Host Valley Wildcats in lone weekend contest
The Amherst Ramblers begin their post-Christmas schedule at home Saturday against the Valley Wildcats.
© Gary Boudreau Photography
Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers' goalie Richard Tingley and defenceman Ben MacDonald will be back in action Saturday against the Valley Wildcats. It's the club's first game in two weeks.
AMHERST – Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers coach Jim Bottomley hopes his players shake off the rust quickly when they return to action Saturday against the Valley Wildcats.
Thanks to Mother Nature and the Christmas break it has been nearly two weeks since the Ramblers last played on Dec. 20 on the road, a 6-3 win over the Bridgewater Lumberjacks.
Weather cancelled games against the Yarmouth Mariners and the Truro Bearcats just before the break. They’ll be made up in the coming two months before the MHL playoffs begin in early March.
Heading into Saturday’s contest, Bottomley expects his players will be ready to go. Everyone is expected to be back in time for the game.
“I’ve been talking to all the guys over the holidays and they seemed very disciplined about staying in shape over the break. We should be ready to go,” Bottomley said. “We’ll have a good practice under our belts Thursday and go over strategy for Saturday. Valley has a good team and we can’t afford to take them lightly. They play Friday night in Dieppe so they’ll have a game on us when they come here.”
The Wildcats are a team that has given the Ramblers a tough time this season. After dropping the season opener in Kentville, Amherst has defeated the Wildcats four times – including a 6-1 win in Kentville on Dec. 13.
“We just have to keep on playing the way we’ve been playing,” Bottomley said. “The boys have played well since the Truro loss and we have to keep that up. Things are so close going into the second half that every game is a big game. We are also playing a lot of games against the teams that are ahead of us in the standings. Hopefully everyone comes back ready to play.”
With the league’s trading deadline coming on Jan. 10, Bottomley expects to be busy in the next few days. He has been talking to teams both inside and outside the league and is close to making a couple of moves he hopes will provide more offence.
He would also like to add a veteran defenceman to the mix for the playoff push.