SAINT-JEAN, NB | The motto on the side of the Hamilton Bulldogs was rather simple on Sunday morning: avoid taking unnecessary penalties in order to prevent the numerical advantage of the Shawinigan Cataractes from doing damage.
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In fact, that's kind of what happened in the first match between the two teams last Thursday. After a slow start, the Cataractes scored their three power play goals en route to a 3-2 win.
"We'll have to be more disciplined than we were in the last game," Bulldogs head coach Jay McKee said. They ate us all round with their power play. We will have to make some adjustments. »
This wave of power play, led by Mavrik Bourque and Xavier Bourgault, can be contained, and the Saint-Jean Sea Dogs did it last Saturday night. Can it be for two consecutive matches?
“We will have to make sure to protect the center of the ice because [Bourque and Bourgault] like to create things from this place. If we hold them outside, we will have a chance. We will always have to keep an eye on the two since they can easily identify themselves on the ice and if we do, we can neutralize them, ”said defender Gavin White.
The fact remains that the best way to counter a powerful numerical advantage is not to take penalties. A difficult mission to fulfill, most of the time, during an emotional semi-final of a tournament of the size of the Memorial Cup.
“It will be difficult, especially since we have an emotional group. Sometimes it's hard not to cross the line. We will have to do our best to control our emotions,” added left winger Ryan Humphrey.
Good news for the Bulldogs: OHL Defenseman of the Year Nathan Staios trained with the team on Sunday as a regular. The 20-year-old left last Friday's game against the Edmonton Oil Kings after being hit from behind by Simon Kubicek.
Everything therefore indicates that he will take part in the match on Monday evening.
"It's an important part of our team," added Humphrey. We have two one-night stands to go and just having him in the locker room helps us. It brought a lot of joy this morning to see him on the ice. »