Lions embarrass Ramblers 6-0

Jody Jewers
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AMHERST -- The Ramblers (9-7-0-1) were run out of the Stadium tonight, 6-0 by the Halifax Lions (5-6-1-0) in Maritime Junior A Hockey League action. Amherst is in the middle of a three-games-in-three-days stint, having defeated the Bent Division-leading Truro Bearcats 4-3 here Friday.

Following is the live transcript:

6:30 p.m. -- Teams out for the warmup. Former Rambler Shane Robar is dressed for the Lions. Robar requested a trade in the offseason since he is attending school in Halifax this year.

Devon Cudmore leads the Ramblers on the ice and is taking the bulk of the shots, so he'll be starting. It's his first appearance since Oct. 16, a 5-2 road loss to Woodstock, and his first start on home ice. He came on in relief in a 6-3 loss to Pictou County on Oct. 10. Cudmore is 1-2 with a 3.02 GAA and .915 save percentage in 199 minutes this season.

Same lineup as Friday for the Ramblers, save for Cudmore. Out are Scott Bragg (undisclosed) and Jonathan Pardy (shoulder). Halifax scratches are Chris Lamb, Mitch Carabin and Colin Cook.

Starter for Halifax in net is Kody Blois (3-6-1-0, 2.65 GAA, .931 Sv%)

Referee tonight is Colin Miller.

7:02 p.m. -- Puck has dropped and we're underway. Same first line as last night for Amherst, Chipman with Barron and O'Byrne, with Smith and Boudreau the first D pairing.

7:03 p.m. -- Other line combos for the Ramblers are Matthews-Layton-Bissonnette, Orr-Carson-Coleman, and Estey and O'Neill rotated in. Other defence pairings are Matheson-McLaughlin and Mercer-Herrett, with Mathieu as the seventh defender.

7:06 p.m. -- Derek Smith tries to go back-door, and Justin Matthews just misses him on a cross-crease pass. First good chance for the home side.

7:07 p.m. -- Halifax with some good jump to start this game. A much smaller team than Truro, but pretty quick.

7:08 p.m. -- Cudmore caught out of position with the puck laying in his crease, but Derek Smith sweeps it aside just in time.

7:11 p.m. -- Kodi Estey with a rookie mistake trying to carry the puck out of the defensive zone and turns it over, but Halifax can't capitalize.

7:13 p.m. -- Smith and McLaughlin out as a defensive pairing for Amherst.

7:14 p.m. -- Lions on the board first. Travis Perry's high wrist shot bounces off Cudmore's shoulder and settles just over the line at 8:21. Assists to Wayne Bedecki and Robbie Veriker. 1-0 Lions

7:15 p.m. -- Nine minutes in and the Lions are outshooting the Ramblers 13-5.

7:16 p.m. -- First fight of the night, as Shane O'Byrne and Andrew Wigginton go at it off a scrum in the corner. Flurry of punches followed by a long pause then a flurry to end it. A draw at 9:04. Corey Crocker uses the lull to talk to his troops, perhaps an early wake-up call as Halifax is taking it to the Ramblers.

7:18 p.m. -- Wigginton with the extra minor for checking from behind plus a game misconduct, so he's gone and Amherst gets a power play.

7:20 p.m. -- Now a five-on-three as Trevor Layton's stick gets chopped out of his hands while crossing the neutral zone. Steven Popovich for slashing at 10:32.

7:21 p.m. -- First minor to Halifax is over. 1:16 left in the Popovich penalty.

7:24 p.m. -- Second minor is over. Ramblers with four shots on the extended PP.

7:25 p.m. -- 6:22 to go in the period. Faceoff at the Amherst blueline.

7:27 p.m. -- Now 2-0 as John MacDonald outhustles a Ramblers defender to the front of the net and tips in a centering pass over Cudmore's shoulder at 14:39. Assist to Robbie Veriker. Goal was announced as Travis Perry from MacDonald and Veriker, but MacDonald tipped it in. 2-0 Lions

7:29 p.m. -- Jeremy Barron with a one-timer from the slot, but it's right at Blois.

