GAME DAY: VICTORIA VS. COQUITLAM
Game 2, 7: 45 p.m. at Coquitlam Sports Centre
Asked just what his team needs to do to earn back home-floor advantage after an opening loss to the Coquitlam Adanacs last weekend, Victoria Shamrocks head coach Bob Heyes didn't hesitate.
"Commitment," he said. "They have to be committed to play a playoff-style game and they weren't. Plain and simple.
"They need to realize how to step their play up in the playoffs," he added. "Coquitlam played a playoff game - an agitating game.
They kind of picked away at us. We lost that game in the first period. They got under our skin for a bit."
And the Shamrocks never truly recovered in the 11-9 loss to the Adanacs on Saturday, although they did make it 10-9 late in the third period before allowing an empty-netter to clinch it.
Dane Dobbie, in particular in the first period, hurt the host Shamrocks, who look to even the series tonight at 7: 45 in Coquitlam.
"He's an agitating guy who can get to you," said Heyes. "We got to him later and shut him down."
But by then it was too late as Victoria trailed 4-2 after the opening period and 9-5 after 40 minutes of play.
"In the playoffs, it's the little things that are going to win you a series, not the big things," said Heyes. "It's loose balls; taking care of the ball; playing a full 30 seconds on defence; getting the big save when you need it. All those little things add up to a win."
Which is what the Shamrocks require now, as they can ill afford to go down 2-0 heading into Game 3 on Friday back in Victoria.
"We have to realize that it's not the regular season," stressed Heyes. "You have to nip it in the bud, right now. A lot of these guys haven't been through these wars and that's part of the learning process, but the learning starts now."
The Shamrocks should benefit from an expected return of defender Ben McCullough and possibly captain Matt Lyons. Chris Levis will start in goal, with Matt Flindell slipping into the backup role.
"We didn't play the greatest last game and we need to take it back from them," said McCullough, who struggled in his role as a spectator on Saturday.
"I think we were a little bit off. I think we might have come in a little too relaxed and that didn't help with the start. We didn't work to the game plan as well as we could have.
"It was hard to watch," he said of Game 1. "I'm looking forward to being back in there for the next one."
Which has quickly become a must-win scenario.
"We have to take those bumps and bruises," said Heyes. "We've played one game. If we change our game and challenge them, we'll come out on top. But if we play the same game as the other night, we're going to see the same result."