Ryan Alexander

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.

Admirals get big win over Essex 73’s



By Ron Giofu


Two rivals squared off Sunday night at the Libro Centre in PJHL Stobbs Division hockey action with Amherstburg coming out on top.

The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals knocked off the Essex 73’s 3-2 in overtime with Ryan Alexander slipping the puck past Essex goaltender Tyler Ryan 2:02 into the extra period.

Amherstburg’s Ryan Alexander (16) scores the game winning goal on Essex goalie Tyler Ryan Sunday night. The Admirals won 3-2 in overtime.

The Admirals never trailed in Sunday’s game. After a scoreless first period, the teams combined for four goals in the second period. Dylan Muzzatti scored on the powerplay to give Amherstburg a 1-0 lead 2:22 into the second period. Essex’s William Stadder tied it exactly 12 minutes later but David Cooke scored on his former team just over a minute later to restore Amherstburg’s lead.

Essex tied it with under one minute left in the second period on a goal from Adam Gaiarin.

The Amherstburg Admirals celebrate their 3-2 overtime win over the Essex 73’s Oct. 22.

The teams were scoreless in the third period.

“It’s a big win,” said Admirals head coach/GM Paul Bortignon. “It’s a big confidence building win for us.”

Bortignon said the Admirals (4-5-2-1, 11 points) are getting healthy and he said they had a good week of practice.

“It paid off tonight,” he said.

It “starts and ends with the back end” for the Admirals, said Bortignon, and the team was bolstered by the return of defenseman Dean Patterson. Patterson rejoined the team Sunday night and “is a huge addition for us,” Bortignon noted.

“He’s a guy who adds instant leadership. He was a big part of our win tonight.”

Goaltender Ben Larder stopped 29 of 31 Essex shots and Bortignon said Larder was outstanding against the 73’s.

Ryan Holzel (14, left) gets a scoring chance on Essex goalie Tyler Ryan.

“With the addition of Patterson and the goaltending stepping up, it’s huge for us,” said Bortignon.

Amilio Acampora and Caleb Paquette returned from injury and injected speed into the lineup as well. Bortignon said they’ve played a lot of the year thus far with only ten forwards due to injury.

“It’s nice to be healthy and nice to be able to put four lines out there on a consistent basis,” said Bortignon.

The Admirals will only have one practice this week as they play in Blenheim Thursday, are at Mooretown Saturday before returning home this Sunday for a game against Wheatley.

“Those are teams who have knocked us off the first time we played them,” said Bortignon. “We need to take the same mentality (as they had against Essex) in those games and if we do, we have a chance to get close to six points if not all six.”

Bortignon added the crowd against Essex was strong and that the Admirals appreciate the support from the community.

“Hopefully they enjoyed the result,” he said.

Admirals down Petrolia 5-3 in regular season opener



By Ron Giofu


The Amherstburg Integrity Admirals defeated the Petrolia Flyers 5-3 in the PJHL Stobbs Division regular season opener, but it is clear the Admirals are looking for a better effort going forward.

Ryan Alexander had a hat trick for Amherstburg Sunday night, including the opening goal 9:20 into the first period. Caleb Paquette made it a 2-0 game 50 seconds later. A bad bounce for Amherstburg led to a Connor Lovell goal and made it a 2-1 game but Alexander scored again at the 19:19 mark of the opening period making it a 3-1 game at the first intermission.

Amherstburg’s Caleb Paquette (6, left) rounds the Petrolia net with the puck while being watched by Eric Marsh.

The Flyers tied it on goals by Eric Campbell and Eric Marsh in the second period but captain Dylan Muzzatti’s goal gave the Admirals the lead after 40 minutes. Muzzatti also had two assists on the night.

Alexander scored a powerplay goal with approximately three minutes to play in the third period to round out the scoring.

Amherstburg outshot Petrolia 39-26 on the night.

“We came out pretty strong for the first little bit. We died down after that. We didn’t play a full 60 minutes,” said Alexander.

Alexander credited his teammates for the hat trick.

“None of the goals were unassisted,” he said. “I couldn’t do it without my teammates.”

The Admirals did a good job picking each other up but Alexander emphasized they have to have a better effort in future games.

“I’m glad we got the two points but we’ve got to have better efforts down the road,” he said. “Down the road, we can’t get away with playing ten minutes out of a full 60.”

Alexander said “expectations are always as high as they can be” for the season and that while they have some new faces this year, they have players with a good work ethic that will get better as the 2017-18 season goes on.

Amherstburg forward Cory Burns (9) crashes the net during Sunday’s 5-3 win over Petrolia. The Admirals got three goals from Ryan Alexander and single goals from Dylan Muzzati and Caleb Paquette in the season opening win.

Admirals head coach/GM Paul Bortignon also pointed out they didn’t have the best effort on the night.

