AMHERST – The Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers finally found a way to beat the Yarmouth Mariners.
The Ramblers got a pair of third period goals and then held off a late push to defeat the Mariners 4-3 in Maritime Junior Hockey League action on Sunday.
The win moves the Ramblers into a second-place tie with the South Shore Lumberjacks and puts them one point behind first-place Yarmouth in the Eastlink South Division standings.
“We’ve played them hard all year. We looked back at all the goals they scored on us this year and only one was five-on-five. The rest were either three-on-three or on special teams. We knew staying out of the box was important,” coach Jeff LeBlanc said. “We played hard for 60 minutes and you could tell the guys want this one.”
Matt Sartoris and Liam Conrad scored goals in the first 15:11 for the Ramblers to build an early 2-0 lead before Luc Porier scored shorthanded to pull the Mariners to within a goal with just 1:34 to play in the opening period.
Poirer’s power play goal midway through the second was the only goal as the Mariners tied it up.
“We have to be better on special teams,” LeBlanc said. “We’re giving up too many power play goals and shorthanded goals. We have to be better at that, but we played well enough to win tonight.”
The Ramblers came hard out of the gate in the third period with Brady Griffin-Hefford scoring from the slot just 5:18 in while Jordan Renaud scored what proved to be the winner 7:37 into the period on another scramble in front of Mariners’ goalie Leif Hertz.
“He really was a key acquisition for us. He was a player who came available and after watching him play I thought once he got some confidence he’d be a factor,” LeBlanc said of Renaud. “We were really missing that second line centre. To get him really solidifies our lineup and gives us the secondary scoring we needed.”
Renaud credited his linemates for putting him in a position to score the game-winner.
“I thought we all worked hard all game. We came out really hard in the third period and got the win, that’s what’s important,” the Russell, Ont. native said. “It felt nice to score the goal, but I owe it to my linemates. We’ve been clicking.”
Logan Timmonds scored on a breakaway at the 11:41 mark just after the Ramblers killed off a Mariners’ power play when Matt Sartoris went to the box for hooking.
The Mariners couldn’t really get any sustained pressure in the final moments as the Ramblers did a good job keeping the puck deep in Yarmouth territory until the final seconds of the contest.
Forward Will Bower is pleased with the direction of the team. He has 12 points in 10 games since joining the club from the Charlottetown Islanders of the QMJHL and has worked well with Jordan King.
“It’s been going very well since I got here,” Bower said. “It’s nice to win games like this against divisional rivals.”
Bower said the adjustment was a little difficult at first. He said the league is not as fast as the Q, but it’s a more physical game with more older players.
“It has allowed me to get back to playing the offensive game,” said Bower.
Amherst hosts the South Shore Lumberjacks on Saturday at the stadium before hosting the Truro Bearcats on Sunday at 2 p.m.