DIEPPE – The Amherst Ramblers remain winless on the road following a 3-2 overtime loss to the Dieppe Commandos on Sunday.
The loss came despite a furious third period comeback that saw the Ramblers score twice in four minutes in the game’s final 10 minutes.
“I thought we played a solid road game,” Ramblers’ coach Jim Bottomley said following the loss. “We had a few chances, including a five-minute power play we didn’t capitalize on. The thing I liked is the guys didn’t quit. I liked the way the guys battled back. Three points out of four on the weekend is good.”
After a scoreless first period in which the Ramblers were buzzing around Commandos’ goalie Connor Wilkinson, it was Dieppe that opened the scoring 2:59 into the second period as Zach Cahill’s high shot beat Richard Tingley over the shoulder.
The Commandos extended the lead to 2-0 just 5:09 into the final period when Joel Blanchard’s shot under the crossbar gave the Dieppe squad the insurance goal it thought it needed.
Amherst got a five-minute power play when after a breakaway Ramblers’ rookie Josh Pugsley, who scored his first career MHL goal on Saturday night, was slammed into the boards by Justin McCarthy-Paul.
Despite several chances, Amherst could not solve Wilkinson.
The Ramblers finally got on the board when Serge Boisvert forced a turnover to the side of the Commandos goal and fed it out front to Jesse MacInnis, who stuffed the puck between Wilkinson’s legs to pull Amherst to within a goal.
Ben Berisha made the tying goal happen, breaking in the right side and picking up his own rebound. He went behind the net and fed the puck out front to Maxime Richard, who tied the game with just over eight minutes to play.
On the winning goal, Danny Chiasson carried the puck in the left side and fired a shot on Tingley. Tingley made the original save, but Alex Clark, who was trailing the play, picked up the rebound and deposited it into the empty net.
On Saturday, the Ramblers built up a four goal lead after two periods and almost let it slip away, escaping with a 6-4 win over the Campbellton Tigers.
Holding a 4-0 lead, after scoring three in the first period and one in the second, the Ramblers saw the Tigers pull to within a goal early in the third before scoring a pair of goals later in the period to sandwich one by the Tigers, who made things interesting in the last five minutes.
Two of Campbellton’s goals came in the final period’s first minute as Robert Pelletier scored twice with Ramblers’ rookie Ryan Caswell in the box serving a double-minor for high-sticking.
“It was a win, but we let it slip away in the third period. We took a bad penalty off a faceoff and we paid a price,” Bottomley said. “It was one of those games we should of won, but barely won.”
Amherst opened the scoring on the power play 13:39 into the opening frame as Pugsley scored with Jamie Bishop adding an assist before Dylan Brake just over two minutes later to extend the lead to two goals with Ben MacDonald and Patrick Harrison adding assists.
The Ramblers added another goal 11 seconds later with Berisha scoring. Brock Morrison and Willie MacDonald added assists.
Mitch O’Neill scored on the power play 7:46 into the middle period from Willie MacDonald and Richard and it appeared the Ramblers would cruise to the win.
After Pelletier scored his two goals 26 seconds apart early in the third, Oleg Hayduk pulled Campbellton to within a goal at 9:05.
Morrison restored Amherst’s two-goal cushion redirecting a pass from Richard by the Tigers goal at 11:00 with Berisha adding an assist.
The Tigers again pulled to within one when Frankie Hart scored at 15:38, but Brett Shute continued his hot streak scoring on a breakaway at 17:47 from Jeff MacPherson.
Amherst out shot the Tigers 43-32.
“I was a little disappointed with the way we carried ourselves in the third period. You can’t take anyone easy in this league. This is one of the best leagues in Canada and you have to be on your game to win,” Bottomley said.
The Ramblers return to action on Friday when they face the Tigers in Campbellton. The Tigers are in Amherst on Saturday.