Ramblers edge defending champion Capitals

Jody Jewers
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AMHERST -- The Ramblers (6-2-0-1) defeated the defending Maritime Junior A Hockey League champion Summerside Western Capitals (7-4-0-0) 2-1 tonight at the Stadium.

Following is the live blog transcript:

7 p.m. -- Teams out for the warmup. Callup Michael Clarke is wearing No. 19 for the Ramblers and has a full cage on. Yohann Mathieu is a healthy scratch.

The latest on injured forward Scott Bragg -- he's scheduled to visit the doctor again on Oct. 21, and is targeting mid-November for his return to action. Bragg had to have a plate and four screws inserted in each side of his jaw after taking a blindside punch from Yarmouth Mariners defenceman Dakota Johnson in retaliation for Bragg's spear of another Yarmouth player during a Sept. 24 game. Bragg served two games for the spear, and Johnson is serving the sixth game of his 20-game suspension for the punch tonight. The Mariners are appealing Johnson's suspension.

Summerside scratches are Cody McNamara, Matt Kelly, Alex Noonan and Spencer MacDonald.

Jason Blanchard is the referee tonight.

Starting goalies are Jon Waye for Amherst and Paul Dorsey for Summerside.

7:33 p.m. -- Puck has dropped and we're underway. Clarke on the first line with Chipman and Barron.

7:34 p.m. -- Ramblers line combinations are Clarke-Chipman-Barron, Orr- Matthews-Layton, Coleman-Carson-Bissonnette, and Estey-O'Neill-O'Byrne. Defensive pairings are Smith-Boudreau, Matheson-McLaughlin and Mercer-Herrett.

7:35 p.m. -- First penalty is to Summerside's Richard Greer for roughing at 42 seconds.

7:35 p.m. -- And the Ramblers make them pay early, as Justin Matthews scores 11 seconds into the man advantage. Assists to Jeremy Barron and Drew McLaughlin. Ramblers goalless streak ends at 79 minutes and 46 seconds. 1-0 Ramblers.

7:41 p.m. -- The potent Summerside power play gets its first opportunity, with Justin Matthews of Amherst off for boarding at 4:34.

7:43 p.m. -- Hard wrist show by Summerside's Chad Earle knocks Waye's mask off, resulting in an immediate whistle to stop play.

7:44 p.m. -- Penalty over. Good kill from the Ramblers, with only two shots on goal and neither being a quality scoring chance.

7:45 p.m. -- Puck is in the Amherst net, but Blanchard waves it off with a Summerside player planted firmly in Waye's lap.

7:46 p.m. -- Waye flicks out the pad to stop Summerside's Harrison McIver on a partial breakaway. Zach Carson gets two for laying the lumber on McIver during the breakaway at 7:34.

7:48 p.m. -- Kody Orr with a fantastic sequence on the PK, blocking two shots and constantly disrupting passing lanes.

7:49 p.m. -- Ramblers kill another penalty and get a PP of their own, with Richard Greer off for tripping at 10:04. Greer had gone back to his team's bench and had to be retrieved by a linesman.

7:51 p.m. -- Clarke getting some PP time with Orr and Layton.

7:53 p.m. -- Penalty over. Shots 8-7 Summerside with 7:30 to go.

7:54 p.m. -- Ramblers think they've made it 2-0, but the Summerside net is knocked off just as Simon Bissonnette goes top shelf with 6:51 left. Second disallowed goal of the period.

7:57 p.m. -- Summerside's Harrison McIver has Waye beat but his backhander slides by the far post with about five minutes left.

7:58 p.m -- Simon Bissonnette around the net again with a nifty one-touch backhand pass to Zach Carson alone in front of the net, but Carson had little room to work with and shot it directly into Dorsey's midsection.

8:02 p.m. -- 2:18 left. Faceoff at the Amherst blueline. Shots even at 11-11.

8:03 p.m. -- Rare shift for the Estey-O'Neill-O'Byrne unit, possibly their first in five-on-five action.

