AMHERST – This looks awfully familiar – the Ramblers at home for possibly the last time this Maritime Junior A Hockey League season.
A mere five days ago, the bordertowners edged the Truro Bearcats 4-3 on home ice, then waited anxiously for the Halifax Lions to boost them into the playoffs with a 3-1 win over the Yarmouth Mariners. Today, the Bridgewater Lumberjacks come to town looking to cap a sweep of the best-of-three first-round Bent Division series.
Bridgewater took the opening game Tuesday 5-2 in its barn, a game Amherst never led.
“It’s going to be real important to get off to a good start,” said forward Josh Coleman. “A big hit or a couple of scoring chances on the first couple shifts will get the crowd into it and give us some momentum.”
The Lumberjacks fed off their top scorers, with the line of Shawn Frank, Mickey MacDonald and Jordan Burke racking up 11 points. Frank was in on every goal, scoring once and adding four assists, and MacDonald contributed a goal and three helpers.
Amherst’s top unit of Brandon Street, Jeremy Barron and Justin Matthews totalled three points, with Street earning a goal and an assist.
“You always have to pay attention to other teams’ top players,” said defenceman Drew McLaughlin, who had the Ramblers other goal Tuesday. “But as long as everyone contributes and pays attention to doing the little things well, we’ll be OK.
“They’re the same tough, physical team they always were. We just have to bring our A game. We did that Saturday and I’m sure we can do it again.”
Game time at the Stadium is 7:30 p.m. Should the Ramblers force Game 3, it will be played Friday in Bridgewater at 7 p.m. The series winner will face Truro in the best-of-seven Bent semifinals.
NOTES – The Ramblers won both meetings in Amherst between these teams during the regular season, 4-2 on Sept. 26 and 8-4 on Jan. 5 ... Both teams were one-for-three on the power-play Tuesday.