Amherst knots semifinal series 2-2 with Pictou County
AMHERST – Even though the Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers fell behind 2-0 to the Weeks Crushers early in the first period of Thursday’s Eastlink Division semifinal game, forward Daniel Walsh knew the game was far from over.
© DAVE MATHIESON - TC MEDIA
Weeks Crushers forward Garrett Holmes clears the puck from in front of the Crushers net during Game 4 of their Eastlink Division semifinal series with Amherst last night at the Amherst Stadium.
“We knew we were still in it. It was a huge comeback for us,” Walsh said. “We knew we had to win tonight after things didn’t go very good in Pictou on Tuesday. We knew we could battle back, we just needed a break.”
Ben MacDonald provided that spark late in the first period when his blast from the point on the power play put the Ramblers on the board and started to turn the momentum.
After a flurry of second period goals, including Brock Morrison’s tying goal with 5:56 to go, Walsh scored the lone goal of the third as the Ramblers defeated the Crushers 5-4 to even their best-of-seven series at two games apiece.
“In the dressing room before the game we talked about how we wouldn’t give up if we fell behind a goal or two. Tonight we proved we could do that,” Walsh said. “We tried to keep each other up and focused because we knew we could battle back.”
Game 5 is Saturday at the Wellness Centre in New Glasgow with Game 6 back in Amherst next Wednesday.
“I guess I was in the right place at the right time,” Walsh said. “I struggled a bit in Pictou the other night and felt I had to have a better game.”
Walsh said he positioned himself off to the right of Crushers’ goalie Brandon Thibeau and was surprised when Travis Howe’s point shot bounced right to him.
“All I had to do was whack it in,” he said. “It was a gift.”
After JP Harvey opened the scoring just 1:15 into the opening period, Jordan McInnis was set up by David Stephens and Garrett Holmes just two minutes later as the Crushers enjoyed a two-goal lead.
The Crushers retook the two-goal lead 5:01 into the second when Nick Parker scored on the power play after Howe took a roughing penalty, but Serge Boisvert deflected Cam McDonald’s shot just 27 seconds later to keep the Ramblers within a goal.
Ross Martin, Evan Carmody for the Crushers, and Morrison traded goals in a 48 second span before the end of the period to set the stage for Walsh’s third period goal.
“The boys didn’t quit. They fell behind early, but they battled back to win it,” coach Jim Bottomley said. “I thought Thibeau played a huge game for them, which makes this comeback even more impressive.”
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Bottomley said his players did a better job getting shots and players to the Crushers’ net and he thought Robert Davis, Ross Martin and Francis Alarie were very effective on the forecheck and creating traffic in front of Thibeau.
He also thought Richard Tingley battled back to put in a solid game between the pipes for the Ramblers.
“There was a lot of hard work there,” Bottomley said. “Now we have a chance to go back there and grab the series lead. We know we have to play disciplined and play a full 60 minutes. It seems that we have one bad period each game there.”
Walsh said the club learned a valuable lesson on Tuesday in that it went into the game on too much of a high after winning Game 2.
Shots on goal in the game were 47-38 in favour of the Ramblers.
Pictou County Weeks Crushers 4
1st JP Harvey from Mitchell Deruelle and Mitchell Shewfelt 1:15
1st Jordan McInnis from David Stephens and Garrett Holmes 3:03
2nd Nick Parker from Garrett Holmes and Evan MacEachern 5:01 PP
2nd Evan Carmody from Evan MacEachern and Cole Hutchinson 13:38
Amherst Ramblers 5
1st Ben MacDonald from Jamie Bishop and Brett Shute 14:26 PP
2nd Serge Boisvert from Cam MacDonald from Ross Martin 5:28
2nd Ross Martin from Robert Davis and Serge Boisvert 13:14
2nd Brock Morrison 14:04
3rd Daniel Walsh from Francis Alaire and Travis Howe 7:40
W: Richard Tingley 35 saves
L: Brandon Thibeau 42 saves