Ramblers fall 5-4 in OT to Commandos

Jody Jewers
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DIEPPE, N.B. -- The Ramblers (11-15-1-1) lost 5-4 in overtime to the Dieppe Commandos (8-16-1-1) this afternoon in Maritime Junior A Hockey League action at the Arthur J. LeBlanc Centre.

Amherst has now lost nine straight away games, having last won away from the Stadium on Oct. 23 (3-1 over Campbellton). The Ramblers are 4-10-1-0 on the road this season.

Dieppe, in a rebuilding year after hosting the Fred Page Cup last season, snapped a three-game losing skid.

Following is the live blog transcript:

2 p.m. -- Teams out for the warmup. Kodi Estey and Brandon Mercer are back in the lineup after not dressing for last night's 6-1 loss to Woodstock. Yohann Mathieu and Kody Orr are scratched. Orr's grandmother passed away recently, and visitation is today with the funeral service Monday.

Only scratch for Dieppe is Morgan Nicolas, who is playing for France at the IIHF Division 1 junior hockey championship.

Starting goalies are Jon Waye for Amherst and Mario Babineau for Dieppe.

Referee today is Jamie Trenholm.

2:33 p.m. -- Puck has dropped and we're underway. First line for Amherst is Layton-Matthews-Baldwin, with Smith and Boudreau the usual defence pairing.

2:33 p.m. -- Other line combos for Amherst are Bissonnette-Barron-Chipman, Bragg-Coleman-O'Neill, and Estey-O'Byrne-Carson. Other defence pairings are Herrett-McLaughlin and Matheson-Mercer.

2:36 p.m. -- Ramblers switch up their defensive pairings, putting Smith with Matheson and Boudreau with Mercer.

2:36 p.m. -- Amherst strikes first, as Peter Baldwin bangs home a rebound at 3:04 for his first goal as a Rambler. Assists to Wes Herrett and Justin Matthews. 1-0 Ramblers

2:39 p.m. -- Now 2-0, as Josh Coleman deposits a nice feed from Mitchell O'Neill at 5:21. Second assist to Scott Bragg - that's 10 points in 10 games for him. 2-0 Ramblers

2:40 p.m. -- Drew McLaughlin robbed by Babineau in close. Ramblers on fire here, as they're loving the Olympic-size ice surface in Dieppe.

2:43 p.m. -- And now Scott Bragg is sprung on a breakaway by Wes Herrett, but his shot sails over top of the net. Ramblers speed proving too much for the Commandos.

2:44 p.m. -- 10:00 left in the first. Shots 5-2 Amherst.

2:46 p.m. -- Trevor Layton just barrels down the middle of the ice for a scoring chance, and is pushed into the net by a Dieppe defender, stopping play. No penalty.

2:49 p.m. -- Commandos are within one. Dillen Theriault's wrister goes through a couple of bodies and past Waye at 12:50. Andrew Taylor tipped it in, from Theriault and Josh Carter. 2-1 Ramblers

2:51 p.m. -- Adam Chipman puts a shoulder into Dieppe agitator Chuckie Schembri, and Schembri felt that as he skates to his team's bench.

2:52 p.m. -- Fourth line (O'Byrne-Estey-Carson) for the Ramblers doing a lot of banging and crashing out there.

2:54 p.m. -- Ramblers get the two-goal lead back. Brandon Mercer's point shot is stopped, but Jeremy Barron is on the doorstep, and a nice deke leaves him a wide-open side of the net at 16:33. Second assist to Simon Bissonnette. Barron's first goal in a month. 3-1 Ramblers

2:57 p.m. -- 2:18 to go. Faceoff at the Amherst blueline.

2:59 p.m. -- Sticks are raised after Bissonnette's shot on goal is stopped, but nothing comes from it.

2:59 p.m. -- Final minute of the period.

3:01 p.m. -- Period over. Shots 12-9 Amherst. That just flew by - 28 minutes to play, and no penalties called.

After 20 minutes -- The Ramblers need to knock out a wall or two at the Stadium, because the bigger ice surface suits their speed game perfectly. Commandos are not able to keep up, and more room to move in the offensive zone is a huge plus. Contributions from three lines from Amherst on offence a nice bonus for a team that has struggled mightily to put the puck in the net.

3:19 p.m. -- Second period underway.

3:21 p.m. -- First penalty of the game goes to Dieppe's Chuckie Schembri at 1:09 for roughing.

3:23 p.m. -- Ramblers having trouble getting established in the Dieppe end.

3:23 p.m. -- Penalty over.

3:24 p.m. -- Ramblers with a three-on-one, but Jeremy Barron's centering pass to a wide-open Adam Chipman is six inches wide. Chipman was home free, with no one within 20 feet of him.

3:28 p.m. -- This period just flying by, too, with very few whistles. 12:39 left, and the faceoff at the Amherst blueline.

3:28 p.m. -- Commandos called for too many men on the ice on that sequence, and Amherst gets its second power play of the period.

3:30 p.m. -- Adam Chipman tripped up in the Dieppe zone, and it's a five-on-three for 57 seconds. Joey Arsenault to sit at 8:24.

3:31 p.m. -- Justin Matthews can't convert a one-timer from Eric Boudreau, but the puck ricochets around the end boards to Jeremy Barron, who puts it home at 9:22. Assists to Adam Chipman and Justin Matthews. Power play goal. 4-1 Ramblers

3:34 p.m. -- Ramblers all over the Commandos. Peter Baldwin just missed a glorious chance at the side of the net. Babineau stops a Justin Matthews wrister to stop play with 6:44 left.

3:37 p.m. -- Eric Boudreau's stick disintegrates as he tries a breakout pass, and it results in a scoring chance for Dieppe. Waye there to make the save.

