The Amherst Ramblers are moving on and the Pictou County Weeks Crushers are out.
The Ramblers posted a 6-5 overtime victory over the Crushers on Tuesday in the deciding game of their best-of-seven MHL division playoff series.
The loss was a shocker for the Crushers, who finished first in the South Division with the league’s top overall record. They scored the most goals, allowed the fewest goals and had the top power-play efficiency and lowest percentage of power-play goals allowed, but could not ward off the pesky Ramblers.
The win means the Ramblers will meet the Truro Bearcats for the division championship once their schedule is confirmed.
A near-capacity crowd of 1,650 jammed the Pictou County Wellness Centre for the showdown between the Crushers and Ramblers.
The Crushers had not played there in more than a week after tying the series at two games each in Amherst last Wednesday, falling behind three games to two with a 5-3 loss in a home game that had to be played in Antigonish and forcing the seventh game on Saturday with a 3-2 overtime triumph in Amherst.
In Monday’s game, the Crushers got an opening goal from Alexis Roy in the first period and enjoyed two-goal leads three times before the Ramblers scored three straight goals, including two in the third period, to take a 5-4 lead.
Jacob Hickey tied the game for the Crushers with eight minutes left in the period.
Bradley Kennedy scored twice and Dylan Riley scored once in the second period for the Crushers.
The Crushers outshot the Ramblers 36-27 and had a 5-2 edge in the overtime when they failed to capitalize on a power play.
The Ramblers’ winning goal came with less than three minutes left in the overtime period.
Thorburn native Matt Sartoris was a huge presence on the Ramblers’ blue line. Sartoris joined the Ramblers after stints with the MHL’s South Shore Lumberjacks and the Sherbrooke Phoenix of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Ramblers defenceman Matt Sartoris, left, checks Crushers forward Michael Dill in front of the Amherst goal. (Goodwin photo)