AMHERST – The Amherst Ramblers were one of the few teams that gave the Woodstock Slammers fits last year.
It’s something they want to repeat this year as the two clubs renew their, sometimes feisty, relationship on Saturday when the two teams meet in the Ramblers’ Maritime Junior Hockey League home opener.
“It’s going to take a big effort. We’re playing last year’s Kent Cup champions and they want to be at the RBC again this year. They have the resources to get there,” Ramblers’ coach Jim Bottomley said Thursday. “It’s going to be a big challenge for our guys, but if we come to play and play hard we can beat them. In many cases, a hard working team will beat a more talented team.”
The Ramblers, who opened the regular season last night in New Glasgow, enter Saturday’s game with a solid nucleus of returning players, including a veteran core of returning defencemen, goalie Richard Tingley and several gritty forwards.
While last year’s team had lots of offence, Bottomley said this year’s crew will be hard working, gritty and pesky.
“That’s going to be our trademark this year. We don’t have the skill that we had last year and the depth, but we have everyone working hard and on the same page,” he said. “If that continues we’ll be OK. We’re going to be the kind of team that wears its hard hat and takes it lunch pail with it to the rink every night.”
That’s what team captain Kody Orr likes to hear.
“Woodstock has a good team and they’ve picked up some good players over the summer, but we’re going to be ready for them,” Orr said. “We’re excited about starting at home.”
He said defeating Woodstock will come down to playing physical and throwing the body.
Orr said the team looks good heading into the season.
“I still think we have skill and guys who can put the puck in the net, but at the same time it’s going to be a lot more by committee with a lot more dirty goals as opposed to the pretty goals from the Jordan Escotts and Brandon Streets,” Orr said. “We’re going to see a lot of crash and bang hockey.”
Orr also feels the experience gained from last year’s playoff run will pay dividends for those who are back. He said it will make the team hungrier to be in the thick of things at playoff time.
“In our division you can’t overlook anyone. We have a black and blue division and if you don’t come to play every night you won’t win,” he said. “We have as good a shot as anyone right now and hopefully we can build on that.”
For goalie Richard Tingley, it’s a chance to show he can be the Number 1 goalie. Tingley stepped in when Kody Blois went down with a knee injury at Christmas last year and backstopped the club over Truro in the opening round of the playoffs.
He knows a lot of attention is going to be focused on the blueline and goaltending.
“We may not have the offence we had last year but our defence is going to be very strong. I think there will be a lot of low scoring games,” he said. “I’m going to come out and play my game and show that I can be the Number 1 goalie.”
Tingley said his partner between the pipes, rookie Chase Marchand, will push him to excel. He also wants to be more focused mentally as he enters the season.
NOTES: The Ramblers got some good news on the injury front. Josh Pugsley, injured in the preseason has been cleared to play Saturday, Serge Boisvert is still day to day. Here’s your chance to win a set of tickets to Saturday’s game. Come into the Amherst Daily News office and tell us who was the Ramblers’ leading scorer last season. The first five people receive two tickets each.
Bent Division At A Glance
Coach: Shawn Evans
Last Season: 29-20-1-2-61 Pts (third place, lost to Amherst in division semifinals)
Back: D Zack Evans-Renaud, D Cal Gloade, D David Mosher, F Travis Moore, F Travis Fernely, F Jordan Cox, F Dylan McGuigan and F Paul Thompson.
Gone: G Spencer Scott, G Cam Poirier, D Matt English, D Nick Trecapelli, F Colin Beck, F Jordan Mock, F Kendall MacInnis, F Tyler Walsh and F Stephen Walker.
New: G Shayne Campbell, G Jacob Fancy, D Adam Guy, F Phillip Fife, F Tyler Morrison, F Scott Pawson and F Jordan Coccimiglio.