“What I told our guys was to be happy with the result but don’t be happy with the effort,” said Bortignon. “The effort wasn’t quite there tonight.”

If they have similar efforts in future games, the Admirals likely will be on the opposite end of the result, Bortignon believed. He attributed the less than stellar effort to first game jitters but said there was more intensity from the rookies through the veterans during the pre-season.

“Overall, it was not good enough,” he said. “We obviously have to get better and get better in a hurry.”

Bortignon was happy with the two points and the Admirals’ penalty killing, but didn’t think they were as good as they should be five-on-five or on the powerplay.

“It’s tough to pick out a lot of positives in a game like that,” he added.

Assistant coach/co-owner Matt Fox said the team was pleased with the attendance, noting they got a lot of support from the town.

“It was great to see,” said Fox.

The Admirals were in Essex Tuesday night, after this issue of the RTT went to press. They have two weekend games at the Libro Centre this weekend, hosting Blenheim Saturday and Mooretown Sunday. Both weekend games are at 7 p.m.

Amherstburg eliminated from PJHL Stobbs Division playoffs



By Ron Giofu


The season is over for the Integrity Amherstburg Admirals.

The local Jr. C hockey team lost in four straight games to the Essex 73’s in the PJHL Stobbs Division semi-final, with the fourth game being a 7-2 loss at the Libro Centre Sunday night.

The 73’s’ first five goals were all off of special teams, four powerplay goals and one shorthanded goal, before pulling away in the third with two even-strength goals.

The teams swapped powerplay goals in the first period with Eric Shaw scoring for Essex followed later in the period by Curtis Prymack for the Admirals, the latter being on a five-on-three powerplay.

Anthony Cristofaro scored on the powerplay in the second while William Stadder scored on a shorthanded breakaway to make it 3-1 Essex after 40 minutes but Amherstburg climbed back into it just 59 seconds into the third period on a Jordan Luciw goal.

Michael Vieira and Cristofaro scored powerplay goals to give Essex a 5-2 lead before Michael Ruttinger and Stadder scored two more goals for the 73’s to round out the scoring.

“Not the storybook ending we wanted,” admitted Admirals coach Paul Bortignon after the game.

The Admirals coaches and management looked at the season positively despite the disappointing loss in the semi-final.

“In a season with highs and lows, as a staff we are proud of the effort our guys brought forth,” said Bortignon.

Bortignon said they were within one goal in the third period Sunday night but things started to come apart after the fourth Essex goals. He said the Admirals still battled hard until the end, despite the final score.

The Admirals have accomplished a lot the last few years, he added, including back-to-back trips to the finals with Kasey Basile, Luke Gangnon, Luciw and Prymack being part of that. All four players have played their last Jr. C game as they were the overage players this season.

Ryan Alexander gets a scoring chance on Essex goalie Tyler Ryan during Feb. 26 action at the Libro Centre. The Admirals kept it close for just over two periods but Essex pulled away midway through the third period to win Game 4 7-2 and the series four games to none.

Ryan Alexander gets a scoring chance on Essex goalie Tyler Ryan during Feb. 26 action at the Libro Centre. The Admirals kept it close for just over two periods but Essex pulled away midway through the third period to win Game 4 7-2 and the series four games to none.

“We are obviously disappointed and not satisfied but we are proud of what we accomplished this year and proud of the players for sure,” said Bortignon.

The staff will take some time to regroup and look to “reload” for the 2017-18 hockey season. They will look for impact players in the off-season and fill the voids from the players that won’t return from this season.

The team thanks the fans and the town for its support this past season and vow to get back to the finals and beyond as soon as possible.

“They have our commitment. We’ll work harder than ever to get back to where we are used to,” said general manager/co-owner Wes Ewer.

Essex outshot Amherstburg 29-20 in Game 4.

The 73’s built a three games to none advantage in the best-of-seven series thanks to a 7-5 win Feb. 21 at the Essex Centre Sports Complex.

The series’ third game went back-and-forth with Amherstburg having the lead on a couple of occasions, including taking a 5-4 lead into the second intermission. Essex scored three times in the third period to propel themselves to the win.

The game started on the right note for the Admirals thanks to Ryan Holzel scoring at the 8:59 mark of the period but Michael Ruttinger tied it for Essex less than a minute later.

The Admirals got the lead back just 11 seconds after Ruttinger’s goal thanks to a tally from Cory Burns but Essex would score twice more before the period was out with Matthew Rosati and Michael Vieiera scoring for the 73’s.

The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals celebrate Curtis Prymack's first period powerplay goal Sunday night. The Admirals lost 7-2 in Sunday's Game 4 and the series in four straight games.

The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals celebrate Curtis Prymack’s first period powerplay goal Sunday night. The Admirals lost 7-2 in Sunday’s Game 4 and the series in four straight games.

