AMHERST – The Campbellton Tigers have never been an easy two points for the Amherst Ramblers.
The Tigers are in Amherst on Saturday at 7 p.m. to face a team they have given fits to the last few seasons. They may be looking for their first win of the season, but coach Jim Bottomley isn’t taking them lightly.
It’s a lesson learned last week when his club dropped a 5-4 decision to the Miramichi Timberwolves.
“There are no easy wins in this league and Campbellton will be ready to play. We can’t look at their record,” Bottomley said Thursday. “They are improving and will have Grant West back in their lineup.”
The Ramblers are in Dieppe on Sunday to face the Commandos at 2:30 p.m. at the Arthur J. LeBlanc Arena.
Amherst is coming off a 5-2 win over the Meek Division leading Summerside Western Capitals last Saturday. In that game, the Ramblers scored five of the last six goals to pick up the win. It’s an effort Bottomley hopes to see this weekend.
“These are games we need to win to move up the standings,” he said. “The division is going to be so tight this year that there are really no games you can afford to lose. If we play hockey like we can we should be OK.”
The week off has given the team some time to work on some systems and prepare for this weekend’s games. Bottomley said the team has focused a lot on one-on-one battling drills as well as on the power play and penalty kill.
He doesn’t expect there to be many lineup changes on Saturday although he is optimistic that defenceman Jeff Krichew, out with a concussion suffered in the Saint John Sea Dogs camp, will return to the lineup.
Bottomley also expects to have 18-year-old defenceman Fraser Stang playing this weekend. Stang arrived in camp early this week. The 5’10” Taber, Alta. Native played last season with the Lloydminster Bobcats of the Alberta Junior Hockey League and the Beaver Valley Nitehawks of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.
Stang had two goals and 15 assists in 42 games in Beaver Valley while picking up 158 penalty minutes.
The return of Krichew and the signing of Stang gives the Ramblers nine defenceman. Eventually, Bottomley said, he will have to make some moves.