Ramblers in desperation mode as regular season winds down

Jody Jewers
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AMHERST - The Ramblers will be doing a lot of scoreboard watching before they step on the ice for Saturday's Maritime Junior A Hockey League game against the Campbellton Tigers.
All eyes for Amherst will be squarely focused on the Yarmouth Mariners, who sit two points up on the bordertowners for the fifth and final playoff position in the Bent Division. The Bridgewater Lumberjacks did the Ramblers a huge favour last night, rallying from two goals down in the third period to beat the visiting Mariners 7-5. Yarmouth is home to the Pictou County Weeks Crushers tonight.
Yarmouth will have one game left on its schedule after Friday, a Feb. 27 home game with the Halifax Lions. Amherst has two games remaining after Saturday, a make-up contest Tuesday in Pictou County, and a Feb. 27 home game versus the Bent's top team, the Truro Bearcats.
The Ramblers have stumbled down the stretch with four straight losses at the hands of two of the MJAHL's best. Miramichi and Truro outscored Amherst 20-7 in home-and-home series.
"We never got the points, but we played well in two of those last three games," Ramblers head coach and general manager Corey Crocker said. "If we play like the way we did Sunday (a 2-1 loss in Truro), we'll win on Saturday.
"We have to respect Campbellton. They won't give it to us. They're out of the playoffs, but they have guys fighting for spots for next year."
Amherst didn't have offensive catalyst Brandon Street for most of last weekend's three-games-in-three-days stretch after the Bearcats' Eric Louis-Seize drilled him into the boards last Friday, dislocating the acromioclavicular joint in his right shoulder.
"My head was spinning and I was seeing stars, so I thought I had a concussion," Street said. "But when I tried to move, I couldn't move my shoulder. (The trainer) had to pop it back in.
"I've been going to physiotherapy the last couple days and they say it's healing pretty quickly, and I think the chances are pretty good that I'll play."
Street admitted it was tough not being able to contribute to a playoff push. In his absence, the other members of the Ramblers' top line, Justin Matthews and Jeremy Barron, combined for just one point.
"It was hard to watch, especially with the situation we're in," said Street, who has 15 points in 12 games since leaving the Quebec major junior league's Victoriaville Tigres in December. "Every goal, every blocked shot, every save is so huge right now.
"It's crunch time, but we know we can do it. We have a great group of young guys who have really gelled together as a team."
Defenceman Ryan Matheson (flu) will be a game-time decision.

jjewers@amherstdaily.com

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

Geographic location: Yarmouth, Pictou County, Campbellton Brandon Street Quebec

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