Ramblers edge Bent-leading Bearcats 4-3

Jody Jewers
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AMHERST -- The Ramblers (9-6-0-1) defeated the Bent Division-leading Truro Bearcats (11-2-1-0) 4-3 in Maritime Junior A Hockey League action tonight at the Stadium.

Following is the live transcript:

7 p.m. -- Teams out for the warmup. Scratches for Amherst are Scott Bragg (undisclosed injury, out two weeks) and Jonathan Pardy (shoulder). Not dressed for Truro are Dylan McGuigan, Jamie MacIntyre, Darrin Wilkins and Luke Cudmore.

Referee tonight is Steve Starzomski.

Starting goaltenders are Jon Waye for Amherst and Kirk Rafuse for Truro.

7:32 p.m. -- Puck has dropped and we're underway. Adam Chipman and Jeremy Barron with Shane O'Byrne on the first line. Usual first defence pairing of Derek Smith and Eric Boudreau.

7:32 p.m. -- Other line combos for the Ramblers are Orr-Carson-Coleman, Matthews-Bissonnette-Layton, and Kodi Estey and Mitchell O'Neill as the spares. Other defensive pairings are Matheson-McLaughlin and Herrett-Mercer, with Mathieu as the seventh man.

7:33 p.m. -- First penalty of the night goes to Truro as Adam Chipman is upended in the Bearcats zone. Travis Moore for tripping at 1:26.

7:36 p.m. -- Ramblers are on the board and it couldn't have been a better player to light the lamp. Trevor Layton ends a season-long drought by walking out of the corner and beating Rafuse low on the blocker side for his first goal of the year. Assist to Kody Orr on the PP at 2:36. 1-0 Ramblers

7:39 p.m. -- Truro's turn with the man advantage, as Drew McLaughlin goes off for holding at 5:01.

7:40 p.m. -- Ben MacAskill clangs a point shot off the post on the PP.

7:42 p.m. -- Penalty over. Good kill for the home side, and they got a break on the post shot.

7:42 p.m. -- Truro getting another chance to tie it. Ryan Matheson whistled for tripping at 7:12.

7:44 p.m. -- Bearcats can't get established in the Amherst zone. Adam Chipman laying the body with an open ice hit on Evan Watts.

7:45 p.m. -- Penalty over. Excellent back-to-back kills for the Ramblers. No shots on goal allowed on the second man advantage.

7:46 p.m. -- Midway through the period. Shots 5-4 Amherst.

7:47 p.m. -- Ramblers shorthanded again. Shane O'Byrne gone for hooking at 10:08.

7:49 p.m. -- Waye covers up as Dana Fraser wrists a shot from the hashmarks and off Mitchell O'Neill, who was trying to pick up his stick in front of the net.

7:49 p.m. -- Bearcats have tied it. Ben MacAskill's shot from the top of the faceoff circle bounces off the end boards and right to Cole Hawes at the side of the Amherst net. Waye with no chance on that one at 12:06. 1-1

7:53 p.m. -- Cole Hawes with an early candidate for hit of the night, depositing Brandon Mercer into the Amherst bench on a clean check.

7:54 p.m. -- Ramblers with a bad line matchup, as Orr, Estey and O'Neill were out there with Smith and Herrett on defence against the Dana Fraser line for Truro. Looked like a Bearcats' PP when it was five-on-five.

7:57 p.m. -- 1:47 left in the period. Faceoff to Waye's right.

7:59 p.m. -- In the final minute now. Amherst going on the power play, as Evan Watts throws a punch with 32.8 seconds left.

8 p.m. -- Period over. Shots 13-8 for Truro. 1:27 left in the Watts minor to start the second.

After 20 minutes -- Tremendous pace to this game, as the first period was played in less than 30 minutes. Ramblers had a great first five minutes, but gave too many power-play chances to the Bearcats and couldn't sustain the momentum. Truro has an excellent blend of size, skill, speed and experience, and it's easy to see why their record is what it is through the first two months of the season.

8:14 p.m. -- Second period underway.

8:16 p.m. -- Bearcats have taken the lead as Kody Orr was caught napping off the draw, and Brett Frazee's shot off the draw eludes Waye at 50 seconds. Shorthanded goal and an early dagger in the heart for Amherst. 2-1 Bearcats

8:17 p.m. -- Penalty over.

8:18 p.m. -- Noticed Eric Louis-Seize of Truro wears "Louis XVI" on the back of his jersey in a nod to his regal namesake.

8:21 p.m. -- Amherst power play coming up, as Shawn Wright gets a stick up on Zach Carson at 4:47.

8:23 p.m. -- Now a five-on-three for 1:16, as Brett Frazee goes for hooking at 5:31. Ramblers with a golden opportunity to tie it.

8:24 p.m. -- And tie it they have. Derek Smith charges hard to the net and the defence collapses. Rebound to a wide-open Jeremy Barron in the slot and he goes top shelf on a down-and-out Rafuse at 6:12. Assists to Justin Matthews and Adam Chipman, but Smith should've had the second assist. 2-2

8:26 p.m. -- Second minor is over. Back to even-strength hockey.

8:28 p.m. -- Both teams skating furiously out there. Amazing pace to this hockey game.

8:29 p.m. -- 9:49 to go. Shots now even at 14-14, 5-1 Amherst in the period.

8:31 p.m. -- Ramblers on the PP again. Shawn Wright retaliates after being hit by Zach Carson, and goes off for roughing at 11:15.

8:32 p.m. -- Ramblers can't connect on a four-on-two rush, and Derek Smith trips up a Truro defender along the boards at 11:43 to negate the PP.

