AMHERST – Even though the Dieppe Commandos have traded away their top scorer, they are not a team to be taken for granted, says the captain of the Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers.
“Yeah, they’ve traded away Danny Chaisson, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to be an easy two points. They have a young, skilled hockey club and you can’t take them lightly,” Kody Orr said Thursday as his club prepared to open its post-holiday schedule against the Commandos. “There are no teams in our league that you can look past. They’re a fast team and a skilled team. Hopefully when they come in here we can bang them around a bit and play our game.”
Game time is 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Amherst Stadium.
Chaisson was dealt to Summerside in a Dec. 21 that included players and draft picks as the Capitals continue preparations to host the RBC Cup in May.
The Ramblers have split the season series with the Commandos, dropping a 3-2 decision in overtime in October, while earning a 4-2 win in Dieppe last month.
Orr is in the midst of his best season offensively for the Ramblers with 17 goals and 14 assists in 30 games. He is hoping to continue that offensive output in the second half of the schedule, while continuing to work with longtime linemate Mitch O’Neill as two of the league’s top defensive forwards.
“The Christmas break is where everyone gets a chance to recharge themselves. It’s a good break,” Orr said. “Hopefully everybody comes back ready to go and pick up where we left off. It will be good to get back into the swing of things.”
Orr said rust is not an excuse since every team in the league has had the same rest as the Ramblers. He said it won’t take long for things to begin clicking once the game begins.
Coach Jim Bottomley said the team will be ready for Dieppe.
“We’ll be ready. We need to get a jump on these guys early,” Bottomley said. “Even without Chaisson they’re still a good hockey team and we have to be on top of our game.”
Bottomley said forward Brock Morrison, injured in a game against Yarmouth before Christmas, will play, while Jeff MacPherson, who was injured against the Crushers, will likely be a game time decision.
“He’s been off four weeks. The plan is to have a good skate on Thursday and then make a decision from there,” Bottomley said.
The Ramblers are in Woodstock on Sunday for their third meeting of the season against the Slammers. Amherst has won both games against the defending Kent Cup winners, who added Brennan Saulnier from Pictou County on Dec. 20.
“It’s not hard to get up for the game when you play Woodstock. They’re one of those teams you love to beat. Hopefully we can pick up some momentum on Saturday and continue that into Sunday,” Orr said. “They are always a tough team to beat, especially in their own building.”
The veteran forward said he’s pleased with comments from Bottomley saying he’s looking to add players at the deadline.
“It’s good to hear that and there are guys available in the league,” Orr said. “I have full trust in Jimbo as a general manager to go out and make the right deal if it will help the hockey club get to the next level.”
The Ramblers also host Truro on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the stadium.