Ramblers on brink of elimination

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Coach says Ramblers need to take game to Crushers, stay out of box

Ramblers left-winger, Robert Davis, passes a rolling puck back to a teammate during Eastlink Division semi-final playoff action against the Pictou County Weeks Crushers.

AMHERST – It’s do-or-die for the Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers.

“We feel we have a good chance to win two games and move on,” said Jim Bottomley, Ramblers coach and general manager. “We’ve done that throughout the year. We just have to put our best foot forward and come to play.”

The Ramblers are currently down 3-2 in their best-of-seven Maritime Hockey League playoff series against the Pictou County Weeks Crushers.

In order to move on to the Eastlink Division final against the Truro Bearcats the Ramblers will need to win the next two games. Game 6 is tonight at 7 p.m. in Amherst and Game 7, if necessary, is Saturday night in New Glasgow.

Game 6 was originally scheduled for Wednesday but the snowstorm put that plan on hold. The Ramblers will need to win two games in two nights to win the series. Bottomley doesn’t see a problem with that.

“We’re in great shape and we’re ready to play back-to-back games,” he said. “We played an intense schedule the last two weeks of the regular season and played many back-to-back games.”

The last time the Ramblers played two games in two nights was down the regular season stretch on Feb. 28, and March 1, winning both games.

They beat the Slammers 3-1 in Woodstock on Feb. 28, and beat the Summerside Western Capitals 5-2 on March 1, at Amherst Stadium.

Bottomley says his team needs to be more disciplined for the remainder of the series.

“Pictou has a lot of talent and their power play has been killing us,” said Bottomley. “I don’t agree with some of the calls that have been made but we have to stay out of the box. That’s the main thing.”’

He says the players are aware of the importance of staying out of the penalty box.

“We’ve given them a couple games and the guys knew what cost us,” said Bottomley. “If we can put it all together, and put 60 minutes together, I feel very confident we’ll be up against Truro next week.”

He says fans can expect a physical game from the Ramblers both Friday and Saturday.

“We need to continue to throw pucks and bodies in front of the net. We have to be physical and take the game to them,” he said.

The series has seen both teams win all their home games.

“We seem to rise to the occasion at home. The crowd helps us,” said Bottomley. “The guys like playing in front of their home town, so that’s a big boost.

“But at this stage of the game it doesn’t matter where we play. If we want to win the series we have to keep winning.”

He says it also helps that they always get a good reception in New Glasgow as well.

“We have some great fans, and not only do they support us at home but they support us on the road, so that adds an extra incentive for the guys,” said Bottomley.

Organizations: Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers, Eastlink Division, Summerside Western Capitals 5

Geographic location: Amherst Stadium, New Glasgow, Pictou County Woodstock

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