AMHERST – The Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers hope to make a statement Wednesday when they host the nationally-ranked Truro Bearcats in Maritime Junior Hockey League action at the Amherst Stadium.
Game time is 7:30 p.m.
Coming off a convincing 6-0 win over the Metro Shipbuilders, the Ramblers – who received honourable mention in this week’s Canadian Junior A rankings – will face a Truro team coming off a 2-1 loss to the Dieppe Commandos on Sunday in Dieppe.
“We’re looking for a win at home. It’s our last home game for a couple of weeks,” Ramblers’ coach Jim Bottomley said. “We want a piece of these guys. We lost a close one to them in their rink earlier in the season and we want to show that we can compete and battle with the top teams in our division.”
Bottomley said the key to success tonight will be a 60-minute effort as well as discipline. The Bearcats, he said, have a strong power play, meaning staying out of the penalty box will be important.
“They got a great power play and they have some offence there with a lot of skill,” Bottomley said. “The key is staying out of the box. Five-on-five I think we can play with them.”
Bottomley said the biggest thing with Truro is cutting down on turnovers and keeping the puck deep in the Bearcats’ zone. Another key is not falling behind.
“They play so tight defensively. It’s nice to get a lead on them early because if they get a goal or two lead on you it’s hard to come back,” Bottomley said. “Our guys are playing great hockey right now. We have the second best record in the league in the last 10 games, and that’s with a couple of guys out of the lineup.”
The Ramblers are still without Jeff MacPherson and Brock Morrison, but Bottomley said he has been impressed with how others have stepped up their games including second-year forward Maxime Richard, who had two goals against Metro on Saturday, and Kody Orr, who has taken on more of an offensive role this season.
“We want to finish off on a positive note,” Bottomley said.
The Ramblers conclude the pre-Christmas schedule in Bridgewater on Friday.
Bottomley plans to be active prior to the Jan. 10 trading deadline. He said he has talked to the Commandos about the league’s leading scorer Danny Chiasson and to Bridgewater about forward Jacob Conrad.
“We’ve been in touch with both teams. We’d love to get someone within the league of their caliber,” he said. “If not, we’ll look outside. We will definitely be looking to add someone.”
He said the team that offers the most in return will likely land Chiasson and Conrad. He said Amherst’s proximity to Moncton could be a factor in any deal involving Chiasson, but said that will be up to the Commandos to make the best move for their hockey club.
“We’re in the thick of things. We’re not guaranteed to be in either championship, and most 20-year-olds are looking for that guarantee. We’re looking for guys who will step in right away and help our hockey club and both of those guys would do that for us,” Bottomley said.