AMHERST, N.S. - The Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers have an injury list so long it’s beginning to resemble a television sitcom of the 1970s.
Entering a stretch of six games in nine days, the Ramblers have been dealing with a series of injuries that has the dressing room looking like the set of MASH and coach and GM Jeff LeBlanc in the role of Col. Potter.
“We’re had a few injuries, there’s no doubt about that,” LeBlanc said. “But it’s something we have to play through and it’s an opportunity for some other guys to step up and show us what they can do.”
The Ramblers, who are home Friday night to the South Shore Lumberjacks at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 7 p.m. against the St. Stephen Aces, will also compete in the league’s showcase playing Campbellton and Miramichi at the Wellness Centre in New Glasgow early next week.
Both defencemen Matt Sartoris and Thomas Ashe are out with long-term injuries while both forwards Alex Lafreniere and Stephen Fox are also out with injuries. Defenceman Linden Namagoose has also been nursing an injury that has him day-to-day.
South Shore, which handed Amherst its only loss of the regular season two weeks ago, is coming into Amherst after edging the Pictou County Weeks Crushers 4-3 in a shootout on Thursday night while the Ramblers are coming into the game after defeating the Campbellton Tigers on home ice last Saturday night.
“We’re going to take this stretch of games one game at a time. Our focus Friday will be on South Shore, which has another good hockey team this season,” LeBlanc said. “Last time we played South Shore, it was 2-2 going into the third period and they took over. We were missing two centremen that game and they did what they had to do to win on the road.”
The Aces are vastly improved over last season and are a team that has given the Ramblers fits in recent years. St. Stephen sits in top spot in the Eastlink North with a 3-2-1 record, including a win over the defending champion Edmundston Blizzard.
“They are a much improved team, but in saying that it’s our home game and we have to take advantage of that,” LeBlanc said. “We have to get pucks by their D and get lots of shots on goal.”
The Ramblers made a free agent signing on Thursday picking up forward Colton McKenna, who played 17 games last season with the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL picking up two assists while also playing with the Buffalo Junior Sabres of the OJHL, where he had five goals in 16 games.