Ramblers tie series up 1-1 with decisive win

LeBlanc says he won’t get into name-calling

Published on March 18, 2017

Matt LaPointe celebrates his second goal of the night, giving the Ramblers a 4-1 lead at 1:15 into the third period.

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AMHERST, N.S. – The Pictou County Weeks Crushers went into the best-of-seven, semi-final playoff series against the Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers as heavy favourites.

He can call us whatever he wants. I don’t care about that stuff at all. I care about Monday night and our game plan against them. We’re not on the school playground here and we’re not going to call each other names. Jeff LeBlanc, Ramblers coach and general manager

That equation has been turned on its head.

The Ramblers beat the Crushers 4-1 Saturday night at Amherst Stadium, tying the series up 1-1.

“I thought the boys played really well from start to finish, and kept getting better and better as the game went on,” said Jeff LeBlanc, Ramblers coach and general manager, after the game. “We had a good 60 minutes and we came out on top.”

Grant Janes (2) and Julian Makary watch as LaPointe's (left) shot sails into the net.

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Doug Doull, Crushers coach and general manager, said his team was in the penalty box too much.

“It’s pretty tough to play a game when you lost your rhythm early with four straight minors,” said Doull.

Crushers imply Ramblers are divers

There were a total of five penalties in the first period, the first assessed to Ramblers player Lucas Sangster, and the next four assessed to the Crushers.

Asked if he’s looking for more discipline from his player’s in Game 3 in New Glasgow, Doull implied the Ramblers are divers by saying, “We don’t dive enough. We don’t’ sell anything, but (diving) is something I’ve never implemented or will ever try to implement.”

Jordn King, left, came close to putting the Ramblers up 5-1 on this shot.

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LeBlanc says he’s focused on the next game more than anything Doull has to say about the Ramblers.

“He can call us whatever he wants. I don’t care about that stuff at all,” said LeBlanc. “I care about Monday night and our game plan against them. We’re not on the school playground here and we’re not going to call each other names.”

With that said, LeBlanc did think the Crushers, ‘took a lot of liberties after the whistle.’

“We’re trying to play in between whistles, and we’re going to play between whistles for the rest of the series.”

Daniel Vautour stopped 44 of 48 shots he faced Saturday night, including this shot from Julian Makary.

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Fans help Ramblers

The Crushers won the first game of the series 5-4 in double overtime in front of 905 people in New Glasgow.

Saturday’s game attracted 1,272 people to Amherst Stadium.

“The fans really gave us a boost tonight. It was the loudest I’ve ever heard it in any barn and it’s just going to increase as the series goes on,” said LeBlanc. “The fans had a great energy and the players were feeding off it. We were banging bodies around, we were getting pucks in deep and we were forcing their defence to make great plays. Our fans are unreal and they showed that tonight in spades.”

Brock McEwen and Chad Bannister scramble for the puck along the end boards with Crushers player Mack Derraugh.

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“I said in numerous interviews that it’s the reason I came to Amherst, a game just like that tonight where we’re playing Ramblers hockey, where we’re crashing and banging, and we’re playing clean but hard,” said LeBlanc. “We played hard tonight and we fed off the crowd. The crowd was amazing and we just have to build off that momentum.”

The Crushers won this face off in their own zone.

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Their next game is Monday night in New Glasgow.

“We know Pictou is going to come out with a huge effort Monday night,” said LeBlanc. “I’m sure Doug will have them going and I’m sure their best effort will be Monday might.”

Matt LaPointe watches for a pass.

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Game Results

First Period

Matt LaPointe scored the only goal of the first period, giving the Ramblers a 1-0 lead. He scored the unassisted goal on the power play with just under two minutes left in the first.

Second Period

Grant Janes put the Ramblers up 2-1 at 8:51 into the second off passes from Brandon Kosik and Ryan MacDonald.

A little over two minutes later, the Crushers made it a 2-1 game when Bradley Kennedy scored on the power play off a pass from Ethan Marsh.

Jordan King ended the period with a goal off assists from LaPointe and Julian Makary, giving the Ramblers a 3-1 lead heading into the dressing room.

Third Period

LaPointe scored the only goal of the third. It came on a power play at 1:15 into the frame off passes from Makary and Jesse Dunn.

Referees kept busy keeping the game under control in the third period.

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The Ramblers outshot the Crushers 48-33.

Daryl MacCallum played in goal for the Ramblers and Daniel Vautour for the Crushers.

The game threatened to turn ugly late in the third when Mark Kennedy leaped into the air and hit Connor Vermeulen from behind after the whistle, but calmer heads prevailed. Kennedy was assessed a penalty for a blow to the head.

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The game had 18 penalties, 14 for the Crushers and four for the Ramblers.

Referees break up another third period melee.

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Upcoming Games

Game 3 – Monday, 7 p.m., Pictou County Wellness Centre

Game 4 – Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., Amherst Stadium

Game 5 – Friday, 7 p.m., Keating Millennium Centre, Antigonish

*Game 6 – Saturday, March 25, 7 p.m., Amherst Stadium

*Game 7 – Tuesday, March 28, 7 p.m., Pictou County Wellness Centre

*If necessary

At the end of the game, Daniel Vautour reminded hecklers behind his goal that the Ramblers have won one game.

©Dave Mathieson - TC Media