AMHERST – The Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers have an opportunity to move closer to the top of the Eastlink Division tonight when they face the Yarmouth Mariners in Maritime Junior Hockey League action at the Mariners Centre.
Game time is 7:30 p.m.
The Ramblers are also home Saturday against the Metro Shipbuilders at 7 p.m.
“It’s going to be our biggest game of the season,” Ramblers’ coach Jim Bottomley said Thursday. “We’re still trying to chip away and get as close to first as we can before the end of the year. We feel that not only second place, but also first place could be in reach.”
Bottomley said team chemistry is so strong right now and his players believe they can win any game.
“If they continue with that attitude and play hard every night we’re going to have a lot of success,” Bottomley said.
Amherst sits four points back of the Mariners in the standings, following a 3-2 win over Truro at home on Wednesday. It was their second consecutive win over the Bearcats in less than a week.
In that game, Ben Berisha scored the winning goal with 1:43 to play in the third period as the Ramblers rallied from a 2-1 second period deficit to pull closer to the second-place Bearcats.
Tonight’s game comes six days after the Mariners rallied from a two-goal deficit to post a 6-4 win over the Ramblers.
“We stopped what was successful for and that was our physical play and forechecking,” Bottomley said about the loss. “We took a bad penalty and they scored on it and the momentum seemed to shift. Against Truro, when we fell behind 2-1 we came right back and played a 60-minute game.”
Amherst has dominated Metro this season, but Bottomley doesn’t expect his players to take the Shipbuilders for granted. The Ramblers’ coach said the Shipbuilders have played his club hard all season, but don’t have as much depth.
“We’ve played very physical hockey in the last week in some very tough games,” Bottomley said, adding he hopes to get a few more players in the lineup Saturday.
Bottomley said the Ramblers won’t be making any lineup changes for tonight’s game. He said Shawn Wright has proven to be a solid addition to the lineup with his physical play.