AMHERST – Ben Berisha scored with 1:43 to play to lift the Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers to a 3-2 win over the Truro Bearcats in Maritime Junior Hockey League action Wednesday.
With a delayed penalty coming to the Bearcats, Berisha took a pass from Mitch O’Neil and slipped it past Shane Campbell to give Amherst its second consecutive win over Truro.
“The boys played really hard. We knew Truro was going to come back with a lot of fire, but we took it to them and got the win,” Berisha said following the game. “We’ve worked hard all season and we knew this would be like a playoff game”
Berisha said he drove the net knowing he was going to get a pass from O’Neil.
Amherst opened the scoring just 2:28 into the when Brock Morrison broke in the right side and beat Campbell to give the Ramblers the early lead. Danny Harquail and Brett Shute added assists.
The Ramblers thought they had another goal with six minutes to go in the period, but referee Jason Blanchard washed out the goal after checking with his linsemen.
Truro tied the score 3:04 into the second period when Mitchell Robillard was given credit for a goal that was put into the net by a Ramblers’ defenceman.
Cal Gloade’s point shot on the power play at 9:40 gave Truro a 2-1 lead with Patrick Downe and Grant West assist.
Amherst game back with just over six minutes to play in the middle period when Patrick Harrison’s slap shot through traffic found the back of the net with Maxime Richard and Jeff MacPherson adding assists.
Both teams killed off penalties late in the third period.
Amherst outshot Truro 37-28 with Richard Tingley earning the win in goal.
The win pulls Amherst to within three points of second-place Truro and four points of division-leading Yarmouth. It also gives them an eight-point cushion over the Weeks Crushers with two games in hand.
“It was another solid win, just like a playoff game,” Ramblers’ coach Jim Bottomley said. “It’s a mirror of what we did in Truro. We worked hard and took the body to them. We had a couple of calls go against us, but the guys kept focused and battled through it. Good teams find a way to win.”
The Ramblers return to action on Friday when they travel to Yarmouth to face the Mariners in a rematch of last Saturday’s game that Yarmouth won 6-4.
“It’s not hard to keep the momentum right now. The guys want to get first place in the division. These guys are close knit and have a lot of chemistry. We want to win,” Bottomley said. “We’ve had big games against Truro, Summerside and Woodstock. Yarmouth’s the only team we haven’t beaten yet, but we’re coming out of there Friday with two points.”
Amherst is home Saturday to the Metro Shipbuilders.