Ramblers out to showcase September run not a fluke

Jody Jewers
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AMHERST - It was a September to remember for the Ramblers.
A 5-0-0-1 record has the bordertown bunch atop the Maritime Junior A Hockey League and ranked in the top 15 in Canada heading into the league's showcase weekend beginning today in Summerside.
The Ramblers are on the ice at Credit Union Place on Saturday at 5:30 p.m., against the Yarmouth Mariners and Sunday at 1:30 p.m., versus the Woodstock Slammers.
"We've played well against Yarmouth the last couple times we've seen them, so the test there is to do as good or better than the last time," said 20-year-old Ramblers defenceman Derek Smith.
"Woodstock is one of the better teams in the league, so that'll be a big test, too, to see how we stack up against them."
Ramblers head coach and general manager Corey Crocker likes the showcase format, now in its fourth year, with all 11 MJAHL?entries in one place under the eye of university, major junior and professional scouts, but suggests it could be tweaked after this season.
"I think you'll see an NCAA-eligible team brought to a showcase event in the U.S., and a prospects game for 19- and 20-year-olds against a CIS team," Crocker said. "This is a good event and guys get opportunities from it, but there's room to get more bang for your buck."
The fallout continues from the last time the Ramblers and Mariners met, a two-game series in Yarmouth a week ago. Mariners defenceman Dakota Johnson will meet with Maritime league president Derryl Smith today in Summerside to discuss his actions in the Sept. 24 game, a 6-3 Amherst victory.
Johnson was assessed a high-sticking major, fighting major and game misconduct at 9:44 of the second period on the same sequence that Ramblers forward Scott Bragg was handed a spearing major and game misconduct.
The Ramblers sent footage to the league, claiming the high-sticking penalty was assessed in error and that Johnson punched Bragg in retaliation for his spear of another Yarmouth player, breaking Bragg's jaw. Smith viewed the evidence Thursday.
"(Bragg) was definintely struck by Johnson and was unaware that the punch was coming," said Smith. "What happened prior to that was not on the video that I received."
Bragg has served a two-game suspension for the spear, and will be out for at least a month following surgery. Johnson has not played since the incident, missing three games.
"My main concern is that the right call gets made on both parties," said Crocker. "Scott is no angel and has served his suspension, but he didn't get high-sticked. It was a punch to the head. Players and officials have to be held accountable, and now it's in the league's hands."
Crocker said he has no plans to call up any affiliate players this weekend, since the Ramblers have 21 healthy bodies.
Smith said the team has rallied around Bragg, who has been with the club at practice this week.
"He's a huge influence on this team, and guys have to step up now that we've lost him for a while," said Smith. "It was a dirty play and it shouldn't have happened, but we have to keep going."


Organizations: Maritime Junior A Hockey League, Credit Union Place, NCAA

Geographic location: Yarmouth, Summerside, Canada U.S.

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Recent comments

  • Vince
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    I wish you a speedy recovery Mr Bragg.
    Hope the Ramblers keep up their positive
    play and win both games on the weekend.
    If it wasn't for the toll on the bridge I would be going to Summerside to watch
    this action.