Wheatley Sharks

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 have three-game winning streak snapped by Wheatley



By Ron Giofu


The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals entered Sunday night’s game against the Wheatley Sharks on a three-game winning streak but could not extend it any further.

The Admirals lost 4-3 to the Sharks at the Libro Centre though head coach/GM Paul Bortignon believed his team played well. After Dylan Muzzatti gave the Admirals the lead in the first period, Carter Mastronardi’s tip-in tied it for Wheatley before the opening 20 minutes was complete.

Amherstburg forward Ryan Holzel goes head over heels after scoring a goal in Mooretown Saturday night. The Admirals won this game 4-2. (Photo by John Holzel)

Jake Pickersgill and Antonio Ciampa gave Wheatley a 3-1 lead in the third period but Ryan Alexander cut it to a 3-2 game with a goal for Amherstburg. Ryan Zsebok restored Wheatley’s two-goal lead but the Admirals kept fighting and Caleb Paquette scored with roughly 18 seconds left in the game to round out the scoring.

It was the third game in four nights for the Admirals, who defeated Blenheim and Mooretown on the road last Thursday and Saturday nights.

“In a week with three games, to come out with four out of six points is not bad,” said Bortignon.

Amherstburg’s Ryan Alexander (16) lunges for a puck in front of Wheatley goalie Daniel Tonietto during PJHL Stobbs Division action Sunday night at the Libro Centre. Wheatley won this game 4-3.

Bortignon said they may have been “a step behind” Sunday night but didn’t want to use the fact they played three games in a week as an excuse

“We battled right up until the final buzzer and we came up a shot short,” he said after Sunday night’s game. “I think we made the goalie look better than he was tonight.”

Wheatley goalie Daniel Tonietto, an Amherstburg native and former Admiral, made 32 saves on the night. Ben Larder made 23 saves in the Admirals’ net.

“Overall, our defense was good today. (Wheatley) got a couple of bounces in the high slot. I think we were the better team but we came up a shot short.”

The Admirals won 4-1 last Thursday in Blenheim last Thursday in a game that Bortignon said featured a solid 60-minute effort from his team. Travis Campbell returned from injury with a pair of goals while Cory Burns and Travis Campbell also scored. Larder made 27 saves in that game.

Saturday night’s game was in Mooretown and saw the Admirals record a 4-2 win thanks to goals from David Cooke, Paquette, Holzel and Muzzatti. Larder made 39 saves in that game.

“I think we controlled the game for the most part,” said assistant coach Matt Fox, who filled in for Bortignon Saturday night.

The Admirals had penalty trouble at points Saturday, Fox said, but once they escaped that in the third period, they took over and scored three goals.

“We got the result we wanted,” he said.

Caleb Paquette gets a scoring chance against Wheatley goalie Daniel Tonietto in the third period of Sunday night’s game at the Libro Centre.

The Admirals (6-6-2-1, 15 points) opened their dressing room after the game with local children trick-or-treating and getting candy from the players.

The local Jr. C hockey team’s lone game this week is Friday in Lakeshore at 7 p.m. They follow that up with games on three straight nights Nov. 10-12, with the Nov. 10 game being in Dresden. Their next home game is Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. versus Blenheim with Mooretown coming to Amherstburg the following night, also at 7 p.m.

Admirals defeat Essex, lose to Wheatley



By Ron Giofu


The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals split the first two games of their four-game road trip over the past week.

The Admirals’ most recent game was Monday night where they were defeated 4-1 by the Wheatley Sharks.

After the teams played to a scoreless first period, the Admirals hit the scoreboard first thanks to a goal from Josh Talerico just over a minute into the second period. Justin Pinsonneault scored a powerplay goal for Wheatley with just under four minutes remaining in the middle frame to send it to the third period tied at one.

The Sharks sent their fans home happy with three goals in the third period, all unassisted. Carter Mastronardi, Parker Boyle and Ryan Zsebok scored for Wheatley, giving them the victory.

Catalin Morin stopped 27 of 31 shots in the Amherstburg net Monday night.

Amherstburg goalie Ben Larder makes a first period save last Tuesday night. The Admirals defeated the Essex 73’s 3-2.

The Admirals started the week last Tuesday night (Oct. 3) in Essex, where they snapped a streak of five games without a win by downing the 73’s 3-2.

Essex’s William Stadder scored a powerplay goal in the first period but Ryan Alexander tied it for Amherstburg in the second period. Brett Smith scored another powerplay goal for the 73’s early in the third period but Talerico and Bryce McGregor scored within a four-minute span of each other midway through the final frame to give the Admirals the victory.

Ben Larder stopped 27 of 29 shots for Amherstburg.

“I think they stayed composed,” Admirals coach/GM Paul Bortignon said after the game.

