday night in Blenheim. The Blades have struggled somewhat this season but picked up a big win on home ice Sunday night against the Lakeshore Canadiens and Bortignon said Amherstburg will have to play hard for 60 minutes Thursday night.

The Admirals (10-8-2-1, 23 points) will host Wallaceburg Sunday night and will travel to Wheatley next Monday night.

In a related note, Ken Manley won an iPad courtesy of a Score-O game sponsored by Storey & Denomme Family Dentistry in the second intermission. Jay Proctor took the shot on Manley’s behalf. It was the third iPad given away this season.