AMHERST – With three games to go before the Christmas break, Jim Bottomley wants his Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers to stay focused.
The Ramblers return to action on Saturday when they host the Metro Shipbuilders in Maritime Junior Hockey League at the Amherst Stadium. Game time is 7 p.m.
“We’re playing pretty good hockey right now, but we can’t afford to take anyone for granted,” coach Jim Bottomley said Thursday. “The next three games are very important to us.
“It’s a tough time of year. We have a lot of guys from out of town and they’re thinking about going home for Christmas. It’s important for us to keep them focused for at least another week.”
Amherst enters the game in third place in the league’s Eastlink Division after dropping games to the Weeks Crushers and the Yarmouth Mariners last weekend before picking up a 4-2 win in Dieppe on Sunday against the Commandos.
The Ramblers are fighting the injury bug with Patrick MacPherson out until January after suffering a knee injury against the Crushers last Thursday, while forward Brock Morrison is questionable for this weekend after injuring his shoulder against the Mariners on Saturday.
Defenceman Kyle Beckwith has a lower body injury and has been playing through it. He is expected to play Saturday against Metro.
The Shipbuilders sit in last place in the Eastlink Division standings with just four wins and nine points in 31 games.
The two teams met in Dartmouth on Nov. 27 with the Ramblers, spotting the Shipbuilders to an early 2-0 lead before storming back to win 7-2 on a three-goal effort by Kody Orr.
The Ramblers are home again Wednesday when they host the division-leading and nationally-ranked Truro Bearcats at 7:30 p.m. The team concludes its pre-Christmas schedule on Dec. 21 in Bridgewater against the Lumberjacks.
With the league’s trading deadline less than a month away, Bottomley said he is looking to add two or three players. Bottomley said he would like to add one or two offensive forwards and one defenceman.
“The competition for players is pretty fierce right now with Summerside building for the RBC and Truro getting ready for the Fred Page Cup,” Bottomley said. “We have to find creative ways to find the right players. It’s something we’re working on. We have a very good hockey team as it stands right now. We’ll be looking to build on what we got.”