AMHERST, N.S. – With their 35th win of the season Saturday night at Amherst Stadium, the 2018-2019 Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers tied a franchise record for most wins in a single season.
“This team’s been around 51 years, and to tie a record that’s been there since 2007 is a pretty big deal,” said Jeff LeBlanc, Ramblers coach and general manager, following Saturdays game.
With a 3-1 win over the Truro Bearcats on Saturday night, this year’s roster registered their 35th win in 49 games, while the 2006-2007 Ramblers set the record in 58 games.
Saturdays win was also the Ramblers 14 straight home win. The last time they lost at home was Dec. 8, a 6-4 loss to the Yarmouth Mariners.
They have also won six games in a row, with their last loss coming in New Glasgow; a 3-2 shootout loss to the Pictou County Weeks Crushers on Feb. 14.
“We’ve been playing really good hockey, especially since we played down in Yarmouth,” said LeBlanc.
The Ramblers were in Yarmouth for a two-game stand on Feb. 1 and 2, losing those games 5-1 and 4-2 respectively.
The last time the two teams met was Feb. 23 at Amherst Stadium, a game the Ramblers won 7-4.
After Saturdays win, the Ramblers took top spot in the Eastlink South Division with 73 points, one point up on the Mariners. That position atop the standings could be short-lived.
On Sunday afternoon the Mariners are on the road to play the South Shore Lumberjacks, and then they wrap up their regular season with two games against the Valley Wildcats, a team that won only six games all season long.
The Ramblers have one more game left in the regular season, a March 9 contest in Truro against the Bearcats.
“We gave the kids three days off. They’re off Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Some of the guys who are from away are going back home,” said LeBlanc. “We’ll get three good practices in Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, play our last regular season game, and then it’s off to the playoffs.”
Ramblers vs. Truro
Matt Green led the Ramblers with one goal and one assist in their 3-1 win over the Bearcats Saturday night at Amherst Stadium.
Nick Snow and Casey Fox (empty-netter) added one goal each, while Caleb Rich, Hunter McIntyre, Cole Waugh, Will Lafford, and Stephen Fox added one assist each.
“We’re winning those close games that you need to win in the playoffs,” said LeBlanc. “We’re keeping the puck out of our own net, and when we do that we have enough guns offensively that we’re going to be fine.”
He also gives much credit to his defencemen.
“I thought the D, in the last four or five games, have been doing a very good job of getting the puck and pushing the pace north,” said LeBlanc. “We call it ‘going north,’ and as long as we keep going north and keep the puck out of our own end we’re going to be successful.”
Matt Williams played in net for the Ramblers, stopping 34 of the 35 shots he faced, while his teammates had 46 shots on Bearcats goaltender Alec MacDonald.
“Our goaltending has been fantastic all year. Williams, in my opinion, is the best goaltender in the league,” said LeBlanc. “And Joel Gogan is ready to take over if anything ever happens to Williams. Gogan can step in and get the job done.”
Game attendance at Amherst Stadium Saturday night was 1,250.