AMHERST – It’s amazing the difference 24 hours can make.
A day after being completely outplayed on home ice in a 5-2 loss to the Pictou County Weeks Crushers, the Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers bounced back with a complete game en route to a 4-3 win against the Summerside Western Capitals at Credit Union Place in Summerside on New Year’s Day.
“I thought the boys played very well today, it was a great way to bounce back,” Ramblers coach and general manager Jeff LeBlanc said Monday night. “Given the circumstances, having to play at 2 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and then 2 p.m. on New Year’s Day, they showed up to play and were rewarded for their hard work.”
The Ramblers got first period goals from Layton Parsons and Will Bower, with his third goal in three games since joining the club, while Brady Giffin-Hefford scored on the powerplay 12:13 into the middle period and Will Lafford scored just over a minute later as the Ramblers built up a 4-2 lead after two periods.
Cam Roberts and Jordan Spence scored power play goals in the first period for Summerside and Spence scored again just past the midway point of the final period for Summerside.
“Good teams always bounce back from tough losses and we had a tough loss (on Sunday),” LeBlanc said. “The boys stayed in on Sunday night and came to the rink ready to play and got two points in a building that’s very hard to play in.”
Ramblers’ goalie Joel Goguen was strong between the pipes making several key stops including a game-saver late in the third period as the Caps pressed for the equalizer.
“It’s so good to see Joel have a good game. He works so hard in practice and drives an hour each day to practice. He’s a battler and he made a couple of big saves today,” LeBlanc said.
LeBlanc also heaped praise on the newest Rambler, forward Will Bower, who joined the team just before the Christmas break after playing in the QMJHL with both the Moncton Wildcats and Charlottetown Islanders.
“He’s been a huge addition for our hockey club, not just for what he does on the ice but for what he brings to the dressing room in added leadership,” LeBlanc said. “You like to see guys produce offensively, but Will is one of those guys who does so much without the puck. He’s always in the right position in the defensive zone and he’s a huge addition to the penalty kill.”
Monday’s result was a huge turnaround for the Ramblers who struggled on home ice on Sunday in a loss to the fourth-place Crushers, who for the most part dominated the hockey game from start to finish.