AMHERST – The Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers will be looking to build some momentum this weekend when they host the Valley Wildcats and the Truro Bearcats in Maritime Junior Hockey League action.
The Ramblers are coming off a less than stellar outing last Friday night in Truro when they had their three-game winning streak snapped by a 5-1 drubbing by the Bearcats.
“We won three in a row up until last Friday and we just didn’t play well in Truro. We never showed up,” Ramblers coach and general manager Jeff LeBlanc said. “The guys had three games off after that game, but it appears as they took their vacation one game too early.”
In that game, the Bearcats scored two early power play goals and never looked back against an Amherst team that just couldn’t seem to muster any offence against a Bearcats team that beat them in overtime a couple of weeks earlier in Amherst – a game LeBlanc feels his team dominated but didn’t win.
On Saturday, the Ramblers host the Valley Wildcats at 7:30 p.m. (later time due to Christmas parade) before meeting the Bearcats for their third meeting of the season on Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Amherst Stadium.
“They are a division rival so every game against them is important,” LeBlanc said. “We have to turn the page and move forward. From what my assistants told me they’ve had a couple of good practices and they’re ready to go this weekend.”
LeBlanc and Ramblers captain Jordan King were both in Trenton, Ont. this week with the Maritime Junior Hockey League team attending the Eastern Canada Challenge Cup. Both will be back for the weekend games and they should be joined by forward Liam Conrad, who has been out of the lineup for a couple of weeks with an injury.
LeBlanc said discipline will be key for the Ramblers against the Bearcats, who have one of the best power play units in the league and play sound defensive hockey.
“They are a very stingy hockey team defensively. They are a very well coached team and they play a good system,” LeBlanc said.
Saying that, LeBlanc doesn’t want his team looking beyond the Wildcats, who sit in last place in the Eastlink South Division with just nine points. Amherst has only played Valley once, picking up a 5-2 win in Berwick on Sept. 22.
This weekend’s games are the only ones at home in November for the Ramblers. Amherst concludes its November schedule in Edmundston, N.B. on Nov. 24 before opening December in Bridgewater on Dec. 1 and coming home to face St. Stephen on Dec. 2 at the stadium.