Andrew Shears has played a key role on the Amherst Ramblers blueline when healthy this season.?He is one of only two returning defencemen from last years squad, with Derek Smith being the other. File photo
AMHERST - In his second year with the Amherst Ramblers, Andrew Shears has become an indispensable piece of the Ramblers puzzle.
The defenceman out of Rockey Harbor, N.L. was traded to the Ramblers in September of last year from Summerside and has since developed into a pillar of their defensive corps.
"Andrew is a very skilled defencemen. He sees the ice very well," said Ramblers Coach Corey Crocker. "And in the past year or so he's learned to play confident in his own end."
Shears has had a few set backs this year.
"I separated my shoulder and I was out for three weeks," said Shears. "Then I came back for two games and broke my finger and I was out for another three weeks. It was very frustrating."
Now that his body is working like it should, he say's he's working on the mental aspect of his game.
"I'm just trying to make quicker decisions on the ice and trying to get the puck up to the forwards a little faster," said Shears.
Crocker says that's an element of the game his entire defensive corps need to work on.
"One thing we preach to all defencemen is if you have the option to pass the puck, then pass the puck right away. Don't second guess yourself," said Crocker. "The quicker Andrew learns that, the faster he'll be a complete defenceman."
Crocker says Shears has tons of raw talent that can still use fine tuning.
"He sees the ice very well, he's highly skilled. He stick handles well, he shoots the puck well and he passes well," Crocker said. "He doesn't understand how good he is. He has some habits of doing things like he would do in Midget but he's a quick learner and knows how to execute the game plan."
Shears said Crocker has given the young Ramblers a big boost of confidence.
"He wants the best for the players and the team," Shears said. "It's a team game so it works out perfect."
He also has nothing but praise for his team.
"We all kind of support each other," said Shears. "That's the thing about our team this year, we have a lot of chemistry and everybody feeds off each other. We have so much respect for everybody in the room."
Having fun also keeps things loose.
"When you have fun, good things just happen," added Shears.
Crocker says Shears is a leader for the young Ramblers squad.
"He's a very responsible kid. He's one of our assistant captains so he's a leader of a lot of our young defencemen. We're looking for a lot of things from him this year but even more so next year," said Crocker. "I keep telling him to think like a professional all day. Don't just do it for two hours a day, do it for 24 hours a day.
"He has a lot of tangibles a lot of defencemen don't have. He's a pleasure to coach and a pleasure to have in our organization," Crocker added.