Squires scores winner, Smith scores twice
Ramblers nip Crushers 3-1
AMHERST - The Amherst Ramblers got a much-needed defensive effort and a key win en route to a 3-1 decision over the Pictou County Weeks Crushers in Maritime Junior A Hockey League action here Saturday..
Matthew Squires broke a 1-1 tie late in the third period and Derek Smith scored two goals and added an assist as the Ramblers rebounded from a humbling 8-4 loss in Moncton last week.
"The most impressing part of the game was we had a game plan and we stuck to it. It was their third game in three nights. I told the guys to stay with them for the first two periods and explode on them in the third," Rambler coach Corey Crocker said.
Squires, sitting to the right of the net, beat Crusher goalie Nicholas Barriere off a rebound with just under four minutes to play. Smith and Andrew Oakley added assists.
"I'm so happy for Matt. He's not on pace like he was last year but he's getting chances," he said. "Our whole dynamic has changed from other years and Matt has become a great defensive hockey player. He still has the ability to score big goals."
His goal came a few minutes after former Ramblers Scott McManaman tied the game.
"They got a good hockey team with some skilled hockey players. We limited a team that's going to the Fred Page Cup to under 35 shots and beat them in the third period," Crocker said. "That says a lot about our hockey club and how far we've come since the start of the season."
Smith opened the scoring on the power play 16:30 into the second period when his slapshot from the high slot eluded Barriere. Oakley and Squires added assists.
"Derek has been working very hard in the gym and at practice and with (Andrew) Shears out he's holding the fort and logging a lot of icetime on the back end," Crocker said. "He's an unpredictable hockey player and other players hate playing against."
Rambler goalie Andrew Flemming made several big save in the final two minutes, including one in which the puck got behind him before he swiped it away from the goal line.
Smith iced the game when his shot from the other side of centre went into the empty Crushers' goal. Eric Boudreau picked up the lone assist in his second game with the Ramblers since being acquired in a trade with Antigonish.
The Ramblers return to action on Friday when they travel to Summerside to face the suddenly hot Capitals while they are home on Saturday to face the Yarmouth Mariners.