Bortignon acknowledged they had a “rough go” heading into the game, noting a 5-2 loss to the Dresden Kings Sept. 29 but said they played better against Lakeshore Oct. 1 and that continued in Essex.

“I think we could have fallen apart in the third after the 2-1 goal,” said Bortignon. “Larder was fantastic again tonight.”

Admirals’ captain Dylan Muzzatti carries the puck through the neutral zone during Amherstburg’s 3-2 win in Essex last Tuesday night.

A number of other players also played well, with Bortignon adding they played with ten forwards against Essex.

“That’s a testament to the guys in the room,” he said. “We found a way to get the two points here tonight.”

Amherstburg (2-4-1-1, six points) concludes their four-game road trip this week before returning home to the Libro Centre Sunday night. The Admirals are in Petrolia Thursday and Dresden Friday for a pair of 7:30 p.m. games before welcoming the Kings to Amherstburg Sunday for a 7 p.m. game.

Admirals need six games to eliminate Wheatley


By Ron Giofu


The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals and the Wheatley Sharks battled in Game 6 of their PJHL Stobbs Division quarterfinal Monday night with the Admirals finally putting the fourth nail in the coffin of the Sharks’ playoff hopes.

It took the Admirals three times to get their fourth victory of the series but they did get that decisive win Monday night in Wheatley. The Admirals won 4-2.

Amherstburg got a first period powerplay goal from Curtis Prymack, only to have Alixe Saliba tie it with a powerplay goal of his own before the period was out. The two teams again traded goals in the second, with Caleb Paquette scoring for Amherstburg and Mitchell Prudence for the Sharks.
Goals from Ryan Holzel and Cory Burns put the game away for the Admirals in the third period and gave Amherstburg the series victory four games to two.

The Admirals will play the Essex 73’s for the third straight year in the playoffs, this time in the PJHL Stobbs Division semi-finals. Essex has defeated Amherstburg in the last two league finals. No schedule or times were known at press time. Watch www.rivertowntimes.com for details.

The Admirals had the opportunity to finish the series twice on home ice but lost Game 4 Thursday night 5-3 and Game 5 9-5 Sunday night.

The Sharks put the Admirals in a whole early in Sunday night’s game, as they led 7-1 after the first period with five of those seven goals being on the powerplay. Three of the five powerplay goals came on a major penalty to Jordan Luciw, who was also ejected for a head contact penalty that knocked Wheatley goalie Eric Morneau from the game.

Mark Gangnon scores on Wheatley goalie Daniel Tonietto during the first period of Sunday night’s game at the Libro Centre. It was the lone highlight of the period for Amherstburg, as Wheatley led 7-1 after the first 20 minutes of the 9-5 Sharks win in Game 5. Amherstburg won the series in Game 6.

Mark Gangnon scores on Wheatley goalie Daniel Tonietto during the first period of Sunday night’s game at the Libro Centre. It was the lone highlight of the period for Amherstburg, as Wheatley led 7-1 after the first 20 minutes of the 9-5 Sharks win in Game 5. Amherstburg won the series in Game 6.

Cole Butler had a hat trick for the Sharks on the night with Delaney MacDonald and Saliba adding two goals each. Kyle Gagnon and Jake Pickersgill also scored for Wheatley.

Ryan Alexander had a hat trick for the Admirals with Mark Gangnon and Luke Gangnon also scoring for Amherstburg. Both Gangnons were also given game misconducts during Sunday night’s game.

“The first period was as bad as you could write it up,” said Admirals coach Paul Bortignon after Sunday’s loss. “We didn’t do a good job stopping the bleeding.”

Bortignon credited his players for battling back, as the Admirals ended up outshooting Wheatley 50-33 on the night even though they were outshot 21-7 in the first period.

“It’s disappointing,” he noted, though added they knew they had “wiggle room” after going up in the series three games to none earlier in the week.

“You can’t dwell on it,” he added. “We’ve got to be ready to go (Monday night).”

Bortignon acknowledged the loss of key players for Monday night’s game due to the penalty trouble but said other players got back into the lineup and had a chance to prove themselves.

After Cory Burns gave the Admirals a lead just under seven minutes into the first period in Game 4, powerplay goals from Butler and Saliba gave the Sharks a 2-1 advantage. The opening period ended in a 2-2 tie thanks to Travis Campbell’s goal with about 19 seconds to play.

Wheatley goalie Daniel Tonietto stops Amherstburg's Travis Campbell on a wraparound attempt in the second period of Game 4. Amherstburg lost Games 4 and 5 on home ice before finishing the series in Game 6 Feb. 13.

