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.

Lady Gens advance in WECSSAA “AA” volleyball playoffs



By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Lady Gens advanced in the WECSSAA “AA” senior girls volleyball playoffs last week with a quarterfinal win over Kingsville.

The Lady Gens, who finished the regular season 8-2, swept the Cavaliers 25-19, 25-12 and 25-9 last Thursday night at General Amherst. The match didn’t start as well as the Lady Gens would have hoped, with assistant coach Mary Ewer pointing out that Kingsville went hard after every ball in the first set while the Lady Gens didn’t come out as strong as they could have.

General Amherst’s Vanessa Pidutti (9) leaps in order to hit the ball over the net during her team’s sweep of the Kingsville Cavaliers in WECSSAA “AA” girls volleyball playoffs Feb. 7.

The two teams were tied at ten in the second set, but Ewer pointed out that Dani Brindley got on a roll with her serving and that led to 14 points for General Amherst.

“In the third set, we took it to them,” said Ewer.

Head coach Jeff Miller agreed that “we did not play well in the fist game. We were pretty sloppy.” He added that in the second half of the second set is when they pulled it together.

Miller noted they didn’t warm up well and that carried over into the match.

“You can pretty much tell where their mind is,” he said.

Miller added that Brindley’s serving helped turn the game into the Lady Gens’ favour.

“She served some bullets to the right areas and we got some confidence from Dani’s good serving,” said Miller.

The Lady Gens hosted the semi-finals Tuesday night after this issue of the RTT went to press. If they advanced, the finals will be Thursday night at St. Clair College at 7:30 p.m.

“It would be nice to have a good week and bring the trophy back,” said Miller.

General Amherst also played in a Chatham-Kent tournament the weekend before and finished third out of 15 teams. Miller said the field was made up of “AAA” level talent and that the Lady Gens fared well.

Admirals have opportunity for revenge thanks to playoff rematch vs. Mooretown


By Ron Giofu


The Amherstburg Admirals now know who their opponents will be in the opening round of the PJHL Stobbs Division playoffs.

The Admirals, who finished in fourth place in the standings due to Dresden and Lakeshore passing them in the final week, will face off with the fifth place Mooretown Flags in the division quarterfinals. The best-of-seven series will be a rematch of the 2018 Stobbs Division playoffs, which ended with Mooretown winning the seventh and deciding game 1-0 at the Libro Centre.

Amherstburg will again have the home ice advantage as Game 1 will be Wednesday (Feb. 6) at the Libro Centre at 7 p.m. The series then shifts to Mooretown for Game 2 Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and then returns to Amherstburg Sunday night for Game 3 at 7 p.m. Game 4 of the series will be next Wednesday, Feb. 13, back in Mooretown with the puck drop scheduled to be at 8 p.m.

Cory Burns (9) celebrates Caleb Paquette’s (A) second period goal with Josh Talerico (24) and Michael Hatch (far right) during an Admirals overtime win over Mooretown in October. The two teams meet in the fist round of the PJHL Stobbs Division playoffs, starting Feb. 6 at the Libro Centre.

If necessary, the fifth game of the series will be at the Libro Centre Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. and a potential sixth game would be in Mooretown Feb. 16 at 7:30 p.m.

Should the series go to a Game 7, that would be played Feb. 17 at the Libro Centre starting at 7 p.m.

Home ice advantage could prove beneficial for Amherstburg this year. The Admirals won the closely contested season series with the Flags three games to two with the home team winning every game. Mooretown won in their own rink 4-2 Sept. 22 with the Admirals returning the favour in Amherstburg 3-2 Oct. 14, the latter game going to overtime.

The two teams also went to overtime Nov. 3 in Mooretown, with the Flags taking a 4-3 decision.

Amherstburg won 3-1 at the Libro Centre Nov. 18 and blanked the Flags 4-0 Dec. 16.

The Admirals finished the PJHL Stobbs Division with a 28-9-0-3 record, tying their franchise record in wins and setting a new record in points with 59. Despite the fourth place finish, they were only four points behind first place Essex as the 73’s had 63 points. Lakeshore finished second with 61 points and Dresden had 60.

Mooretown had a 19-16-1-4 record for 43 points.

Bulldogs advance to WECSSAA boys soccer final


By Ron Giofu


The General Amherst Bulldogs are in the WECSSAA “AA” boys soccer final.

The Bulldogs advanced in dramatic fashion last Thursday afternoon after winning 3-2 in Windsor over the Riverside Rebels. The game ended 1-1 after regulation time and then went to extra time, when the score ended up 2-2. General Amherst then won the game in penalty shots and progressed to the WECSSAA finals.

The Bulldogs’ Kerion Sweet squeezes between the boundary line to the left of his team’s net and the Cougars’ Bryden Fizer during the first half of a WECSSAA 2A senior boys’ soccer quarterfinal match at Cardinal Carter Catholic Secondary School in Leamington last Wednesday afternoon. Sweet, along with Cole Zelle, scored for General Amherst in a 2-1 victory to advance to the semi-finals.
(Photo by Bryan Jessop/Southpoint Sun-Journal)

The win over Riverside was the Bulldogs’ second victory in two days. The Bulldogs were in Leamington last Wednesday afternoon and defeated the Cardinal Carter Cougars 2-1.

General Amherst fell behind 1-0 thanks to a penalty shot goal by Cardinal Carter but the Bulldogs fought back in the second half and scored twice to send them to the semi-finals. Cole Zelle and Kieron Sweet scored in the win over the Cougars.

Members of the General Amherst Bulldogs react after winning the WECSSAA “AA” semi-final game in penalty kicks May 17. (Photo by Mark Sweet)

The Bulldogs will play the Essex Red Raiders in the WECSSAA “AA” soccer final. Essex defeated General Amherst 1-0 the only time they met in the regular season, with that game being played at Essex District High School.

The WECSSAA “AA” final will be played Thursday starting at 6 p.m. It will be played at a neutral site, as the game is scheduled to be played at Academie Ste.-Cecile International Private School at 925 Cousineau Road in Windsor.