AMHERST – Jake Barter’s power play goal early in overtime lifted the Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers to a 3-2 win over the Summerside Western Capitals in Maritime Junior Hockey League action on Wednesday.
The win came a day after a 2-0 loss to the St. Stephen Aces at the MHL Showcase in Summerside, P.E.I. It also snapped a three-game losing streak that included an overtime loss in Edmundston, N.B., a shootout loss in St. Stephen, N.B. and an 8-6 loss to Summerside in Amherst last Saturday.
“I thought we played a lot better tonight,” Ramblers coach Jeff LeBlanc said. “Honestly I think we played our best game of the season. The guys were starting to grip their sticks a little too tight and things weren’t going right for them, but tonight I told them to exhale and not to panic. I asked them to play the way they can and I felt they did that tonight.”
Liam Conrad, on the power play, and Will Lafford scored early as the Ramblers took a 2-0 lead in the game that featured two 25-minute halves. Dawson Grenier, Brady Griffin-Hefford, Layton Parsons and Matt Sartoris added assists.
Josh MacDonald and Jesse Annear scored to tie the game in the final period before Barter fired a shot by Summerside goalie Rett Rook to give the Ramblers a split in the two-day MHL Showcase.
The Ramblers return to action on Saturday when they host the Campbellton Tigers at the Amherst Stadium at 7 p.m.
Amherst will be without goalie Julian Galloway for a couple of weeks. Galloway suffered an upper body injury making a save against St. Stephen. He was relieved by Joel Goguen, who made several key saves against Summerside on Wednesday and will get the start at home on Saturday.
“If there’s one thing we learned during that stretch is being ready when the puck drops. That’s one of the good things about going through that when the season is still early. I think we learned really quickly that we can’t show up and expect our talent to take over,” he said. “It’s better that we go through that now instead of later in the season when it’s harder to correct.”
In Tuesday’s 2-0 loss, Tristan Bowlby and Patrick Daley scored goals in the first half of the game and Jack Grant made a number of key saves to preserve the win for the Aces – their second over the Ramblers this season.
LeBlanc said the team’s quick start in the exhibition season and the first three games led to some complacency in the dressing room and it showed in the work ethic during the swing through northern New Brunswick and back at home last Saturday.
“Teams know we have a good team this year and they’re getting up for us,” LeBlanc said. “I think it was just a case of them getting up for us and us not getting up for them. We were getting off to slow starts and weren’t ready, but I think we’re starting to turn the corner now.”