AMHERST – Maxime Richard has a habit of being in the right place at the right time.
The second-year forward with the Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers has scored some big goals of late and as a result his team has another shot at second place in the Maritime Junior Hockey League’s Eastlink Division standings.
“I’ve had some big goals in the last few games, but we have a great team and we’ve been playing very good,” Richard said Tuesday. “I was in the right place at the right time.”
Richard had the shootout winner on Sunday as the Ramblers twice battled back to tie the score in a 3-2 win over the Truro Bearcats. Richard also had the shootout winner in Yarmouth two weeks ago as the Ramblers picked up their first win of the season over the Mariners.
Amherst can pull into a tie with Truro for second place Wednesday when the two teams meet at the Amherst Stadium. Game time is 7:30 p.m. The Ramblers are in Yarmouth on Friday to face the Mariners in what could be a battle for top spot in the division.
“We are working hard as a team and we’re having success because of it,” said Richard, who leads the Ramblers in scoring with 21 goals and 29 assists for 50 points in 41 games.
Like other returning players, Richard remembers last season’s seventh game disappointment in Yarmouth in the division final. He wants another shot at both the division and league championship and an opportunity to play in the Fred Page Cup in Truro.
“It’s our last game with Truro before the playoffs so it’s going to be a knock ‘em down drag ‘em out type of game,” Ramblers’ coach Jim Bottomley said. “The won the first couple of games against us and we’ve won the last three, so expect it’s going to be a hard-hitting game.”
Bottomley said work ethic has been a strong determining factor for the Ramblers.
“We’ve been working so hard every game and haven’t taken any shifts off,” Bottomley said. “Everyone knows their role on the team. They know what they can do and if they executive and give us 110 per cent we’re going to compete every night. You need that work ethic when you’re playing a highly skilled hockey team like Truro. They’ve been building for two years to host the Page Cup and they’ve brought in a lot of talent. Now it’s a case of outworking that talent.”
Bottomley said the coaching staff has been stressing winning the one-on-one battles with the forwards playing a physical game and putting lots of pucks to the net. Defensively, he said, the key has been playing defence and avoiding odd-man situations.
The Ramblers are also home Saturday when they face the Bridgewater Lumberjacks.
Friday’s game in Yarmouth will be broadcast on 101.7 FM CKDH with Roger White and Darrell Cole bringing you the action. The pre-game show starts at 7:10 p.m.