AMHERST – Win and get help.
To put it more clearly, beat a first-place team you’ve lost six straight times to, then hope another team playing its third game in three days can knock off a team that has had eight days of rest.
That’s the predicament facing the Ramblers as they close out their Maritime Junior A Hockey League regular season Saturday at home to the Truro Bearcats at 7 p.m.
Amherst trails the Yarmouth Mariners by two points for the last postseason berth in the Bent Division going into the final weekend. The Ramblers will pull even with a win and a Yarmouth loss to the Halifax Lions in its regular-season finale Saturday.
Amherst will own the tiebreaker should that happen, with 20 regular-season wins to the Mariners’ 19.
Ramblers head coach and general manager Corey Crocker said the time for talk is over.
“We shouldn’t have to tell them anything,” Crocker said. “We’re 49 games into the regular season and they know what’s at stake. If you can’t get motivated to play Saturday, you should hang up your skates and go play ping-pong.”
The Ramblers won the first meeting between these clubs this season 4-3 in Amherst on Nov. 6. Truro has outscored the bordertowners 28-10 since.
The Bearcats locked up top spot in the Bent a while ago, and might opt to rest some of their top talent.
“It’d be nice if they did,” said Ramblers forward Justin Matthews. “But their coaches always coach to win no matter who’s out there.”
The Ramblers’ office is located in the team’s dressing room at the Stadium, so they’ll likely be getting updates on the Halifax-Yarmouth game, which starts at 7:30 p.m.
“I’d rather not know (that score) until after our game,” said Matthews. “It won’t matter anyway if we don’t win.”