Coach: Laurie Barron
Last Season: 35-14-1-2-73 (first place, lost to Woodstock in league final)
Back: D Rodney Mahoney, D Derek Larade, D Bill Hartley, F Colin Campbell, F Jared Hicks, F Matt Tomah, F Zack Henry, F Kraig Paher, F Braeden Mercier, F Morgan Messenger and F Kevin Reid.
Gone: G Gharles Grant, D Andrew Walker, D Nicholas Zern, F Mathieu Pompei, F Andrew Wigg and F Ryan Nickerson
New: G Travis Wilkins, G Brian Jacobs, D Connor Rogers, D Cody Castro, D Josh Desmond, D Travis Cornwell, F Jon Johannesson, F Matt Wright and F Connor Donaghey.
Coach: Jim Bottomley
Last Season: 31-15-4-2-68 (second place, lost to Yarmouth in division final).
Back: G Richard Tingley, D Jamie Bishop, D Ben MacDonald, D Dylan Brake, D Willie MacDonald, D Jeff Krichew, F Maxime Richard, F Kody Orr, F Mitch O’Neill, F Brett Shute and F Jesse McInnis
Gone: G Kody Blois, D Ryan Matheson, D Mathieu Boudreau, F Jordan Escott, F Brandon Street, F Trevor Layton, F Brandon MacLean, F Cole MacMillan, F Justin Matthews, F Shane O’Byrne, F Josh Coleman and F Nick Young.
New: G Chase Marchand, D Kyle Beckwith, D Patrick Harrison, F Josh Pugsley, F Serge Boisvert, F Brett Arthur, F Ben Berisha, F Brock Morrison, F Ryan Caswell, F Yann Legace.
Pictou Weeks Crushers
Coach: Jason Malone
Last Season: 27-18-5-2-61 (fourth place, lost to Metro in mini-series).
Back: G Dylan Frank, D Jordan Moore, D Kyle Kavanaugh, D Rory Graham, D Daniel MacLeod, D Brennan Forgeron, D Brennan Bailey, F Corey Bennett, F Garrett Holmes, F Devon Gunn, F Nick Parker, F Brandon Parsons and F Cody Squires.
Gone: D Mitch Taylor, D Adam Slaunwhite, D John-Michael Walsh, F Jordan McInnis, F Jason Smallman, F Danny Wicks, F Brandon Boutilier, F Brandon Verge and F Jamie MacIntyre.
New: G J.F. Boucher, D Mitch Shewfelt, D Patrick Levesque, F Bruce Hornbrook, F Brennan Saulnier, F Garret Lambke and F John Mullaley.
Coach: Stan Hennigar
Last Season: 27-19-1-5-60 (fifth, lost to Yarmouth in division semifinal)
Back: G Jeff Arkin, D Adam Brown, D Connor McCoach, F Chris Riguse, F JP Harvey, F Ryan Davis and F Cody Peverill.
Gone: D Dylan King, D Jordan Thomas, D Rob McEwan, D Michael Roski, F Andrew Wigginton, F Justin Belanger, F Ian Lewis, F Simon Bissonette, F Bradley MacDonald, F Tanner Manson and F Andrew Roski.
New: G Anderson Snair, D Kaden Ruest, D Jarret Johns, D Brandon Leonardo, D Jeff McNeil, D Kristian McMenemy, F Patrick MacIsaac, F Jonathan Biron, F Brandon Boutilier, F Anthony Cardinal, F Darcy Burley and F Leon Knockwood.
Coach: Terry Rhindress Jr.
Last Season: 15-36-1-0-31 (finished six, did not make playoffs)
Back: G Billy Clarke, G Dylan McQuid, F Mitch Hennebury, D Roland Provencal, D Craig Langille, D Zac Zackas, D Andrew Kennedy, F Luke Ramey, F Michael Crawley, F Damon MacEacher, F Luke Warner, F Shawn Boudreu and F Cody Coffin.
Gone: D Kevin Jackson, D Jack Stowbridge, F Jake Bullen, F Brennan Saulnier, F Nick Gouthro, F Jung Ahn and F Kaleb Lazaric.