AMHERST, N.S. – The Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers are playing two games against the top team in the Maritime Hockey League this weekend, the South Shore Lumberjacks.
“They won eight in a row, and they have very good goaltending, so we’re working on getting a lot of traffic in front of them and trying to make their life difficult,” said Jeff LeBlanc, Ramblers coach and general manager. “We want to get a lot of pucks on the net and make sure we’re hard on the forecheck.
The Lumberjacks are atop the MHL standings with 20 points and a record of 10-3.
The Ramblers are four points behind their Eastlink South Division rival with a 6-2-2-2 (win-loss-otl-sol).
“It’s not like we have a bad record. We could very easily be 9-2-1 with a couple of those overtime wins, and one shootout win,” said LeBlanc.
The Ramblers are coming off a 2-1 overtime loss to the Truro Bearcats last Saturday at home, and a 4-3 shootout loss to the Mariners last Friday in Yarmouth, a team that is tied atop the standings with the Lumberjacks.
“I was a little disappointed with the result but I wasn’t disappointed with the effort because the effort was there and they worked their butt off for two games. If they continue to do that all year we’ll be fine in the end,” said LeBlanc.
Last week was mid-term exam week at University and LeBlanc says exams may have played a role in their loss to Truro on Saturday.
“I don’t want to make any excuses here but we have 19 players that are going to university part time and full time,” said LeBlanc. “Those kids got off the bus from Yarmouth at 4 o-clock in the morning and they wrote a mid-term on Saturday, and then played a game on Saturday night.”
The season is still young, and LeBlanc says his team is still trying to find the right chemistry.
“We have 12 new players on our team, so we’re still looking for guys that play well together,” said LeBlanc. “We tried some new lines last weekend and we’re going to go with those same lines this coming weekend and see how that works, and go from there.”
He also says they are not pushing the panic button.
“From my experience, 20-year-old teams are usually a lot better after Christmas than they are before Christmas, and we’re definitely an older team.”
The Ramblers are in Lunenburg tonight, and return home Saturday for a 7 p.m. start against the Lumberjacks.