Ramblers face tough test this weekend

Jody Jewers
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AMHERST - The playoffs might as well begin this weekend for the Ramblers.
With the schedule winding down and the battle for positioning in the Maritime Junior A Hockey League's Bent Division intensifying, the bordertowners have their work cut out for them with three games in three days against two upper echelon clubs.
The Truro Bearcats are in town tonight at 7:30, followed by the Miramichi Timberwolves the next night at 7 p.m. Amherst heads to Truro on Sunday to round out the weekend at 7 p.m.
Amherst enters the weekend in last place in the Bent. The Yarmouth Mariners passed them with a 7-2 win over the Halifax Lions last night. Halifax is two points up on Yarmouth for fourth.
"This is a weekend that will be a defining moment for us," said forward Peter Baldwin, Amherst's lone 20-year-old after the club traded Adam Chipman and Derek Smith to Pictou County a month ago.
"I think we'll make the playoffs and I think we'll surprise some people. Not a lot of people seem to have much faith in our team, but everyone in our dressing room does."
Amherst (18-24-1-1) has beaten Truro (30-6-3-3) once in five meetings this season, and Miramichi (28-14-1-0) once in three tries. Both wins came before the Ramblers traded Chipman and Smith. But both wins were at the Stadium, where the Ramblers are above .500 at 11-8-0-1. Amherst's road record sits at 7-16-1-0.
The Bearcats scored four third-period goals en route to a 6-0 win in Amherst in the last meeting between these clubs on Jan. 22. Six days ago, the Timberwolves beat the Ramblers 5-1 in Miramichi in a game that featured seven fights and 138 minutes in penalties.
Amherst has played some of its best hockey since Christmas, going 7-5 in the new year, but Ramblers head coach and general manager Corey Crocker admits the club is paying the price for a disastrous stretch from October through December when the club won just six of 26 contests.
"We have no one to blame but ourselves for the position we're in," Crocker said. "We can't depend on anyone to do any favours for us."
The Mariners weren't in an obliging mood Wednesday, handing Woodstock just its third loss in regulation this season, 5-4, despite being outshot 56-26. Baldwin, acquired from Yarmouth in December, heard about that one from his former teammates.
"I got a few text messages from some guys," Baldwin said.
"They're in the same position we are. Every game is a battle and you have to win."
NOTES - Truro forward Dana Fraser, the MJAHL scoring leader, has missed his club's last three games ... Olympic torchbearers Daren White and Jamie Steele will handle ceremonial puck drop duties tonight. The first 100 women at Saturday's game will receive roses.

jjewers@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Maritime Junior A Hockey League, Halifax Lions, Timberwolves Mariners

Geographic location: AMHERST, Miramichi, Pictou County

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  • Vince
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Like I said before, Yarmouth is coming on strong and the Ramblers will have to win at least two this weekend to make a punch into the playoffs. I do believe that they have a fighting chance. Fan support will be appreciated.

    GO RAMBLERS GO

  • Robert
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    GO RAMBLERS...See you at the rink...1,000 screaming fans tonight and tomorrow would be a big help.

  • David
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Let's go Ramblers! Coach Crocker and the boys can pull this off and get into the playoffs. Anything is possible.

    *When it is dark enough, you can see the stars* ~Ralph Waldo Emerson