Ramblers return with renewed optimism

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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Regular season kicks off tonight in Kentville

AMHERST – While there are still a few holes remaining to be filled, Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers’ coach Jim Bottomley likes his team.

Brock Morrison and the Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers open the 2012-13 Maritime Junior Hockey League season in Kentville on Friday before coming home to face Woodstock on Saturday and Miramichi on Sunday.

AMHERST – While there are still a few holes remaining to be filled, Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers’ coach Jim Bottomley likes his team.

The Ramblers are on the road today to open the 2013 Maritime Junior Hockey League regular season against the Valley Wildcats, who relocated to Kentville from Dartmouth after last season.

The club returns to the Amherst Stadium on Saturday to host the Woodstock Slammers in the home opener at 7 p.m. before hosting the Miramichi Timberwolves on Sunday in the finale of a tough three games in three days start to the season.

“It’s a tough way to start the season, but we’ll definitely see what we’re made of,” Bottomley said. “Hopefully we’ll start the year with six points right off the bat and there’s no reason why we can’t.”

Several key members are gone from last year’s squad that knocked off the Yarmouth Mariners in the opening round of the Eastlink Division playoffs before bowing out in the divisional final in six games to the Truro Bearcats.

Captain Kody Orr, Ben Berisha, Maxime Richard, Jacob Conrad, Jeff MacPherson, Patrick Harrison, Morgan Walker and Mitch O’Neill all graduated, while Josh Pugsley moved on to the Moncton Wildcats and Danny Harquail decided to stay in Ontario.

Despite this, the club has a solid core of returnees especially on the backend where goalies Richard Tingley and Chase Marchand are back along with defencemen Jamie Bishop, Cam McDonald, Ben MacDonald, Willie MacDonald and Kyle Beckwith. Returning forwards include Brock Morrison, Brett Shute, Robert Davis, Shawn Wright, Ryan Caswell and Serge Boisvert (who split between Amherst and Cumberland County Blues last season).

Newcomers include forwards Nick Cass from Fredericton, John Deacon from the Valley, Damon McEachern (acquired on draft day from Valley), Zack MacEwan from Charlottetown, Blake Millman from the Quebec Remparts, MacKenzie Young from Citadel High school in Halifax and Ross Martin (picked up earlier this week from the Miramichi Timberwolves.

The club released forward Nick Skerlick earlier this week and sent both 16-year-old defencemen Duncan McKie and Lucas Sangster back to major midget.

“During the exhibition schedule we played guys in different situations to see what they could do, now that we have an idea of what they can it’s up to them to work hard to stay there,” Bottomley said. “We have some definite needs going into the season and it’s something we’re going to continue to address as the season goes on.”

Bottomley. “We certainly want to be competitive and have that same work ethic we had last year.”

Looking at the division this year, Bottomley said things are again going to be so close that every regular season game will be like the playoffs.

darrell.cole@tc.tc

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

 

Eastlink Division Season Preview

 

Amherst Ramblers

Coach: Jim Bottomley.

Returnees: Goalies Richard Tingley and Chase Marchand; defencemen Jamie Bishop, Cam McDonald, Ben MacDonald, Willie MacDonald and Kyle Beckwith; and forwards Brock Morrison, Brett Shute, Robert Davis, Shawn Wright, Ryan Caswell and Serge Boisvert.

Key Losses: Defencemen Patrick Harrison and Morgan Walker and forwards Kody Orr, Maxime Richard, Ben Berisha, Jacob Conrad, Jeff MacPherson, Mitch O’Neill, Josh Pugsley and Danny Harquail

New Faces: Forwards Nick Cass, John Deacon, Damon MacEachern, Zack MacEwan, Blake Millman, Ross Martin and Mackenzie Young.

 

Bridgewater Lumberjacks

Coach: Ron Watkins.

Returnees: Goalie Billy Clarke; defencemen Mitch Hennebury, Robert Fraser and Brendan Nickerson and forwards Shawn Boudreau, Ryan Groom, Connor Hilton, Jesse MacInnes, Shaun McEachern and Josh Shatford.

Key Losses: Goalie Jordan Lee; defencemen Brandon Leonardo, Zac Zackas, Jared Dodman, Zack Foster and Brandon Gaudet; and forwards Michael Crawley, Jeremy Butterworth, Luc Ramey, Cody Coffin, Josh Bowman and Alex Seaforth.

