Amherst eliminate Pictou County, advance to Eastlink South Division Final

(Photo: Jennifer Weeks)

The Amherst Ramblers are off to the Eastlink South Division Final in the Metalfab MHL Cup Playoffs for the first time since the 2016-17 season after a thrilling six-game series victory over the Pictou County Weeks Crushers.

It was a series where home-ice advantage was the advantage as the home team won each of the first five games. The Ramblers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 1 at Amherst Stadium with goals from Anthony Gaudet and Jonah Jelley in the first 6:14 of the 1st period. Riley Seymour got one goal back for the Crushers before the period finished, but goals from Gaudet and Jaden Reyers in the 2nd period helped pace Amherst to a 5-2 win. The Ramblers again opened the scoring in Game 2 as Goran Stobo picked up a goal at 6:17. The teams traded goals in the 2nd period before Pictou County put three on the board in the 3rd period en route to a 4-2 win and a tied series.

Back in Amherst for Game 3, the home side scored two in the 1st period, three in the 2nd, and two more in the 3rd to cap a 7-1 win where they out-shot Pictou County 47-23. In New Glasgow for Game 4, the Ramblers jumped out to a 3-0 lead by the 8:31 mark of the 2nd period before the Crushers’ offense came to life. Pictou County cut the Ramblers’ lead to 3-2 heading to the 3rd period and added three goals in the final frame to cap a 5-3 win and tie the series 2-2.

Phil-Antoine Trepanier, who had replaced Gio DiMattia in Games 3 and 4 for Pictou County, assumed the start role for the rest of the series heading to Game 5 in Amherst. The Ramblers opened the scoring again, this time with a goal from Jelley at 7:27 of the 2nd period. Amherst would build a 2-0 lead with a goal from Alex Christmas at 4:42 of the 3rd period. Nick Mahar cut the lead to 2-1 at 14:36 of the final period, but Lyam Leblanc shut the door from there en route to a 2-1 win and a 3-2 series lead for Amherst.

In Game 6 in New Glasgow, the teams combined for six goals in the 1st period. Mac Wallace scored his second goal of the game at 11:04 of the 2nd period to give the Crushers a 4-3 lead, but Reyers found the back of the net at 15:19 of the 3rd period to force overtime. From there, it was Stobo who scored the overtime and series-clinching goal at 8:14 to send the Ramblers to the next round. Leblanc made 40 saves for the win.

The Ramblers will face the Summerside Western Capitals in the Eastlink South Division Final.