7:30 p.m. -- 2:53 to go. Faceoff at the Amherst blueline.

7:31 p.m. -- Ramblers handed a power play as Robbie Veriker shoots the puck at Cudmore well after the whistle had blown. He goes for unsportsmanlike conduct at 17:12.

7:33 p.m. -- Puck goes in off a scrum in front of Blois, but the whistle had been blown for a couple of seconds, and the Ramblers don't protest.

7:34 p.m -- In the final minute now. Penalty has expired.

7:35 p.m. -- Ramblers with some good pressure in the final minute. Wes Herrett just missed the far post on a wrister.

7:35 p.m. -- First period is over. Shots are 16-11 Halifax.

After 20 minutes -- We've seen this before, as the Ramblers have come out flat again against a team they should match up well with the night after beating a superior opponent on home ice. Hopefully the home side gets a good talking to during the intermission.

*** Second goal for Halifax has been changed to John MacDonald from Perry and Veriker.

7:51 p.m. -- Second period underway.

7:51 p.m. -- Lions think they've made it 3-0 just 25 seconds in, but Miller waves it off.

7:55 p.m. -- Shane O'Byrne tries a dump-in, but can't get it by a Halifax defender, so he slashes him right in front of the ref. He'll sit at 2:48.

7:56 p.m. -- Cudmore gets a piece of a one-timer, but not enough to stop it from crossing the goalline at 3:41, and it's 3-0. Stuart Lenehan with the goal, from Travis Perry and Dylan King. 3-0 Lions

7:58 p.m. -- Ramblers look lifeless out there, with Halifax creating turnover after turnover in the Amherst zone.

8 p.m. -- Justin Matthews just catches the outside of the post on a nice rush.

8:01 p.m. -- Steven Popovich left unchecked as the Ramblers are running around in their own end, and he beats Cudmore on the blocker side at 7:15. 4-0 Lions. Goal is announced as Justin Belanger from Ben Clarke and Popovich, but that's wrong.

8:01 p.m. -- Cudmore's night is over, and Jon Waye is in. Not Cudmore's fault the score is what it is, as the Ramblers didn't give him much help. Four goals on 21 shots.

8:06 p.m. -- 9:36 left in the period. Shots 7-2 Halifax in the period.

8:07 p.m. -- Waye gets a blocker on a wrist shot and covers up, but has to check behind him to make sure he's got the puck. Been that kind of night.

8:11 p.m. -- Simon Bissonnette sprung on a partial breakaway, but can't beat Blois. Continued pressure from the Ramblers draws a penalty, as Kyle Mariani goes for cross-checking at 14:04.

8:13 p.m. -- A Justin Matthews wrist shot pinballs off some legs in front, but sails wide.

8:14 p.m. -- Good little dangle from Adam Chipman, but Blois has the short side covered up and stops that. Penalty is over.

8:14 p.m. -- Blois looking very impressive in the Halifax net. Ramblers had half-a-dozen shots on the PP.

8:17 p.m. -- Good work from the combo of Chipman, Barron and Coleman, but Blois stands tall.

8:18 p.m. -- Another defensive lapse and it's 5-0 at 18:39, as Chris Riguse is left unchecked at the side of the net. Assist to Jordan Thomas. 5-0 Lions

8:19 p.m. -- Final minute.

8:20 p.m. -- Period over. Shots 14-10 Amherst in the period, 26-25 Halifax through two.

After 40 minutes -- This game is over. Blois is stopping everything in sight, and the Ramblers are playing terrible defensive hockey. It's eerily similar to the last time Amherst played back-to-back home games, winning a close contest against Summerside by playing disciplined defence then throwing it all out the window the next night against Pictou County by falling behind 5-0 en route to a 6-3 loss. It's as just as much the fault of the coaching staff as it is the players, as this point should've been hammered home to this team before leaving the rink Friday night and hammered to them again when they got to the rink today.