8:04 p.m. -- Kody Orr's centering pass nearly gets tipped in by Justin Matthews, but Dorsey gets a glove down with 56 seconds to go.

8:05 p.m. -- First period is over. Shots 12-11 Amherst.

After 20 minutes -- About as even a period as it gets. Pace of play has been very quick, and it will be interesting to see if it can be maintained by either side. Clarke not the greatest skater and looks tentative out there, which is to be expected.

8:21 p.m. -- Second period underway.

8:21 p.m. -- Good shift from the first line, Barron a little late pulling the trigger on a great cross-crease pass from Chipman, or else it would've been 2-0.

8:23 p.m. -- Capitals are definitely an offence-first team, with their defencemen not shy about using the stretch pass to spring a forward cherry-picking in the neutral zone.

8:25 p.m. -- Pace of play still very quick. Capitals can skate, and the Ramblers are matching their tempo.

8:29 p.m. -- Ice must be a little slushy tonight. Linesmen fixed a rut in the neutral zone before the period started, and are doing a quick repair job in Dorsey's crease.

8:31 p.m. -- First penalty of the period to Amherst's Kodi Estey for hooking at 8:45.

8:34 p.m. -- 28 seconds left in the man advantage.

8:35 p.m. -- Summerside's Will Johnston is caught cross-checking in front of the Ramblers net with six seconds left in the PP. Amherst now with the extra attacker.

8:35 p.m. -- Ramblers captain Adam Chipman and Summerside's Parker Deighan decide to mix it up in front of the Summerside net at 9:57. Pretty even exchange, with Chipman ending up on top of the pile.

8:39 p.m. -- Penalty over. Ramblers not doing much on that one.

8:41 p.m. -- Capitals are buzzing around the Amherst net, with an extended sequence in the Ramblers zone while Shane O'Byrne had to play without a stick after the blade snapped off.

8:42 p.m. -- The third disallowed goal of the game. Ramblers' Justin Matthews rings a shot off the post, and Michael Clarke, going to the net, directs the rebound in with his skate at 14:02. The crowd doesn't like it, and neither does the Amherst bench, but it was the right call.

8:44 p.m. -- Summerside's Steven Brazil elbows Clarke in the head away from the puck, and gets called for interference at 14:35. Derek Smith jumps to the callup's defence, but the linesmen quickly stop the situation from escalating.

8:47 p.m. -- Penalty over. Ramblers with just one shot on goal in the man advantage.

8:49 p.m. -- Ramblers get a break, as Summerside's Will Johnston is whistled for a questionable cross-check at 18:08.

8:50 p.m. -- Kody Orr with a dandy tip-in off a Drew McLaughlin point shot that Dorsey had no chance on, and it's 2-0 at 18:46. Second assist to Trevor Layton. 2-0 Ramblers.

8:51 p.m. -- Jeremy Barron rings a shot off the far post in the final minute.

8:54 p.m. -- Little bit of chirping at the end of the period, as Kody Orr goes down with Summerside defenceman Daniel Whelan in the area. They exchange pleasantries as the teams head off. Shots 13-12 Summerside for the period, 24-24 in the game.

After 40 minutes -- A flurry by the Ramblers early in the first and late in the second has been the difference in what appear to be two evenly matched clubs that have not stopped skating since the opening faceoff. Full credit to Amherst's PK and some steady netminding from Jon Waye for keeping the Capitals off the scoresheet thus far.

9:09 p.m. -- Third period underway.

9:12 p.m. -- Ramblers keeping a third man high while in the offensive zone, perhaps thinking two goals might be enough to win this game.

9:14 p.m. -- Capitals on the PP, with Ryan Matheson off for roughing at 3:56.

9:16 p.m. -- Another quality kill from the Ramblers, as Summerside did not register a shot on goal. Capitals now 0-for-4 on the PP.

9:19 p.m. -- Summerside's Jason Gallant falls down near the Amherst bench and immediately drops his gloves and stick, and goes off the ice and directly to the Summerside dressing room, not moving his left arm. Public address announcer has paged for a doctor to go to the Summerside dressing room.

