AMHERST – Expect the Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers to be active in the days leading up to the Maritime Junior Hockey League trading deadline.
With a few open cards and a couple of needs heading into the second half of the season, coach Jim Bottomley said he will be looking for some scoring help and another defenceman in the coming week before the Jan. 10 deadline.
“I really like our hockey team and we will in the hunt the rest of the season,” Bottomely said Wednesday. “I would still like to add a couple more pieces before the deadline. We’ve made a decision as an organization that we’re going to make a run for it and I’ve been busy in the phone the last few weeks trying to make some moves.”
Bottomley said he’d like to add at least two goal-scoring forwards. He plans to first look within the league, but is prepared to look elsewhere to bring in a player or two to improve the offence.
“I’d like to add some experience and some guys to put the puck in the net,” Bottomley said. “There are a couple of guys in our league that we’d like to have, but if we have to look elsewhere we’re prepared to do that as well.”
While bringing players in will come with a financial cost, Bottomley said not doing anything will come with a cost as well. He said winning playoff games and advancing far into the postseason are key for the club financially.
‘We need to go deep in the playoffs. The playoff run is very important to our hockey club. We’re looking to add to have a good playoff run,” he said. “We fell good about our club and we’re in good shape for next season. We just want to tinker with the lineup a little so we can go deeper into the playoffs.”
While he is looking to add some players, Bottomley said he is very pleased with his hockey team’s performance before Christmas. The Ramblers sit in third place in the league’s Eastlink Division with a 19-8-3 record, four points back of the Truro Bearcats and six back of first-place Yarmouth.
“I’m happy with where we stand, after losing so many guys last year. We have a younger team, but they have bought into what we’re doing. We have great chemistry and there are a lot of positives,” Bottomley said.
Bringing in Ben Berisha and Brock Morrison from Summerside helped provide some offence early on, while the recent addition of Danny Harquail from Woodstock has only served to strengthen the hockey club.
Defensively, he said, the addition of Jeff MacPherson and Cam McDonald have given the club one of the top blueline corps in the league – something that’s been complimented by the strong play of goalies Richard Tingley and Chase Marchand.
The Ramblers return to action on Saturday whey they host the Dieppe Commandos at the Amherst Stadium at 7 p.m.