Bottomley wants a blue-collar effort this weekend

Darrell Cole
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Ramblers host Crushers, Bearcats in MHL action

The Amherst Ramblers host the Weeks Crushers and Truro Bearcats in weekend MHL action.

Amherst Ramblers' forward Serge Boisvert battles a Yarmouth Mariners' player on a faceoff in recent MHL action. The Ramblers host the Weeks Crushers on Saturday and the Truro Bearcats on Monday.

AMHERST – Jim Bottomley wants his team to play with grit and consistency this weekend when the Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers face their biggest test of the season.

The Ramblers, coming off a 4-2 loss in Dieppe on Wednesday, host the Weeks Crushers on Saturday and the Truro Bearcats on Monday in a pair of Maritime Junior Hockey League games against teams the club is chasing in the Eastlink Division standings.

Saturday’s game is at 7 p.m., while Monday’s game is at 4 p.m.

All veterans, cadets in uniform and minor hockey players wearing their jerseys will be admitted free of charge.

“It’s a big weekend for our hockey club. They’re both divisional games and games we need to win,” Bottomley said last night. “We need to get a better start than we had on Wednesday and we need to play our game, which is work hard and create our own opportunities. When we do that we have success. When we try to match a team player for player, we have difficulty. We have to play our style.”

On Wednesday, the Commandos jumped out to a 3-0 first period lead before the Ramblers finally got on the board midway through the second period when Brock Morrison scored.

Ryan Caswell had the other Amherst goal in the game.

Bottomley said despite the slow start, his players controlled the final two periods but couldn’t beat Dieppe goalie Connor Wilkinson.

“We sort of stood around and watched them in the first period,” Bottomley said. “They got a lot of pucks on net and scored on a couple of rebounds. Once we started finishing our checks and took the game to them we started to take control. We created a lot of scoring chances, but Wilkinson played better as the game went on.”

Bottomley said the coaching staff has been preaching a blue-collar game. Instead of being pretty or trying to play a finesse game, he wants his players to play a hard-nosed game that includes keeping pucks deep, crashing and banging and taking advantage of their opportunities.

“That’s how we played against Yarmouth and that’s how I want them to play every game,” he said.

The last time Amherst played the Crushers, Pictou escaped with a 3-1 win in a game in which goalie Brandon Thibeau was the difference.

“In that game we had the shots, but no one was in front of the net, paying the price. Now we have guys going to the net with and without the puck and we want the pucks in the net. We have to battle in that blue area. We have the size and that’s one area we have to take advantage of,” Bottomley said.

The Ramblers will be without goalie Chase Marchand, who has been called up to the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles for the weekend.

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

Organizations: Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers, Maritime Junior Hockey League, Eastlink Division

Geographic location: Dieppe, Yarmouth

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