Enforcer willing to drop the gloves with anybody, and has
AMHERST - Despite the Ramblers struggles this season, there is one player among the Maritime Junior A Hockey League leaders in a couple of categories.
Defenceman Yohann Mathieu's 12 fighting majors are tied for tops in the league, and his 142 penalty minutes are second only to Miramichi Timberwolves heavyweight Graham Telford.
For a seventh defenceman struggling to get minutes, it's what Mathieu has to do to remain in the lineup.
"I don't get a lot of points, so (fighting) is something I can do," said Mathieu, a six-foot-three, 210-pound Normandin, Que., native who has one assist in 27 games.
"I didn't do a lot of fighting in major junior or Quebec junior AAA, but it's a role I've fit into here. I'm a big guy and I don't mind it."
Mathieu, who turned 19 on New Year's Day, is playing his first season of hockey outside of Quebec.
"It was pretty tough at the beginning," he said. "I didn't know a lot of English or much about the lifestyle in the Maritimes. But my English has improved and school is going very well. I'm pretty happy here."
With six-foot-four, 230-pound Jonathan Pardy set to return for today's 7:30 p.m., contest with the Bridgewater Lumberjacks - who, under head coach Jim Bottomley, pride themselves on playing a physical brand of hockey - the smart money is on a scrap or two at the Stadium.
"It's awesome having him back," Mathieu said of Pardy's return. "He'll add toughness and take some of the pressure off me. It's definitely good for the team."
ONE?MORE?YEAR?: Kody Orr is still keeping his options open.
The 17-year-old forward said yesterday any talks about him making the jump to major junior with the Halifax Mooseheads, who drafted him in the 12th round in June, have "stalled" and that he is leaning toward another year at the junior A level while gauging the level of interest from U.S. colleges.
"That's looking like the plan right now," Orr said. "Whether that's with the Ramblers or not, I'm not sure. I hope to be here for the rest of this season and next season."
Orr was with the Mooseheads well into their training camp, but didn't suit up for a preseason game before reporting to Amherst, thereby preserving his NCAA eligibility.
The Mooseheads, in last place in the Quebec league, are dealing with a rash of injuries. That league's trading period ends Thursday.
Orr has seven goals and six assists to go with 66 penalty minutes in 31 games this season.
DOWN?ON?THE?FARM: Michael Clarke scored for Team Atlantic in a 4-2 victory over Team West on Sunday in the seventh-place game at the world under-17 challenge tournament in Timmins, Ont.
Clarke, a territorial pick of the Ramblers in June, has 33 points in 23 games with the Cole Harbour McCain major midgets this season.
The Ramblers other territorial pick in 2009, forward Jesse Colborne, has 12 goals and 16 points in 21 games for the junior B Cumberland County Blues.
Another McCain who is Rambler property, goalie Spencer Scott, is having an outstanding campaign, with a 2.12 goals-against average and three shutouts in 15 games.
Defenceman Dylan Brake, Amherst's first-round pick in June, has five goals and two assists in 17 games with the St. John's Fog Devils major midgets.