DIEPPE – The Amherst Ramblers beat the Dieppe Commandos 4-3 during Maritime Hockey League action Sunday afternoon at the Arthur J. LeBlanc Arena in Dieppe, and trounced the Metro Marauders 8-1 Saturday at Amherst Stadium.
Ramblers coach and general manager, Jim Bottomley, is happy with the way the team dug down for the wins.
“After playing six games in nine nights, and four in the last five, it was nice to get the win,” said Bottomley after Sunday’s win.
The Ramblers played Jan. 21 and 22, Jan. 25 and 26, and Jan. 28 and 29.
The team has been jostling for first place in the Bent Division with the Yarmouth Mariners and the Metro Marauders.
“I’ve been in the league 30 years and never seen it this tight in my life,” said Bottomley. “It’s playoff hockey right now and we’re trying to get the team to play that way.”
Dieppe drew first blood on Sunday, making it a 1-0 game at 7:46 into the first, but the period ended with the Ramblers up 2-1 off goals from Maxime Richard and Brandon Street.
Brandon MacLean and Ryan Matheson assisted on the Richard goal and Jordan Escott assisted on the Street goal.
The Ramblers went up 4-1 early in the second off a goal from Willie MacDonald, who got an assist from MacLean, and a goal from Justin Matthews, who got help from Trevor Layton. The second period ended 4-2 after the Commandos scored with 25 seconds left in the period.
The Commandos came within one goal of tying the game up when they made it a 4-3 game with 2:15 left in the contest, but the Ramblers held them off and that’s how the game ended.
Ramblers goaltender Richard Tingley faced 22 shots on the afternoon, while his teammates fired a total of 25 shots at former Ramblers goaltender Jonathan Waye.
391 people attended the game.
“Tingley has stepped up and is playing outstanding for us,” said Bottomley. “The games he lost, he lost by one goal in New Glasgow (1-0, Jan. 26) and PEI (5-4, Jan 25) and were no fault of his own.”
The Ramblers had a dominant 8-1 performance over the Marauders Saturday at Amherst Stadium, with Street scoring a hat trick.
With the win the Ramblers have a record of 17-4 at home, with their only losses at home being a 3-2 overtime loss to Summerside on Oct. 1, a 7-6 overtime loss to Dieppe on Oct. 22, a 4-1 loss to Pictou County on Nov. 19, and a 4-2 loss to Yarmouth on Jan. 5.
Street scored the only goals in the first period on Saturday, putting the Ramblers up 2-0.
Assisting on the first goal was Andrew Smith and Escott, while Escott and Matheson assisted on the second goal.
There were 25 penalties in the first period, 11 of which were assessed to the Ramblers.
“We wanted to establish our home ice and if they wanted to come in our barn they were going to pay the price,” said Bottomley. “We were battling for first with them and I thought our guys showed up and played well. We were physical and took on anyone who wanted to come our way.”
The second period was all Ramblers as well.
Escott scored off passes from Mathieu Boudreau and Layton, Street scored his third off assists from Matthews and Matheson, and Matthews scored with helpers coming from Escott and Nicholas Young. The period ended with the Ramblers up 5-0
The Marauders scored their only goal of the game early in the third period, and the Ramblers followed up with three goals of their own.
Richard scored with assists from Smith and MacDonald, Layton scored off assists from Young and Boudreau, and Kody Orr scored off assists from Brett Shute and Boudreau.
Tingley faced a total of 26 shots, while Metro goaltender Chris Clarke stopped 27 of 35 shots.
725 people attended the game.
The Ramblers now enter the final month of the regular season.
They travel to Yarmouth on Wednesday, to Bridgewater on Friday, and then return home Saturday to host the Weeks Crushers.
“We have another big week coming up,” said Bottomley. “It doesn’t get any easier. From here on in it’s playoff hockey.”