The goal now should just be to win the third period and get something positive before boarding the bus to Bridgewater for a Sunday afternoon contest.

8:37 p.m. -- Third period underway.

8:39 p.m. -- Halifax on the PP. Yohann Mathieu called for high-sticking at 2:58.

8:42 p.m. -- John MacDonald's wrist shot is only partially stopped by Waye, as it trickles over the line at 4:14. Soft goal. Assists to Ben Clark and Stephen Woodworth. 6-0 Lions

8:44 p.m. -- Waye tries a stretch pass for Kody Orr who might have a breakaway as the Lions are changing, but it's 10 feet too wide, Orr falls down and the puck sails down the ice for icing. Typical of how things have gone this evening.

8:45 p.m. -- No quit in these Lions, who haven't stopped skating despite having this one well in hand. A small team, but with plenty of speed and a bit of firepower.

8:46 p.m. -- Josh Coleman caught flat-footed in the neutral zone and trips a Halifax player on the way by. Off he goes at 7:04.

8:47 p.m. -- Power play is negated as Wayne Bedecki of Halifax is whistled for tripping at 7:49.

8:49 p.m. -- Derek Smith is cross-checked in the back near the Halifax bench. Adam Chipman jumps to his defence and it's one big pile. Just pushing and shoving before things settle down. Kyle Mariani gets two for the check and a game, and Chipman gets two for roughing plus a 10-minute misconduct at 8:35, so it's still four-on-four.

8:51 p.m. -- Coleman penalty over. Amherst on the PP.

8:52 p.m. -- Ramblers can't win on the scoresheet, so they try to win with their fists. Jordan Thomas of Halifax and former Lion Simon Bissonnette square off. Thomas with more punches landed and strips Bissonnette down to his undershirt. Bissonnette wrestles him to the ice to end it. Both get fighting majors at 9:37.

8:55 p.m. -- And now Shane O'Byrne of Amherst and Ian Saab of Halifax dance at 9:57. Nothing spectacular there. Only message sent by Amherst was "We can't beat a last-place team and we don't know what else to do, so let's fight." O'Byrne gets fighting plus a game expulsion for his second bout of the night, and Saab gets five for fighting.

8:58 p.m. -- 8:42 left. Ramblers don't even have a shot on goal in the period. Halifax has 10.

8:59 p.m. -- Just as that last sentence is typed, the Ramblers are credited with a shot on goal. Don't know where that came from.

9:01 p.m. -- Ramblers have already boarded the bus to Bridgewater, and are not putting any effort into getting something out of the final 20 minutes.

9:05 p.m. -- Three minutes to go. Just horrible to watch.

9:05 p.m. -- Justin Matthews sent flying into the Halifax net to stop play. Travis Perry of Halifax and Amherst's Kodi Estey called for roughing as well as 10-minute misconducts at 17:41.

9:08 p.m. -- In the final minute.

9:09 p.m. -- And mercifully, it's over. Shots 13-3 Halifax in the third, 39-28 Lions for the game.

Three stars -- 1. Travis Perry, Halifax; 2. John MacDonald, Halifax; 3. Ben Clarke, Halifax. Can't argue with Perry and MacDonald, but what more did Kody Blois have to do?

Final thoughts -- The worst loss handed to the Ramblers this season was by a last-place team in their division that wasn't averaging 2.5 goals per game. Woodstock beat Amherst 5-0 on Oct. 4, but that was at the showcase weekend and Woodstock had only lost once this season coming into tonight's action, so at least the Ramblers could rationalize that as simply being beaten by a better team.

A shockingly poor display given the result just 24 hours ago, and an inexcusable lack of preparation from the coaches and execution from the players. The only saving grace is that there is little time to dwell on this with a road trip to Bridgewater on Sunday.

Organizations: Halifax, Maritime Junior A Hockey League, Bent Division

Geographic location: Pictou County, Bridgewater, Summerside

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