Oakley's shootout goal lifts Ramblers to win
AMHERST - Andrew Oakley's shootout goal was the winner as the Amherst Ramblers edged the Moncton Beavers 4-3 in Maritime Junior A Hockey League here Saturday
Oakley's shot into the top part of the net was the only goal in the shootout after the teams played through three periods and an overtime without a winner.
"We competed very hard. The boys battled all game," Rambler coach Corey Crocker said. "The good thing about the game is the boys kept up their intensity level."
A tight-checking affair, the Ramblers enjoyed a 2-0 lead before Moncton rallied late in the second and early in the third.
Jordan Escott opened the scoring in the game when he took a pass from Derek Smith and shovelled the puck over Beaver goalie Sebastien Dube 14:44 into the first period while Adam Chipman extended the lead 4:06 into the second with Escott and Travis Turner adding assists.
Jared Burns scored on the power play with less than two minutes to go in the second when Rambler goalie Andrew Flemming got trapped behind the net and Burns stole the puck and slipped it into the empty net.
Burns tied the game, also on the power play, 3:35 into the third.
"We dominated them, but teams under-estimate how good Moncton is," Crocker said. "They hung around and took advantage of their opportunities."
Oakley restored Amherst's lead on the power play at 4:27 with Matthew Squires and Richard Belliveau adding assists. Moncton forced overtime at the 8:31 mark when Mathieu LeBlanc scored.
While the Ramblers picked up the win, it was another rgame in which Amherst outshot the opposition but struggled offensively.
"People don't realize how hard it is to play this time of year because the focus level is down, but the guys worked hard and got the win," Crocker said. "We're averaging 40 shots a game in the last six games, but the guys are gripping their sticks a little too tight. They really got to focus. I'd be more concerned if we weren't getting the opportunities."
Crocker was also high on the play of Amherst native Justin Matthews, who was called up from the Weeks Midget Major AAA team.
"Justin did extremely well. He's a gifted hockey player, but what impressed me most was his willingness to mix it up," Crocker said. "He's got a bright future ahead of him."
The Ramblers conclude their pre-Christmas schedule on Tuesday when they host the Truro Bearcats at 7:30 p.m.