Ramblers need to be more physical

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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Bottomley calling on veterans to show leadership

Teams need to pay a price when they face the Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers, says its coach and general manager.

Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers defenceman Ben MacDonald battles Lucas Blomquist of the Weeks Crushers in MHL action last Saturday. Amherst, which had its five-game winning streak snapped by the Crushers, is in Woodstock tonight and back home Saturday to face the Kentville Wildcats.

AMHERST – Teams need to pay a price when they face the Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers, says its coach and general manager.

The Ramblers, coming off a 3-1 loss to the Weeks Crushers last Saturday that snapped a five-game losing streak, are back in action for a pair of games this weekend.

Action begins tonight in Woodstock when the Ramblers play the Slammers – a team that stole Amherst’s home opener back in September. On Saturday, Amherst hosts the Kentville Wildcats at the stadium. Game time is 7 p.m.

“We need to play a more physical game and get more bodies to the net,” Jim Bottomley said Thursday. “We also need to have better starts. You can’t have a slow start in this league because the teams are just too good. We had a slow start against Pictou last week. We got better as the game went on, but we couldn’t beat (Brandon) Thibeau.”

Last Saturday’s game against the Crushers was the first one Bottomley attended since having surgery to remove a growth from his tongue and several lymph nodes. The Ramblers coach admitted he wasn’t impressed with what he saw and addressed his feelings with several veterans before practice on Tuesday.

Bottomley said he was frustrated by the effort of several players and an unwillingness to pay the price, while a couple of undisciplined penalties also got under his skin.

“I talked to Tim (Ripley) afterwards and he said we had a very good practice with a lot of intensity,” Bottomley said. “I think we had to address a few things and I’m confident everyone’s on the same page again.

“We were getting lots of shots, but they were all from the perimeter. No one was going to net to get rebounds or create havoc out front,” Bottomley said.

Woodstock is coming off a 6-0 loss on home ice against the Crushers last Friday, while Kentville, who lost to Amherst in overtime last Saturday, also dropped a 5-2 decision to Dieppe on Sunday.

“These are two important games for us. Both teams are coming off losses and will be wanting to get back in the win column. We need to win both of these games to move up the standings,” Bottomley said.

As for his status, Bottomley said it’s now unlikely he’ll be behind the bench this weekend. While he was hoping to return to the bench for Saturday’s game, Bottomley said his doctor has suggested he take some more time to recover.

Bottomley has resumed his GM’s duties, adding he is working on a few trades, including trying to find a new home for Damon MacEachern. MacEachern left the hockey club earlier this week and returned to Halifax.

One of the biggest things he wants to address through a trade is scoring, adding he is continuing to look for an elite forward to lead the team offensively.

“We have lots of size, but we need some skill to add to what we have,” he said.

darrell.cole@tc.tc

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

Organizations: Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers

Geographic location: Dieppe, Halifax

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