Ready to go to war

Ramblers’ defenceman looking forward to run at a title

Published on March 16, 2017

Amherst Ramblers defenceman Lucas Sangster is looking forward to a long playoff run after two years out of the postseason. The Weeks Crushers are in Amherst on Saturday for Game 2 of the MHL Eastlink Division South semifinal.

©Gary Boudreau Photography

AMHERST, N.S. – Lucas Sangster still remembers the energy in the Amherst Stadium the last time the Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers made the playoffs.

The Brookdale native was called up by the Ramblers late in 2013-14 after completing his first, and only, season with the Weeks Major Midgets. The Ramblers were facing the Weeks Crushers in the division semifinal.

I’ve been here through the tough times and now I’m here when they’re the best. It’s exciting to go to the rink right now and I can’t wait to get going. It’s all about making the most of the time and at the end of the day we have to win. Lucas Sangster

While he didn’t see any action in that series, he still remembers how loud the Jungle is at playoff time – something that hasn’t happened in three seasons.

“The guys have been talking about how big a crowd we’re going to get in the playoffs, but I’m the only one who has seen that,” Sangster said from Halifax where he is working with the Halifax Regional Fire Department. “Every game I’m reminding about how much the community is going to get behind us and how the playoffs are going to be a completely different experience than anything they’ve seen in the regular season.”

Sangster is now a 19-year-old veteran with the Ramblers and he’s making what could be his final playoff run with the club. After two years out of the playoffs, he feels hockey fans in Amherst are ready to get behind their team again.

Sangster played his minor hockey with the CCMHA before playing major bantam in Truro and major midget in Pictou County. He was also drafted by the Charlottetown Islanders of the QMJHL.

He has seen a lot of tough times for the Ramblers, who spent the last two seasons rebuilding after an early playoff exit in 2014, but he sees a lot of positives in this year’s team that was among the hottest in the Maritime Junior Hockey League coming out of the Christmas break.

“I’ve been here through the tough times and now I’m here when they’re the best. It’s exciting to go to the rink right now and I can’t wait to get going. It’s all about making the most of the time and at the end of the day we have to win,” Sangster said.

While the Crushers beat the Ramblers in five of six meetings this season, Sangster said it’s playoffs now. “Standings don’t matter now, the regular season is over. Everyone’s in it to win it and everyone has a clean slate.”

Still he knows it’s going to be a challenge.

“They have a good team and it will take a lot to beat them, but we know we can do it. We just have to play smart hockey, stay out of the penalty box and do what we can to get under their skin and prevent their top players from playing like they normally do,” said Sangster. “We have to win those little battles.”

Sangster said the adversity some of the players have experienced here the last two seasons has helped them grow and made them hungrier for playoff success. Even the challenges that continued to jump up during the regular season – even in the last two to three weeks – have made the dressing room stronger as a unit.

Sangster is physically ready to go. He battled a minor injury in the last weeks of the season, but feels much better after resting for several games. It also means he will be out there blocking shots again – something he’s developed quite a reputation for.

“It never feels good, but the adrenaline of doing something to help the team gets you through it,” Sangster said. “When you are out there blocking shots it’s one less goal they will score that game and when you see the boys on the bench get pumped up because you put your body on the line blocking three or four shots it helps because you know you’re sacrificing yourself for the better of the team.”

darrell.cole@tc.tc

Twitter: @ADNdarrell