Admirals Sweep Wild, Solidify Playoff Position

The Amherstburg Admirals swept a home-and-home set against the Walpole Wild, solidifying their playoff position in the process.

Beginning on Thursday night in Walpole Island, the Admirals found themselves down a pair of goals after 20 minutes of play, but a four-goal outburst in the second helped turn things around. Goals by Finnigan Russett, Stefan Jacobs, and Jake Archer brought things level at 3-3, and a Braeden Armstrong point-shot tally gave the Admirals a one-goal lead after two.

The Wild got back on level terms early in the third, until Russett’s second of the evening at 12:32 restored the visitors advantage. The scoring play started with an offensive zone faceoff in which Brett Jones neatly tapped the puck between the opposing centre’s legs and then made an ensuing pass to Russett who quickly jumped to the net for an easy finish. Less than a minute later, Archer, the Admirals leading goal-scorer found himself all alone on a clear breakaway, and as the good goal-scorers do, cooly and calmly picked his head up and labeled his shot low to give his team the two-goal cushion they were hoping for. Jaxon Boucher hit the empty-net in the final minute of regulation anand the horn sounded on a 7-4 Admirals victory. Russett and Archer each scored twice and added an assist, while Joe Costea made 31 saves to record his fifth win of the season in goal.

Thursday’s win gave the Admirals a stranglehold on sixth-place in the West Stobbs division, with another victory on Saturday night all but locking it up. The Wild however opened the scoring for a second straight game and held that lead into the first intermission.

Unphased, the Admirals got three unaswered goals from Finnigan Russett, Connor Demelo and Owen Paplukas in an 11-minute span in the second period. The Wild got one back late in the middle frame and then tied it on Connor Debot’s goal coming just 13 seconds into the third. The home side would again answer quickly as Papulkas beat Walpole goalie Mitch Rawlings for his second of evening and a 4-3 Amherstburg lead, coming just 40 seconds after Debot’s goal. Layne Crispin pushed the lead to two at 15:17 and then scored into an empty-net in the final minute to round out the scoring in a 6-3 Admirals win. The line of Owen Papulkas, Finn Russett, and Layne Crispin accounted for five of Amherstburg’s six goals, with Papulkas’ four points leading the way. Russett notched three points for the second straight game, and Crispin enjoyed a three-point outing of his own. Goaltender Josh Courtney returned to the lineup and made 25 saves for his fifth win of the season.

Now with just one regular-season game left on their schedule, the Admirals moved seven points clear of Dresden for sixth in the Stobbs division. While not yet clinched, the Kings must win all of their four remaining games, including two against the Lakeshore Canadiens, in order to jump the Admirals in the standings.

The Admirals will now have a full week to rest as the team will play their final regular-season game at home on Saturday, February 24 when they take on the Essex 73’s. With playoffs beginning the week of February 26, the team’s likely opponent will be the third-place Blenheim Blades, with the schedule to be announced in the coming days.