8:34 p.m. -- Wright's penalty over. Truro with a brief PP.

8:34 p.m. -- Smith steps out of the box, and we're back to five-on-five hockey.

8:36 p.m. -- Bearcats ice the puck with 5:03 left in the period.

8:40 p.m. -- Great shift from Justin Matthews. Hustles into the Truro zone to pick up a loose puck and nearly hits a pinching Eric Boudreau on a centering pass, comes down the other end on a backcheck, then races upice again for a shot on goal.

8:41 p.m. -- 1:21 left in the period. Faceoff to Rafuse's right.

8:42 p.m. -- Final minute of the frame.

8:43 p.m. -- Truro with a late flurry, but Waye does the splits to get a pad on a point shot, then dives across to snare the rebound. His best sequence tonight.

8:44 p.m. -- Period over. Shots 12-6 Amherst in the second, 20-19 Ramblers through two.

After 40 minutes -- It's a battle of special teams, as the Ramblers have shown they can skate with the Bearcats when it's five-on-five hockey. The team that stays out of the penalty box in the third period will win this game.

8:59 p.m. -- Third period underway.

9 p.m. -- Truro with an early PP. Jeremy Barron called for hooking at 21 seconds.

9:01 p.m. -- Orr and O'Neill doing a lot of PK work for Amherst tonight.

9:01 p.m. -- Point shot hits Waye, bounces up and off the crossbar and dangles tantalizingly close to the goal line before being swept away. Another near-miss for Truro.

9:02 p.m. -- Penalty is over. Ramblers dodge a bullet there.

9:04 p.m. -- Faceoff in the Truro zone. 16:32 left.

9:05 p.m. -- Yohann Mathieu with a rare shift on defence for Amherst. Don't think he saw the ice in the second period.

9:07 p.m. -- Chris Ivanko's tip of a point shot just sails by the far post. Bearcats starting to turn it up a notch here, and the Ramblers have to match the intensity.

9:09 p.m. -- Truro takes the lead again. Dana Fraser with a shot Waye should've had, as it goes through the five-hole from a poor angle at 7:25. Assists to Eric Louis-Seize and Jordan Mock. 3-2 Bearcats

9:12 p.m. -- More good work from Justin Matthews down low. Mitchell O'Neill goes to the net looking for a rebound and gets drilled from behind and into the Truro net, drawing a penalty to Jordan Mock for roughing at 9:01.

9:13 p.m. -- Now a five-on-three. Evan Watts tries to smother the puck to the right of the net and gets called for delay of game at 9:11.

9:14 p.m. -- Ramblers take advantage of another gift five-on-three and we're tied again. Jeremy Barron all alone in front on a rebound at 9:25. Assist to Eric Boudreau. 1:46 left in the second minor. 3-3

9:15 p.m. -- Boudreau with a brutal giveaway in his own end, and Waye has to bail him out. No need for that, especially on a PP.

9:16 p.m. -- Watts' minor over, and another Truro penalty was about to be called as the Ramblers take the lead. Adam Chipman tips in an Eric Boudreau knuckleball that just slid inside the far post. Assist to Jeremy Barron. Boudreau given credit for the goal, but it looked like Chipman got a stick on it. First even-strength goal for Amherst tonight. 4-3 Ramblers

9:20 p.m. -- Truro with a chance to tie it. Derek Smith goes for tripping at 12:26.

9:21 p.m. -- Dana Fraser with a horrible giveaway just inside the Amherst blueline, basically handing the puck to Justin Matthews, who promptly ices it.

9:22 p.m. -- Penalty over. Big kill for the home side.

9:23 p.m. -- 4:41 left. Faceoff to Rafuse's right. Shots 13-11 Truro in the period.

9:25 p.m. -- Finish line is in sight for a huge win for Amherst. 3:05 to go and faceoff in Truro's end again.

9:27 p.m. -- Under two minutes left. Bearcats pressing, but can't hit the net.

9:28 p.m. -- One minute to go.

9:28 p.m. -- Ramblers ice the puck with 46.5 seconds left. Rafuse is on the bench and Truro takes its timeout.

9:30 p.m. -- Kody Orr with good hustle off the draw to not let the Bearcats establish position.

9:30 p.m. -- Time has expired and the Ramblers hand Truro just their second loss in regulation this season. Some pushing and shoving as the final whistle goes. Adam Chipman called for slashing at 20:00.

Shots in the third were 15-14 Truro. 34-34 for the night.

Three stars -- 1. Jeremy Barron, Amherst; 2. Eric Boudreau, Amherst; 3. Adam Chipman, Amherst. With all due respect to Boudreau and Chipman, Jon Waye was solid again and deserved a star, and in a 4-3 game with two of the four goals allowed on five-on-threes, someone from Truro should've been at least third star.

Final thoughts -- The Ramblers best game, at least on home ice, since the 2-1 win over Summerside on Oct. 9. The power play delivered, the defence did the job when it had to, Waye buckled down after the soft third goal, and the home team stayed disciplined for the most part and got rewarded with a couple of bounces their way at key moments. First four-goal game for Amherst since Sept. 26.

Of note, after that big win over Summerside, the Ramblers came out flat against a weaker opponent in Pictou County on home ice the next night and got humbled, falling behing 5-0 en route to a 6-3 loss. Amherst hosts Bent Division cellar-dwelling Halifax on Saturday -- an excellent opportunity to see if any lessons have been learned.

*** UPDATE: Official change on the game-winner is Chipman from Drew McLaughlin and Barron. Goal was announced in the arena as Eric Boudreau from Barron.


Organizations: Bent Division, Maritime Junior A Hockey League

Geographic location: Summerside, Pictou County, Halifax

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