9:20 p.m. -- Ramblers with a power play as Steven Brazil gets his stick up after the whistle at 7:03.

9:22 p.m. -- Penalty over. Amherst with only one shot during the PP.

9:23 p.m. -- Capitals are on the board as a bouncing puck goes off an Amherst defender into the net at 9:41. Darcy Ashley given credit, with the assist to Harrison McIver. 2-1 Ramblers.

9:25 p.m. -- Here come the champs. Waye just gets a glove on Nathan DesRoches to stop him in close.

9:26 p.m. -- More solid play from Kody Orr, rubbing out his man along the boards to kickstart a scoring chance at the other end.

9:27 p.m. -- Tempers flaring as Summerside presses for the equalizer, with two fights after a whistle. Zach Carson and Cole MacMillan tangle in the undercard, and Josh Coleman and Nick Reilly in the main event, with Coleman getting bloodied but ending up on top of Reilly after a good 30-second exchange. Coleman and Reilly are gone for the second fight on the same stoppage. Referees still sorting the rest out. All this with 7:54 left.

9:32 p.m. -- Refs still explaining this to the captains. Amherst's Simon Bissonnette and Summerside's Parker Deighan sent to the dressing rooms. Ramblers with the extra minor penalty on the scoreboard.

9:34 p.m. -- The breakdown -- Reilly gets five for fighting plus a misconduct, MacMillan gets five for fighting, and Deighan gets roughing plus a misconduct; Coleman gets five for fighting and a game misconduct, Carson gets two for instigator and five for fighting, Bissonnette with a misconduct and Brandon Mercer two for roughing.

9:37 p.m. -- Ramblers with another kill, and botch a line change badly but are not called for too many men as the Capitals bench screams in protest.

9:37 p.m. -- Waye continuing to hold the fort as the defence collapses around him. Two goals will have to be enough for Amherst to win this game. 5:11 to go.

9:40 p.m. -- 4:01 remaining. Faceoff at the Amherst blueline. Shots 9-6 Summerside in the third, 33-30 Caps overall.

9:41 p.m. -- Redirected point shot clangs off the outside post past Waye with 3:15 left.

9:41 p.m. -- Silly retaliatory penalty costs the Capitals big-time as Will Johnston gets two for slashing, then mouths off and gets a 10-minute misconduct at 16:56. Ramblers with a great chance to at least kill some clock here.

9:45 p.m. -- 38 seconds left in the penalty.

9:46 p.m. -- Penalty over. In the final minute now. Summerside pulls the goalie. Faceoff in the Amherst zone with 49.1 seconds left. Capitals call timeout.

9:48 p.m. -- Another silly penalty from Summerside, as Darcy Ashley swats Adam Chipman's stick out of his hands and goes off for slashing at 19:23. Ashley tosses a water bottle on the ice in frustration and gets 10 more for that.

9:50 p.m. -- 2.5 seconds to go. Faceoff to Waye's left.

9:51 p.m. -- Eric Boudreau slaps the draw down the ice after Justin Matthews got kicked out of the faceoff circle, and the Ramblers hold on for the victory. Shots 10-7 Capitals in the third, 34-31 Summerside for the game.

Three stars -- 1. Jon Waye, Amherst; 2. Drew McLaughlin, Amherst; 3. Kody Orr, Amherst. Would've gone with Orr at one, Waye at two and Adam Chipman or Harrison McIver at three.

Final thoughts -- Quality win for the Ramblers against a championship-calibre opponent. Superior team defence, especially on the penalty kill, and great goaltending from Waye. Ramblers were able to skate with the speedy Capitals the full 60 minutes. Offence did just enough, but two goals will not win you many games in this league, and that will have to be addressed soon, perhaps as soon as Saturday when the Pictou County Weeks Crushers are in town for a 7 p.m., start.


Organizations: Maritime Junior A Hockey League, Mariners, Johnson's

Geographic location: AMHERST, Summerside, Pictou County

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