Ramblers snap losing streak with shutout

Jody Jewers
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AMHERST - It was two points the Ramblers had to have, and they got them.
Having lost three straight and nine of their last 13 heading into Saturday's Maritime Junior A Hockey League contest at the Stadium, the Ramblers stopped the bleeding by blanking the offensively challenged Dieppe Commandos 3-0.
The result gets the Ramblers back to the .500 mark, with 10 wins in 20 starts (10-9-0-1), and keeps them in the thick of things in the tight Bent Division, where five points separate second from fifth place.
"Every win on home ice is big," said Amherst forward Scott Bragg, who had a pair of assists. "We've got to win to bring out fans, and we're doing the best we can to get 'em here."
Bragg set up Derek Smith's power-play goal 27 seconds into the second period to open scoring, then sprung Kody Orr on a breakaway with 5:31 left in the third for the final marker.
Adam Chipman forced a turnover while killing a penalty and won a footrace to a loose puck, going low on the blocker side of Commandos starter Robert Steeves for the Ramblers other goal at 6:52 of the middle frame.
Jon Waye earned the first shutout of his junior A career, making 13 of his 31 saves in the third period. The Commandos, in rebuilding mode after hosting the Fred Page Cup last season, are averaging just two goals a game.
"It was good to get the monkey off my back with that first shutout," said Waye. "Now it's just a matter of moving forward and keep winning games."
Head coach and general manager Corey Crocker liked how his team responded a day after a 3-1 loss in Summerside to the reigning MJAHL champion Western Capitals.
"After our last performance at home (a 6-0 loss to Halifax), we needed that type of performance in front of our fans," Crocker said.
"The theme in the dressing room tonight was playoff attitude. That's what we wanted, and our kids answered the bell."
Bragg had the goal against the Capitals, and Waye stopped 25 shots.
The Ramblers are on the road for four of their remaining five games this month, travelling to Halifax on Thursday and Truro on Saturday.
NOTES - Defenceman Ryan Matheson and forward Trevor Layton (high ankle sprain) were scratches for Amherst on Saturday. Matheson had his bell rung in Bridgewater last Sunday, and also sat out the Summerside game. Jesse Colborne was called up Saturday from the Cumberland County junior B Blues and skated on a rookie line with Kodi Estey and Mitchell O'Neill ... Defenceman Yohann Mathieu picked up his first point of the year with the second assist on Orr's goal.

jjewers@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Maritime Junior A Hockey League, Capitals

Geographic location: AMHERST, Summerside, Halifax Truro Bridgewater Cumberland County

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