AMHERST -- The Ramblers (19-27-1-1) blanked the Campbellton Tigers (6-36-3-2) 6-0 on Saturday night in Maritime Junior A Hockey League action at the Stadium.
Following is the live blog transcript:
Pre-game notes - Bent Division standings heading into Saturday's action:
Truro - 46 games played, 74 points (clinched division)
Pictou County - 46 GP, 53 pts (clinched second place)
Halifax - 46 GP, 44 pts
Bridgewater - 47 GP, 44 pts
Yarmouth - 49 GP, 42 pts
Amherst - 47 GP, 38 pts
Amherst is the only Bent Division team playing tonight. Halifax and Bridgewater will clinch playoff berths should the Ramblers lose.
After tonight, Amherst plays at Pictou County on Feb. 23, then is home to Truro on Feb. 27. Yarmouth's lone game left is a home date with Halifax on Feb. 27. Halifax will be playing its third game in as many days when it gets to Yarmouth, with a home date versus Bridgewater and a road game in Summerside beforehand.
Campbellton has lost its last eight games (0-7-1-0) and was eliminated from playoff contention earlier this month. Amherst has lost its last four since beating Campbellton 4-3 on Feb. 5.
6:30 p.m. -- Teams out for the warm-up. Campbellton a little late arriving to the rink tonight. Brandon Street (shoulder) and Ryan Matheson (flu) are taking the pre-game skate. Kodi Estey a healthy scratch. Tigers have 16 skaters and are using a couple of affiliated players.
Starting goaltenders tonight are Jon Waye for Amherst and Samuel Renault for Campbellton.
Referee is Mark Hulshof.
7:01 p.m. -- Puck has dropped and we're underway. First line for Amherst is Mitchell O'Neill centering Scott Bragg and Kody Orr, with Eric Boudreau and Ryan Matheson on defence.
7:01 p.m. -- Kody Orr getting double-shifted with Justin Matthews and Jeremy Barron to start. Brandon Street is on the Amherst bench.
7:04 p.m. -- Other line combos for Amherst are Peter Baldwin with Jon Pardy and Josh Coleman, and Trevor Layton centering Simon Bissonnette and Josh Coleman. Matheson paired with Brandon Mercer and Boudreau with Yohann Mathieu, and Drew McLaughlin with Wes Herrett.
7:06 p.m. -- Shane O'Byrne moved up to fill Orr's spot with O'Neill and Bragg, so Bissonnette and Layton will be the extra forwards, as Street will likely be used sparingly (maybe on the PP) or not at all.
7:08 p.m. -- Ramblers continue to line juggle. Layton's line back together, and Orr with his usual pairing. Jake Guindon, Campbellton's captain, skates off to his bench in pain, and Kyle Matthews has words with Trevor Layton about that.
7:11 p.m. -- First PP to Amherst. Stephen Groom called for tripping at 6:34.
7:11 p.m. -- Street out for the power play with his usual linemates and they put the hosts on the board 30 seconds into the man advantage. Jeremy Barron with the goal off a scramble in front of Renault, from Street and Matthews. Barron joins Matthews in the 20-goal club this season. 1-0 Ramblers
7:14 p.m. -- Guindon back out there for Campbellton.
7:15 p.m. -- Shane O'Byrne tripped up near the Amherst bench. Nicholas Young to sit at 8:29.
7:15 p.m. -- Now a five-on-three for 1:41, with Jake Guindon off for tripping at 8:48.
7:17 p.m. -- Ramblers capitalize as Barron's harmless-looking backhander gets between Renault and the near post at 9:19. Assist to Brandon Street. 2-0 Ramblers. 89 seconds left in the Guindon minor.
7:19 p.m. -- Campbellton at full strength.
7:21 p.m. -- Street is only playing on the PP, as Orr is out with Barron and Matthews when it's five-on-five.
7:21 p.m. -- Waye with his first big test, making a couple of stops as Campbellton gets a rare offensive flurry. 7:34 left in the period.
7:23 p.m. -- The Orr-O'Neill-Bragg unit gets in on the scoring, as Orr is left alone in front and converts a pass from O'Neill at 12:55. Bragg with the second assist. 3-0 Ramblers
7:26 p.m. -- Ramblers keep coming. Jon Pardy with all kinds of time at the side of the Campbellton net to lift a pass from Peter Baldwin over a sprawling Renault at 14:42. Josh Coleman with the second assist. 4-0 Ramblers. Pardy's second of the season and first since Jan. 12. That's it for Renault, as Randy Chisholm is now in goal for the visitors.
7:31 p.m. -- Campbellton with a chance as a shot comes dangerously close to the side of the net, bouncing back from the end boards and catching Waye off guard, but Stephen Groom can't get a stick on it.
7:32 p.m. -- Final minute of the period.
7:34 p.m. -- Buzzer sounds. Shots 14-12 Amherst, with most of Campbellton's shots not very threatening.
After 20 minutes -- Hosts have enough goals to win this game, and the Tigers are clearly playing out the string with a patchwork lineup. Maintain discipline and be responsible in their own end of the rink, and the Ramblers will get a much-needed two points.
7:50 p.m. -- Second period has started.
7:50 p.m. -- Ramblers keeping up the pressure. Scott Bragg with a nice backhand pass to a pinching Eric Boudreau, who just misses on the stick side.