Amherstburg controlled the second period, outscoring the 73’s 3-1 in the period. Luke Gangnon scored at 2:22 and 19:22 with Jordan Luciw scoring in between for the Admirals. Dalton Langlois had the Essex goal in the period.

The 73’s got a pair of powerplay goals early in the third period to re-take the lead with Eric Shaw and Adam Gaiarin scoring. William Stadder scored the 73’s’ seventh goal with just 3:11 left in the game to give Essex and insurance marker.

Both starting goalies were pulled in the high-scoring game with Jax Dhont relieving starter Tyler Ryan in the Essex net in the first period while Matt Badour took over from Catalin Morin in the Amherstburg net in the second period.

The Admirals outshot the 73’s 38-34 in Game 3 but Essex was 3-for-9 on the powerplay as opposed to the Admirals going 0-for-4. There were nine slashing penalties on the night between the two teams.

Essex now awaits the winner of the Lakeshore-Blenheim series.

Admirals knock off visiting Lakeshore 4-3


By Ron Giofu

A match-up between two of the better teams in the Provincial Junior Hockey League’s (PJHL) Stobbs Division went in Amherstburg’s favour.

The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals downed the visiting Lakeshore Canadiens 4-3 Sunday night at the Libro Centre in what was the fifth straight win for Amherstburg.

Amherstburg forward Ryan Alexander (55) scores the first of his two goals on Lakeshore goalie Mitch Topliffe Nov. 27 The Admirals won 4-3.

Amherstburg forward Ryan Alexander (55) scores the first of his two goals on Lakeshore goalie Mitch Topliffe Nov. 27 The Admirals won 4-3.

The Admirals took a 2-0 lead after one period with Ryan Alexander opening the scoring 6:58 into the game when he burst in on the Lakeshore goal and beat goalie Mitch Topliffe. Amherstburg’s Jordan Luciw made it 2-0 at the very end of the period when his shot crossed the goal line just before the buzzer sounded to end the period.

Ryan Alexander taps home his second of two goals in the Admirals 4-3 win over Lakeshore. The Admirals do not have another home game until Dec. 11.

Ryan Alexander taps home his second of two goals in the Admirals 4-3 win over Lakeshore. The Admirals do not have another home game until Dec. 11.

Lakeshore’s Ameed Fadel cut the Admirals’ lead to 2-1 at the 6:24 mark of the second period but Alexander scored his second of the game, this goal being shorthanded, at the 12:45 point of the period. Luciw took a shot that dribbled past Topliffe but Alexander was there to bury the puck for the Admirals.

Aidan Ryan scored with about two-and-a-half minutes left in the period to put Amherstburg up 4-1 but Steven Sartor cut the Amherstburg lead to 4-2 with about 39 seconds left in the period.

Joe Binder scored for the Canadiens at the 15:08 mark of the third period but Lakeshore could get no closer as Admirals goalie Catalin Morin made key saves to help preserve the win for his team. Lakeshore outshot Amherstburg 38-32 on the night.

Amherstburg's Jake Cummings gets around Lakeshore defenseman Joe Binder during second period action at the Libro Centre last Sunday night.

Amherstburg’s Jake Cummings gets around Lakeshore defenseman Joe Binder during second period action at the Libro Centre last Sunday night.

“It was a hard fought game. It was a big four-point game,” said Alexander. “The boys worked hard, it was a good game and we earned it.”

Alexander noted that while he had a good game with two goals, he couldn’t have done anything without his teammates.

“None of my goals were unassisted,” he said. “It was a total team effort, from the forwards to the goalie.”

When Lakeshore cut the lead to 4-3, Alexander said they put more emphasis on their defensive play to ensure they came out with the win. Head coach Paul Bortignon believed the two Lakeshore goals that made it a one-goal hockey game were the product of unfortunate bounces for the Admirals.

“I thought we were in good spots on both goals,” said Bortignon.

Bortignon praised Morin for making key saves when he had to but said many of Lakeshore’s 38 shots were not high percentage scoring chances.

Amherstburg were missing some players coming into the game and lost a few more during the game with Bortignon stating the game was a “gutsy” win where the team showed character.

“We found a way to get goals when the chances came,” said Bortignon.

Due to the missing bodies, players lower on the depth chart got chances to play and Bortignon was pleased how they performed.

The Admirals have now won 11 of their last 13 games after a tough 4-6 start. Beating Lakeshore for the second time in nine days did well for their confidence, the coach added.

The Jr. C team hosts a comedy night at Shooters Saturday night with tickets being available at the door at a cost of $15. There will also be a Christmas raffle with the draw being Dec. 18. Tickets for the raffle are available at home games.

The Admirals don’t have another home game until Dec. 11 when they host Petrolia in a 7 p.m. game. In the meantime, there are two road games with the Admirals being in Blenheim this Sunday and in Wheatley next Monday night.