AMHERST – Brett Shute is becoming accustomed to scoring big goals.
The veteran forward was the hero for the second consecutive game scoring the game-winner as the Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers twice came back from one-goal deficits to defeat the Yarmouth Mariners 3-2 in Eastlink Division semifinal action on Tuesday.
With the win, the Ramblers take a 2-0 series lead with Game 3 in Yarmouth on Thursday.
On the winning goal, Cam McDonald threw the puck up to Kody Orr, who tipped it over to Shute. Shute beat off the defenceman and managed to get the puck by goalie Chase Gaudet, who got the start for Yarmouth.
“They turned it over in the high slot, I turned to go up ice and next thing I knew I had a partial breakaway. I beat the defenceman, went forehand and it went into the net,” Shute said moments after the game. “It’s a big win for us. We had to battle to get back in and were fortunate to get the breakaway and put it away.”
Shute scored the overtime winner on Saturday in Yarmouth.
The Mariners opened the scoring 4:46 into the opening period before Brock Morrison, with his third of the series, tied the game on the power play from Danny Harquail and Patrick Harrison at 12:26.
Ben MacSwain scored on a pass across the goalmouth from Jared Hicks and Kyle Campbell on the power play at 12:47 of the second period and it looked as though it would be all the Mariners would need with Gaudet making a number of big stops late in the second and early in the third.
Jamie Bishop, who struggled through the opener with a lingering injury, picked up a loose puck at the blueline and fired a slap shot along the ice that beat Gaudet through the legs to tie the score. Maxime Richard and Shawn Wright added assists on the goal.
“I actually fanned on the shot,” Bishop said. “The boys worked hard. It was a great win.”
Ramblers coach Jim Bottomley said he’s happy with the win, but cautioned it’s a long way from claiming the series.
“We have to go down there and win again. They’re not going to turnover and quit. They have a good hockey team, we just have to keep outworking them,” Bottomley said after the game.
Even though the club was down 2-1 after two periods, Bottomley thought his team was outplaying the Mariners and he told his players to be patient and wait for their opportunity.
Bottomley said it’s nice to see Shute get some success.
“He’s always been known as a checker, but he can put the puck in the net. We put him up on the first line a few times this year and he responded,” Bottomley said. “He’s a big physical body and he can shoot the puck.”
The Ramblers lost Harquail for most of the game after he re-aggravated an injury that kept him out of the lineup for the last week of the season. Bottomley expects him to return on Thursday.