AMHERST – The Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers missed an opportunity to move into second place in the Maritime Junior Hockey League’s Eastlink South Division standings and got trounced in the process.
One of the hottest teams in the league going into the weekend, the Ramblers lost 4-1 to the South Shore Lumberjacks in a second-place showdown on Saturday before being humbled 7-1 by their arch nemesis the Truro Bearcats on Sunday.
“We didn’t play well this weekend, that’s it,” Ramblers head coach and general manager Jeff LeBlanc said following Sunday’s game. “There’s no other way to put it. We didn’t play well in both games and in this league, if you want to gain position in the standings, you have to play better than we did.”
Truro jumped quickly out of the gate Sunday with Cameron MacLeod, Craig Ryan and Taylor Read (on the power play) scored for the Bearcats in the first period.
Jordan King scored with the man advantage midway through the second period but Graham Rutledge restored the two-goal cushion less than two minutes later to round out scoring in the middle period.
Alex MacDonald and Gavin Hart on the power play and Elliott McGuire late in the final period rounded out scoring in the game for Truro.
Amherst outshot Truro 27-22 but Kevin Resop outplayed Oliver Troop in the Amherst net.
The game turned chippy in the second and third periods with several misconducts handed out along with a pair fights that had both LeBlanc and Truro coach Shawn Evans yelling at each other from their respective benches.
“I thought we carried the play pretty good in both games but just couldn’t get a goal when we needed it. Today, Resop made that toe save on (Will) Bower when it was 3-1. That would’ve made it 3-2 and it could’ve been a different hockey game,” LeBlanc said. “They came back down and scored to make it 4-1 and we never recovered.”
On Saturday, Logan O’Neil shorthanded and Adam Crowe on the power play gave the Lumberjacks an early 2-0 lead while Crowe’s second of the game midway through the second extended the lead to 3-0.
Will Lafford scored off a scramble with 18 ticks to go in the second but Christian Tsukamoto scored for South Shore in the third to solidify the win South Shore, which regained sole possession of second place.
As for the Ramblers, they are off until next Saturday when the host the St. Stephen Aces at the stadium at 7 p.m.
“We’ll rebound next weekend,” LeBlanc said. “We just have to get back to working hard and getting ready for St. Stephen. We still have 14 or so games left and these two losses this weekend put us a little further behind our goal of winning the division, but at the same time we’re still within striking distance. We just have to bounce back and get our momentum back because this wasn’t a good weekend.”