7:52 p.m. -- Amherst on the PP again. Jean Rock Theriault called for tripping at 2:27.
7:55 p.m. -- Penalty over.
8 p.m. -- Hosts rolling their lines, giving everybody plenty of ice time.
8:01 p.m. -- Fifth power play of the game for Amherst. Jason Smallman gets two for hooking at 8:29.
8:02 p.m. -- Bissonnette-Layton-O'Byrne unit out for the PP. They've been on the ice a lot this period.
8:04 p.m. -- First line with some good pressure, as Barron and Matthews had chances in close. Zethariah Zielinski with a burst of speed and almost wins a one-on-two battle.
8:05 p.m. -- Amherst takes its first penalty of the game. Scott Bragg called for elbowing at 10:22. Sixteen seconds left in Smallman's minor.
8:05 p.m. -- Campbellton now on the PP.
8:07 p.m. -- Tigers with a good scoring opportunity, but John Ryan Francis hits the side of the net on a one-timer from the faceoff circle.
8:08 p.m. -- Bragg's minor over.
8:10 p.m. -- Jon Pardy getting some five-on-five time with Matthews and Barron.
8:10 p.m. -- Simon Bissonnette misses a tap-in off a nice feed from Layton. Puck bounced over his stick.
8:12 p.m. -- Bragg feeding Boudreau again for a one-timer that goes off the outside of the post on Chisholm's glove side.
8:13 p.m. -- 5:05 left. Shots 8-2 Campbellton in the period.
8:14 p.m. -- Jon Pardy with a great pass to a charging Justin Matthews who tips that past Chisholm at 15:39. Matthews' 25th of the season. Second assist to Josh Coleman. 5-0 Ramblers
8:17 p.m. -- Amherst's Shane O'Byrne sent off for tripping at 16:25.
8:19 p.m. -- Penalty over. Puck is iced with 90 seconds left in the period.
8:20 p.m. -- Final minute.
8:22 p.m. -- Simon Bissonnette out for a shift with Barron and Matthews.
8:23 p.m. -- Period over. Shots 11-5 Campbellton in the second, 23-19 Tigers through two.
After 40 minutes -- Shots on goal total is misleading, as Amherst is playing to protect its lead, and the bottom-six forwards are getting more minutes than normal. Hosts just need to maintain the status quo and stay out of the penalty box.
8:40 p.m. -- Third period has begun.
8:42 p.m. -- Justin Matthews with his second goal of the game, a wrist shot over Chisholm's glove hand at 2:09. Assist to Eric Boudreau. 6-0 Ramblers
8:43 p.m. -- Brandon Street went to the Amherst dressing room following the goal. This one is well in hand, so he's been shut down.
8:48 p.m. -- Campbellton with some good pressure here. Good to see a young team that has struggled all year working hard despite being down six goals.
8:52 p.m. -- 12:02 to go. Faceoff to Waye's left. Waye looking for his second shutout of the season.
8:53 p.m. -- Yohann Mathieu starts some fireworks by flattening Jean Rock Theriault and continuing to punch away while on top of him, and Jon Pardy and Grant West are fighting while the linesmen are trying to separate Mathieu and Theriault. Mathieu throws his helmet in the direction of a linesman who was escorting Theriault to the penalty box, and that should cost him. This will take a minute to sort out, all coming at 8:31.
8:57 p.m. -- Mathieu feigns going after Campbellton captain Jake Guindon, who is waiting beside Justin Matthews for Hulshof to explain the situation. Can't understand the point of this -- up 6-0 on the youngest team in the league, there's no need to act like a bully. And, with Amherst carrying just six defencemen, no need of risking a suspension with two big games left.
9 p.m. -- Penalties even out. Mathieu and Theriault get five and a game, and Pardy and West five for fighting. Guess no one saw the helmet toss.
9:06 p.m. -- Eric Boudreau sends Zethariah Zelinksi flying into the Amherst net. He'll sit for cross-checking at 12:37.
9:08 p.m. -- Campbellton with more good pressure. Moving the puck well and getting shots to the net, making Waye earn his goose egg.
9:09 p.m. -- Penalty over. Campbellton with five shots on goal on that PP.
9:10 p.m. -- 4:29 left. Shots 13-8 Campbellton in this period.
9:12 p.m. -- 2:38 remaining. Faceoff to Waye's right.
9:14 p.m. -- One minute left.
9:15 p.m. -- Waye almost loses the shutout as the puck is behind him and within millimetres of the goal line with 34.4 seconds left. But the net is knocked off just before Waye pushes the puck across the line while reaching back with his glove hand to smother it.
9:16 p.m. -- Game over. Shots 15-9 Campbellton in the third, 38-28 Tigers for the game.
Three stars -- 1. Justin Matthews, Amherst; 2. Brandon Street, Amherst; 3. Jon Waye, Amherst. Street second? He might have played four minutes. Waye had to work for his shutout and deserved better than third.
Final thoughts -- Ramblers did what they were expected to do and beat a team they should've beat. Now the true test begins -- taking four points from the top two teams in the Bent Division, starting with their first meeting versus Pictou County since the Adam Chipman-Derek Smith trade, on Tuesday.
Waye, on almost losing the shutout: "I think I did push the puck over when I went to grab it, so thanks to whoever knocked the net off. Campbellton didn't back down in the third period. They kept playing hard."