Ramblers hit the road to begin stretch run

Jody Jewers
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AMHERST - Now the true test for Jon Waye begins.
Saddled with the expectations of replacing workhorse Andrew Flemming in the Ramblers goal, the six-foot-two backstop, who turned 19 last month, has proven he can handle a heavy load in the Maritime Junior A Hockey League, ranking second in minutes played at 2,092 heading into his team's road contests Friday against the Campbellton Tigers and Saturday in Miramichi versus the Timberwolves.
With eight games left and Amherst clinging to the fifth and final playoff berth in the Bent Division, this month will be a perfect opportunity to see if Waye can be counted upon to hold the fort in a pressure-packed situation where every game is critical.
"Jon has progressed very well through this year through the good and the bad times," said Ramblers head coach and general manager Corey Crocker. "I think he's further along than where Andrew was at this point in his career.
"He'll gain valuable experience in this drive to make the playoffs and it'll be exciting to see what he can do with that experience under his belt."
Among goalies with more than 1,200 minutes played, Waye ranks fifth in goals-against average at 3.46 and save percentage at .902.
His average hovered around 3.00 for most of the first half of the year, but has risen as the Ramblers have been giving up more goals despite posting a winning record in January, perhaps a trade-off for the team's new-found confidence offensively, averaging 4.4 goals per game last month, up from 2.3 in December.
"We've played some pretty tough teams recently, and that's got something to do with it, too," said Waye, who has a point - the Ramblers played Truro twice, Woodstock once and defending champion Summerside once last month.
"But we've been able to keep games close against a lot of those teams, and as long as I can keep the guys in every game every night, then I'm happy with that."
Amherst begins the weekend four points up on the Bent Division-basement dwelling Yarmouth Mariners. Yarmouth is home for three games, with Truro in town tonight and Dieppe on Saturday and Sunday.
The Ramblers have won both of their meetings against Campbellton this season by 3-1 margins. Amherst hasn't played Miramichi since a home-and-home Oct. 24 and 31, when the teams traded 3-2 wins.
The Halifax Lions pulled into a tie for third in the Bent with the Bridgewater Lumberjacks thanks to a 4-1 victory over host Pictou County Weeks Crushers last night. Halifax, which has two games in hand on Amherst, visits Woodstock tonight and hosts Bridgewater on Sunday. The Lumberjacks are home to Dieppe tonight.
After this weekend, the Ramblers play four of their six remaining games at home. Left on the schedule are Truro for three, one each with Miramichi and Campbellton, and a make-up date with Pictou County.

jjewers@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Bent Division, Maritime Junior A Hockey League, Campbellton Tigers Timberwolves

Geographic location: Miramichi, Dieppe, Campbellton Pictou County Yarmouth

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  • Vince
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    A real challenge for this young team with the 4+ hour trip to visit the Campbellton Tigers on Friday and back for Miramichi on Saturday. Give it your best shot fellows, you still are in the running for a playoff spot.

    THANK YOU