Wheatley goalie Daniel Tonietto stops Amherstburg’s Travis Campbell on a wraparound attempt in the second period of Game 4. Amherstburg lost Games 4 and 5 on home ice before finishing the series in Game 6 Feb. 13.

Wheatley’s third powerplay goal of the night was the lone goal of the second period, with that coming on a 5-on-3 thanks to Kyle Gagnon’s tip-in.

MacDonald made it 4-2 4:23 into the third period but Amherstburg cut it to a 4-3 deficit thanks to Mark Gangnon’s wrist shot at the 14:48 mark. MacDonald scored his second of the game into an empty net to round out the scoring.

While the Admirals couldn’t outscore the Sharks in Game 4, they had a clear shot advantage as they fired 53 shots at Morneau. The Sharks fired 26 shots in Catalin Morin’s direction that game.

Amherstburg had built a three games to none lead the previous night thanks to a 4-1 lead in Wheatley. Mark Gangnon and MacDonald exchanged powerplay goals in the first period but Amherstburg did all the scoring after that. Luke Gangnon and Zack Yott scored goals in the second period to put the Admirals up 3-1 with Jordan Luciw scoring on the powerplay in the third period.

Amherstburg outshot Wheatley 26-24 in Game 3 with Matt Badour making 23 saves in the Admirals’ net.

Admirals win first two games of PJHL Stobbs Division quarterfinal series vs. Wheatley



By Ron Giofu


It is playoff time in the Provincial Junior Hockey League (PJHL) with Stobbs Division action getting off on the right note last week for Amherstburg’s Jr. C team.

Amherstburg leads the best-of-seven series two games to none after winning the first two games over the Wheatley Sharks by a combined score of 11-4.

The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals celebrate a second period goal during Game 1 of their best-of-seven PJHL Stobbs Division quarterfinal against Wheatley. Amherstburg won the first two games of the series.

The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals celebrate a second period goal during Game 1 of their best-of-seven PJHL Stobbs Division quarterfinal against Wheatley. Amherstburg won the first two games of the series.

The Admirals downed the visiting Sharks in Game 1 quarterfinal series 6-2 last Wednesday night at the Libro Centre. Mark Gangnon opened the scoring just eight seconds into the game but Ryan Zsebok tied it for the Sharks almost eight minutes later. Kasey Basile would put Amherstburg back in front with just under three minutes to play in the first in what was Basile’s first of two goals on the night.

The Admirals’ lead swelled to 4-1 in the second period on goals from Ryan Wismer and Luke Gangnon before Cam Pickersgill made it a 4-2 with just over four minutes to play in the middle frame.

Amherstburg scored two more in the third period to complete the scoring with Dylan Muzzatti scoring at the 10:08 mark and Basile scoring his second of the game at the 16:06 mark.

“It’s good to get Game 1 out of the way,” said Admirals head coach Paul Bortignon after Wednesday’s game. “I think as a whole we are happy with the effort.”

Bortignon said they know Wheatley works hard for 60 minutes and acknowledged there are parts of the Admirals’ game they have to clean up. They played well offensively in Game 1, scoring six goals, but said there are things they have to “clean up” in their own end going forward.

Amherstburg also has to eliminate neutral zone turnovers, Bortignon said after Game 1.

“I thought our guys did a good job keeping their emotions in check,” he added.

The playoffs saw several players return from injury and Bortignon believes the chemistry will return over time. He said the leaders stood up in Game 1 and showed their playoff experience at moments when they might have hit the panic button in years past.

Amherstburg's Mark Gangnon (55) gets a scoring chance on Wheatley goalie Daniel Tonietto during the Admirals' 6-2 win in Game 1 Feb. 1.

Amherstburg’s Mark Gangnon (55) gets a scoring chance on Wheatley goalie Daniel Tonietto during the Admirals’ 6-2 win in Game 1 Feb. 1.

Game 2 was Monday night in Wheatley with the Admirals winning 5-2. Five different goal scorers found the net for Amherstburg. Muzzatti and Travis Campbell scored 33 seconds apart in the first period before Alixe Saliba got the Sharks on the board before the first period was out.

Dean Patterson scored the lone goal of the second period to give the Admirals a 3-1 lead heading into the final 20 minutes.

After Jake Pickersgill made it a 3-2 game 2:24 into the third, the Admirals got another pair of quick goals as Caleb Paquette and Basile scored 61 seconds apart to allow Amherstburg to pull away.

Game 3 is Wednesday night in Wheatley at 7:30 p.m. before the series shifts back to Amherstburg for Game 4 Thursday night at 7 p.m. Game 5, if necessary, will be Sunday at 7 p.m. at the Libro Centre.

Should a Game 6 be required, it would be next Monday in Wheatley and if the series makes it to Game 7, it would be Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the Libro Centre.