Fans at the Mariners Centre barely had a chance to settle into their seats for overtime on Saturday night, March 16, as the Amherst Ramblers scored eight seconds into the 10-minute sudden death OT period for the 5-4 win over the Yarmouth Mariners and a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven game series.
The Mariners saw a 4-1 lead they had built up through the first half of the second period evaporate as the Ramblers answered with three goals of their own to tie the frame 4-4 heading into the third.
A scoreless third period opened the door to overtime, which the Ramblers shut on the Mariners when the puck was badly handled at the Mariners net when Travis Wilkins left his crease to play the puck, bringing a quick end to the sudden death extra period. The game winner was scored by Brett Shute.
Amherst had opened the scoring early in the first period on a goal by Ben Berisha at 1:28. Zack Henry evened the score at 12:58.
In the first seven minutes of the second period goals by Brandon Bussey, Morgan Messenger and Matt Tomah had put the Mariners ahead 4-1. Goals by Ramblers Brock Morrison and Jacob Conrad less than two minutes apart closed the gap to 4-3 and Morrison knotted the game 4-4 with another goal in the second.
There were only two penalties handed out in the game, and those game in the third period when Amherst got calls for too many men and slashing. The Mariners failed to capitalize on either of the power plays.
Amherst goalie Richard Tingley stopped 32 of 36 shots in the win, while Mariners goalie Travis Wilkins stopped 17 of 22 shots in the loss.
Game 2 of the series goes Tuesday night in Amherst. The next home game in the series is Thursday at the Mariners Centre.
Elsewhere in the MHL, the Pictou Weeks Crushers took a 1-0 lead in their series with a 3-1 win over the Truro Bearcats.
The Woodstock Slammers shut out the Dieppe Commandos 6-0.
Summerside and Miramichi open their series on Sunday.