AMHERST – The Amherst Ramblers learned a valuable lesson about the Miramichi Timberwolves when the teams met two weeks ago. It’s a lesson they hope isn’t repeated.
The Ramblers, coming off a 3-2 win Saturday against the Weeks Crushers, face the Timberwolves in Maritime Junior Hockey League action at the Amherst Stadium Wednesday beginning at 7:30 p.m.
It’s the first of a busy three-game set that sees the Ramblers travel to Woodstock to face the Slammers on Friday before going to Truro to meet the Eastlink Division-leading Bearcats on Sunday.
“We’re playing pretty good hockey right now, but we can’t take anything for granted. I think we have already learned that lesson,” coach Jim Bottomley said Tuesday. “We’re working pretty hard in practice and we’re seeing the results on the ice.”
Amherst has won four in a row and picked up points in seven straight games. Their last regulation loss was in Miramichi on Sept. 26 when the Timberwolves built up a second period lead and held on for a 5-4 win.
“I think we learned that Miramichi is a good hockey team. They’ve beaten some pretty good teams already, including Woodstock, and they’re in every game they play,” Bottomley said. “They’re no pushovers. They’re probably one of the most improved teams in the league this year. They are big and play a physical game.”
On Saturday, Ben Berisha continued his torrid pace scoring two goals in the win over the Crushers. The win moved the club into third place behind Truro and the Yarmouth Mariners.
Bottomley said Berisha is doing what he expected he would do when he acquired his rights from Summerside for Mitch Maynard just before the season started.
“He has taken charge offensively and is getting himself in those dirty areas from where he can score,” Bottomley said. “He has a great shot and their line has really come together when it comes to moving the puck and knowing where each other is.”
The club has made a couple of roster changes. Defenceman Jeff Krichew, who has seen little action because of a concussion suffered in the Saint John Sea Dogs training camp, has left the club. Bottomley said he’s seeking a trade for the defenceman.
Fellow rearguard Fraser Stang has also left the team and returned home to Alberta.
“He figured he wasn’t going to fit into our lineup, especially after we picked up (Cam) McDonald,” Bottomley said.
Bottomley said he was very impressed with the play of McDonald last weekend, saying he has a big presence on the blueline. McDonald, who played a season with the Ramblers, joined the club after being placed on waivers by the Moncton Wildcats last week.
“It was a breath of fresh air to see him back in the lineup. He’s a very smart defenceman who moves the puck very well,” Bottomley said. “He has a pro shot and is very good in his own end of the rink.”