AMHERST – For a player who likens his game to that of former NHLer Gary Roberts, Jeff MacPherson has had a dramatic impact with his new club.
Since arriving in a trade with the Woodstock Slammers early in the season, MacPherson has scored five goals and added six assists for 11 points in nine games with the Amherst Ramblers, teaming up with rookie Josh Pugsley and veteran Brett Shute to provide both grit and firepower.
“We’re really playing well together as a unit. We all play the same style of hockey and really compliment each other. Because of how we play we’re creating a lot of room for each other and we’re getting results,” said MacPherson, who added that coming to Amherst has been a bit of a family reunion with cousins living in Pugwash.
MacPherson, who spent the last two seasons with the Aurora Tigers of the Ontario Junior Hockey League, said the adjustment to the Maritime Junior Hockey League hasn’t been difficult. He said the league is more akin to his style of gritty play.
“I like to play the hard-hitting, in-your-face type of game,” MacPherson said. “This league is well suited for that style of game and I’m having a lot of success playing that way.”
Last year was the 19-year-old Cookstown, Ont. native’s first year up front after playing most of his minor and junior hockey career as a defenceman. While making the adjustment has been a challenge, he said it has made him a better all around player and should help him down the road. He is hoping to catch on with a college or university team in the CIS or south of the border in the NCAA.
MacPherson said the league he played in last season was more of a developmental league, while the MHL is closer to the style of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Coach Jim Bottomley said MacPherson filled a glaring need at the first of the year.
“He has been a physical presence in the lineup since he arrived,” Bottomley said. “He’s a high-energy type player who comes to play hard every game.”
Bottomley said he has been surprised at MacPherson’s offence game. He said he’s a player who plays with no fear and is well suited to his line and the league.