3:39 p.m. -- Amherst continues to press, and the Commandos are forced to ice the puck with 4:24 to go.

3:41 p.m. -- Eric Boudreau with a tremendous effort to break up a two-on-one, sliding across on his belly to disrupt a centering pass.

3:43 p.m. -- One minute to go in the period.

3:44 p.m. -- Scott Bragg and Chuckie Schembri with some stickwork behind the play, and they go nose-to-nose as the buzzer sounds, but nothing comes of it. Shots 11-6 Dieppe in the period, which is no way indicative of which team carried the play, and 20-18 Commandos through two.

After 40 minutes -- Ramblers in full control of this game, as any chances the Commandos are generating are coming from the perimeter and Waye is seeing everything and not giving up rebounds. Visitors continue to use their superior speed to their advantage, and if the status quo is maintained, it will result in a much-needed two points.

4 p.m. -- Third period has begun.

4:01 p.m. -- Derek Smith turns the puck over in the Amherst zone, and it results in Dieppe's second goal. Ryan MacDonald lifts a rebound over Waye at the 25-second mark, with the assist to Andrew Taylor. 4-2 Ramblers

4:03 p.m. -- Pivotal point in the game here. Dieppe got the early break it needed to get back in this game and are buzzing around the Amherst net again. Ramblers need to respond.

4:05 p.m. -- Adam Chipman with excellent hustle to beat a Dieppe defender to a loose puck and generate a scoring opportunity.

4:07 p.m. -- Dieppe on the PP for the first time tonight, as Mitchell O'Neill is called for slashing at 3:56.

4:09 p.m. -- Ramblers survive a scare, as Peter Baldwin shatters his stick and can't get off the ice while on the PK.

4:10 p.m. -- Brandon Mercer puts the puck over the glass in the Amherst zone, and that's delay of game at 4:50. Five-on-three for 56 seconds.

4:10 p.m. -- And the Commandos are within one with seven seconds left in the first minor. Josh Carter with the goal from Alex MacDonald and Chuckie Schembri at 5:50. 4-3 Ramblers

4:13 p.m. -- Just as the Ramblers kill off the Mercer minor, they get another one, with Derek Smith off for tripping at 6:52.

4:15 p.m. -- And Dieppe has now tied it. Waye makes two saves, but the puck isn't cleared and Andrew Taylor goes top shelf at 7:42. Assists to Josh Carter and Marc Roper. 4-4

4:17 p.m. -- Ramblers now on the PP. Chuckie Schembri to sit for interference at 8:32.

4:18 p.m. -- Derek Smith can't connect on a one-timer from Adam Chipman as the puck bounces over his stick just before he can pull the trigger.

4:19 p.m. -- Penalty over. Ramblers with some good pressure but can't finish.

4:19 p.m. -- 9:23 to go in the period. Faceoff to Waye's left.

4:20 p.m. -- Dieppe keeping it simple. Pucks to the net and look for a rebound. Ramblers have to pick up the pace.

4:23 p.m. -- Adam Chipman is by Marc Roper and is in with Eric Boudreau charging to the net, but Roper gives Chipman a tug with the stick and is called for hooking at 13:00. Ramblers need to capitalize right now.

4:26 p.m. -- Penalty over. Ramblers can't find the net on their point shots. 5:00 to go.

4:27 p.m. -- Derek Smith with another turnover in his own end. Waye's net is knocked off its moorings to stop play with 3:36 to go.

4:31 p.m. -- Under two minutes. Ramblers are hanging on for dear life, as they're running on fumes.

4:32 p.m. -- Final minute of regulation.

4:33 p.m. -- We're headed to overtime. Shots in the third were 22-8 Dieppe, 42-26 Commandos through three.

After 60 minutes -- Ramblers are gassed, and Waye is all that has prevented the collapse from being complete. At least Amherst will get a point out of this thanks to their effort the first 40 minutes and Waye's heroics down the stretch.

4:35 p.m. -- Overtime has started.

4:37 p.m. -- 3:55 left in the extra period. Faceoff to Waye's right.

4:38 p.m. -- Puck sent out of play with 2:40 to go in OT. Faceoff at the Dieppe blueline.

4:40 p.m. -- 2:16 remaining in overtime.

4:41 p.m. -- Derek Smith caught on a pinch-in and it's a two-on-one the other way. Jean-Marc Leger feeds Dillen Theriault and Waye gets a piece of it, but not enough to stop it from going in at 3:22. 5-4 Commandos

Shots in overtime were 3-2 Dieppe, 45-29 Commandos for the game.

Three stars -- 1. Andrew Taylor, Dieppe. 2. Josh Carter, Dieppe; 3. Jeremy Barron, Amherst.

Final thoughts -- Ramblers find new ways to lose. This game was well in hand after 40 minutes, but the gas tank quickly ran dry thanks to penalty trouble in the third period, and Amherst had nothing left at the end.

Had a very candid conversation with Corey Crocker post-game, and was left with little doubt that his hand is being forced here.

The Ramblers have talent, but it is underperforming and something has to be done. But given the business model this program follows, the money isn't there to make big moves. When your bottom line is solely dependent on gate receipts and the ability to go deep into the postseason, a rebuilding year is not an option to avoid red ink on the ledger.

The message needs to be sent that the status quo is unacceptable, and something has to be sacrificed. As Crocker said: "That's what happens when things don't go your way. S--- goes downhill in a hurry ... We've got major decisions to make as an organization."

jjewers@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Maritime Junior A Hockey League, IIHF Division, Barron's

Geographic location: DIEPPE, OT, Campbellton France

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