Ramblers pick up three of four points on weekend
AMHERST - Logan Styler and Zack MacEwan scored in the shootout as the Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers picked up their first home win of the season with a 6-5 victory over the Yarmouth Mariners in Maritime Junior Hockey League action on Sunday.
The win came against the team’s former coach, Jim Bottomley, who is coaching in Yarmouth this season.
“The boys are really happy and I’m really proud of the effort they put forward,” Ramblers’ coach Josh Hepditch said. “They’ve been playing with a lot of pressure, not just to win at home in front of our fans but to put some wins together.”
Trailing 4-2 in the second period it appeared as though the Ramblers were headed toward another home loss when Lucas Batt, who had three goals and four points on Saturday in a 5-4 overtime loss to Miramichi, and Styler each scored to tie the game.
Batt scored on a penalty shot just 37 seconds into the third period before Sean Fraser scored for Yarmouth to force the extra period that led to a shootout.
Styler and MacEwan also scored for Amherst while Connor Donaghey, Cole Reginato, Shawn Boudreau and Brandon Syms scored for the Mariners.
Coming off a tough 8-1 loss in Berwick to the Valley Wildcats, the Ramblers enjoyed a 3-1 lead on Saturday before the Timberwolves ral- lied to take a late 4-3 lead.
Jake McKenna tied it when his long shot through traffic eluded the Miramichi goalie with just over four minutes to go.
Lee Dower scored the winner 2:39 into the extra period.
Tyler Brown, Jordan Kennedy, Brayden Wood and Riley Scott also scored for Miramichi.
“The last two games we have gotten off to some good starts and Kyle (Michalovksy) has made some big saves to keep us close. Our confidence has built as the games went on and we picked up a big three points,” Hepditch said.
Prior to Saturday’s game, the Ramblers hon- oured members of the 1989-90 Callaghan Cup championship club. Ten members of the junior franchise’s only championship team came back for the celebration that included the presentation of sweaters to longtime trainer Willie Boyle and to Jason Myatt, who accepted on behalf of his brother Jeff who lost his battle to cancer soon after the Ramblers went to Vernon, B.C.
The Ramblers made a move on Saturday sending the rights to Zack Taylor (Shawinigan), Andrew Murphy and future considerations to Woodstock for defenceman Michael White, forward Peter Woulds and midget-aged Cody MacPhee.
“We’ve been working to continue improving our back end and Mike comes in with a year of experience in the league and coming from a program like Woodstock’s he knows what it takes to win,” Hepditch said. “He brings stability and confidence with him and plays with a lot of poise.”
Hepditch said Woulds plays a complete game offensively and defensively and is a valuable addition to the club.
He understands the club has a long way to go to get back in the playoff race and Hepditch said he will be continuing to make additions to improve the hockey club. He expects there will be a lot of activity throughout the league leading up to Dec. 1.
The Ramblers are home again Saturday to host the Bridgewater Lumberjacks, who last week were taken over by the league as its searches for a new owner.
“We have to find a way to pull some wins together and get some points. We have some key divisional games coming up that we have to win,” Hepditch said. “We can’t afford to throw anymore points away.”
The Ramblers were without Seth Schmidt on the weekend as he served a two-game suspension for a checking from behind penalty, while Ryan Youlds has been out with an upper body injury. Defenceman Lucas Sangster will sit out two games after receiving his third blow to the head penalty in Sunday’s win over Yarmouth.
Chuck Ross, captain of the 1989-90 Callaghan Cup-winning Amherst Ramblers, talks to fans during a pre-game ceremony prior to Saturday’s game against the Miramichi Timberwolves. Members of the team’s only Atlantic championship club were invited back to Amherst for several events during the day including the grand opening of Holmes and Maltby Cleaners and Maltby’s Once Again Sports, the Christmas parade and the game. Darrell Cole - Citizen-Record