Rejuvenated Ramblers head to Pictou County tonight
AMHERST - Do you believe? Ramblers captain Adam Chipman does.
A day after his Maritime Junior A Hockey League team's best offensive output of the season, an 8-4 triumph over the Bridgewater Lumberjacks which snapped an eight-game losing streak, the captain reaffirmed his faith that his club, tied for last in the Bent Division, will qualify for postseason play.
"This team will play in the playoffs," said Chipman, one of 12 Ramblers to hit the scoresheet Tuesday. "There's 100 per cent no doubt in my mind. I believe it and (head coach and general manager) Corey (Crocker) believes it, and we've got to get guys believing as a team."
Tuesday's effort was a good start, as the Ramblers controlled the game from the opening faceoff, with period leads of 2-0 and 6-1.
"We couldn't really lose anything else," said Chipman. "We had nothing to lose and everything to gain."
Tonight, the bordertowners will try to build on that momentum when they visit the Pictou County Weeks Crushers in New Glasgow at 7:30 p.m. Amherst has lost its last 11 road games, and last won away from the Stadium on Oct. 23, beating Campbellton 3-1.
Crocker pointed to the third period of his team's last game before Christmas, when the Ramblers were down 5-1 to the Halifax Lions and fought back, literally and figuratively, to get as close as 7-5, as a turning point.
"We played a lot of that same type of game (Tuesday) night," Crocker said. "We skated hard and played good physical hockey. Our guys had a lot of energy and we capitalized on the opportunities Bridgewater gave us."
There's also that extra bit of tension that occurs every year at this time, with Sunday's roster deadline fast approaching.
Crocker said he hasn't heard much buzz around the league - yet.
"It's been very quiet so far," he said. "I firmly believe a lot of teams are set and are not willing to pay big dollars for players because most teams are hurting financially right now.
"But the Quebec league trade period ends today, so after that, you might see things pick up."
NOTES - Crocker said he expects the paperwork for newly acquired forward Brandon Street's release from the Quebec league's Victoriaville Tigres to be completed this afternoon, and that he'll debut tonight ... Forward Shane O'Byrne sat out Tuesday's game with a lacerated finger, but should be ready to go tonight ... Crocker will return to the bench after serving a one-game suspension. Forward Kody Orr and defencemen Wes Herrett and Brandon Mercer will finish serving their two-game bans tonight, all stemming from the Dec. 19 game against the Lions.