Ramblers goalie showing the Waye

Jody Jewers
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AMHERST - Lost amid the scoring doldrums that plagued the Ramblers through October has been the continued emergence of Jon Waye between the pipes.
Pulled midway through a 5-0 loss to the Pictou County Weeks Crushers on Oct. 10, the 18-year-old goaltender has been on fire since, stopping 122 of his last 129 shots over four starts, which translates to a .946 save percentage and a 1.76 goals-against average.
The Ramblers are hoping Waye will continue his solid play heading into a three-games-in-three-days stretch in the Maritime Junior A Hockey League beginning today when the reigning Bent Division champion Truro Bearcats make their way to the Stadium for a 7:30 p.m., start.
"It's always nice to have some personal success," said Waye. "But the big thing has always been to keep the team in every game, and the only way I can do that is by stopping as many shots as I can."
The hot streak has lowered Waye's GAA for the season to 2.96 and upped his save percentage to .911, which puts him among the top netminders in the league in both categories.
It's the kind of performance Ramblers head coach and general manager Corey Crocker thought Waye was capable of when he was brought in as Andrew Flemming's understudy a year ago.
"Jon is doing nothing that we didn't expect," Crocker said. "Last season was something he wasn't used to because he was a starter at every level he'd played at, and he struggled a bit with nerves at the start of the season, but he's worked hard on and off the ice and it resulted in a good month."
It's the second three-in-three stretch for the Ramblers this season. Amherst took all six points in a September triple bill.
The Ramblers are getting their first look at the Bearcats this season. Truro knocked Amherst out of the playoffs in 2008-09 and is staking a claim as the team to beat again in the division, with a sparkling 11-1-1 record.
"Last year, I watched some good friends of mine lose their last games of their junior careers to that team," said Waye. "It won't be hard to get up for this game."
Goals will likely be at a premium, with Truro having being scored on just 20 times in 13 games.
The Bearcats tandem of Alex Scola and Kirk Rafuse has combined for five shutouts and has only had to make more than 30 saves in a game just twice.
"We've got to keep our goals against down and do our scoring by committee," said Crocker. "These are young guys, and we have to be patient with them. Our offence will come."
The Ramblers are home to the Halifax Lions the following night at 7 p.m. It will be the first time these teams have met this season. The Lions are also looking for a boost offensively, averaging less than two-and-a-half goals per outing.
Amherst hits the road the next afternoon for a 3:30 p.m., encounter with the Bridgewater Lumberjacks. Bridgewater enters the weekend tied with the Ramblers for second in the Bent with 17 points.
Crocker said Ramblers forward Scott Bragg will be sidelined two weeks with an undisclosed injury.

jjewers@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Maritime Junior A Hockey League, Halifax Lions

Geographic location: Pictou County

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