AMHERST – If the Amherst Ramblers want to stay in the hunt for the Eastlink Division crown, they have to find a way to beat the Yarmouth Mariners.
“They have a very good hockey team, but so do we,” Ramblers’ coach Jim Bottomley said. “We’ve proven time and time again how good we can be. Now it’s up to us to show we can compete with and beat teams like Yarmouth and Truro.”
The Mariners, who defeated the Ramblers in seven games last spring to win the division championship, are in Amherst on Saturday to face the Ramblers in a game that will have playoff intensity even though it’s only November.
Game time is 7 p.m.
Yarmouth sits in second-place in the Eastlink Division, four points ahead of third-place Amherst.
The two teams met in Yarmouth in September with the Mariners come out with a 5-2 win. Matt Tomah, who scored some big goals against Amherst in last spring’s series, scored two goals in the win.
Bottomley said beating the Mariners comes down to two things: discipline and hard work.
“If you play that way against them, or any team in this league, you’ll have success,” Bottomley said. “If you take bad penalties or have a bad period the results aren’t going to be good. They have too good a team to be taking penalties or making mistakes.”
Bottomley said he is pleased with how the team is playing, adding a week off allowed the club to work on a few things in practice and prepare for Saturday’s game.
The team is coming off a seesaw weekend in which the Ramblers travelled to Woodstock on Friday to defeat the defending league champion Slammers for the second time this season. On Sunday, the Ramblers dropped a 3-2 decision to division-leading Truro Bearcats.
“I was happy with how we played last weekend,” he said. “The boys executed on Friday in Woodstock and came away with the win. They played well on Sunday, but fell short.”
Bottomley is happy with the play of his captain, Kody Orr. Orr had two goals and an assist against Woodstock, while forwards Brock Morrison and Ben Berisha have also been solid offensively.
The club has also seen strong play from Jeff MacPherson and Patrick Harrison, while the addition of Cam McDonald has further solidified the defence.
After Saturday’s game, the Ramblers are off until Nov. 10 when the Weeks Crushers are in Amherst. On Nov. 11, the Ramblers are in Bridgewater to face the Lumberjacks.