New Faces: Goalie Corey Peterson, defencemen Brennan Bailey, Ryan Daley, Jeff Krichew, Patrick Duggan and Brian Reardon; and forwards Chad Cullen, Jacob McNutt, Layton Parsons, Campbell Pickard and Nolan Kinney.

 

Truro Bearcats

Coach: Sean Evans.

Returnees: Goalie Jacob Fancy; defencemen Cal Gloade, Ryan Moore and David Mosher; and forwards Brandon Pye, Phil Fife, Colby Lanceleve, Mitch Robillard, Jeff Hanes, Daniel Perigo and Tyler Morrison.

Key Losses: Goalie Shayne Campbell; defencemen Mitchell Scott, Patrick Downe, Zack Evans-Renaud and Adam Guy; and forwards Alex Hazelhurst, Kyle Morrison, Travis Moore, Travis Fernley, Jordan Coccimiglio, Dylan McGuigan, Grant West and Jordan Scott.

New Faces: Goalie Jordan Kennedy; defencemen Alex Anthony, Jordan McNaughton, Daniel Poliziani and Matt Riley; and forwards Brandon Bazinet, Justin Doiron, Curtis Hastings, Alex McDonald, Denver Lynds, Jean-Marc Renaud, Kyle Tibbo and Jordan Wentzell.

 

Valley Wildcats

Coach: Nick Greenough.

Returnees: Goalie Jeff Arkin; defencemen Kaden Ruest and Craig Langille; forwards Mitchell Jones, Brad Ryckman, Brandon Boutilier, Anthony Cardinal, Darcy Burley, Justin Thomas, Mike Molloy, Patrick MacIsaac and Jamie McIntyre.

Key Losses: Goalie Max Feener; defencemen Adam Brown, Roland Provencal, Connor McCoach, Jonathan Biron, Jarrett Johns and Kyle Kokatailo; and forwards Leon Knockwood and Damon McEachern.

New Faces: Goalie Blade Mann-Dixon; defencemen Brady Atwater, Chris Clark, Erik Campbell and Austin Harding; and forwards Grant Janes, Colby Tower and Brandon Weir.

 

Weeks Crushers

Coach: Jason Malone

Returnees: Goalie Brandon Thibeau; defencemen Evan MacEachern, Mitch Shewfelt and Daniel MacLeod; and forwards Nick Parker, Garrett Holmes, Andrew Graham, John Mullalley, Mitch Dereulle, Jordan MacInnis, Brandon Parsons, Tyler Doyle and Evan Carmody.

Key Losses: Goalie Dylan Frank; defencemen Jordan Moore, Andrew Darrigo, Brennan Bailey, Tim Rose and Patrick Levesque; and forwards Bruce Hornbrook, Devan Gunn, Cody Squires and Corey Bennett.

New Faces: Goalie Devan Tremblay; defencemen Lucas Blomquist and Brett Doiron; and forwards Rory Graham, Garrett Lambke, Stephen MacInnis, Regan Spears and David Stephens.

 

Yarmouth Mariners

Coach: Laurie Barron

Returnees: Goalie Chase Gaudet; defencemen Josh Demond, Connor Rogers, Billy Hartley and Nicklas Lindstrom; and forwards Colin Campbell, Zack Henry, Morgan Messenger, Kyle Campbell, Brayden Mercier, Matt Wright and Mark Creaser.

Key Losses: Goalie Travis Wilkins; defencemen Rodney Machoney, Cody Castro and Derek Larade; and forwards Jared Hicks, Matt Tomah, Jon Johannesson, Ben MacSwain and Brandon Bussey.

New Faces: Goalie Anderson Snair; defencemen Travis Blinkhorn, Jake McKenna and Nick Philips; and forwards Morgan d’Entremont, Devon Earle, Sean Fraser, Matt Martin, Jordan Messenger, Brandon Syms and Tim Perks.

 

Organizations: CIBC Wood Gundy, Maritime Junior Hockey League, Eastlink Division Citadel High school

Geographic location: Amherst Stadium, Kentville, Dartmouth Moncton Ontario Cumberland County Fredericton Charlottetown Halifax Colby Tower

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