St. John’s Toyota Plaza Caps coach Greg Ryerson says his team isn’t about to throw in the towel after going down 2-0 to Mask Security Celtics in the Kent St. John’s Junior Hockey League final.
“We’re just a little bit snake bitten right now,” said Ryerson, whose team has lost 2-1 and 5-2 to the Celtics in Games 1 and 2 of the best-of-seven series which continues with Game 3 8:15 tonight at O’Hehir Arena.
“We’ve only got three goals in two games and we just can’t find the back of the net right now. That’s about it,” said Ryerson in summing up the series so far.
Ryerson said his team is getting their share of scoring chances, “but (David) Parsons is making the saves he’s needed to make,” the Caps mentor said, referring to the Celtics’ netminder who has stopped 58 of 61 shots he’s faced over the first two games.
“We’ve been down this road before, although it’s been a few years since we lost two straight,” noted Ryerson. “We have a lot of gamers on this team and they’ve been involved in some pretty big games over the last couple of years. They know what it takes and I’m sure they’ll come out of the gate strong.
“We got off to a rough start, but we’re nowhere near being out of this series yet,” stated Ryerson. “I don’t think we played well in Game 1, but as for the last game… we got down early, but we got a bit of momentum going and outplayed them in the second half of the game.”
But, he added, “we ran into some penalty problems and that was the difference. “
"We have a lot of gamers on this team and they’ve been involved in some pretty big games over the last couple of years. They know what it takes and I’m sure they’ll come out of the gate strong." - Greg Ryerson, St. John’s Caps coach
He said the final score wasn’t indicative of how close the game was.
Ryerson said he didn’t want to make it sound like the previous playoff series were easy, but he admitted, “We probably got a little complacent coming off the quarter-finals and semifinals. We picked up some bad habits and that sort of thing creeps into your game.
“I can’t say we weren’t ready for the Celtics. We knew what was coming. I give the Celtics credit. They are playing hard and they want it bad,” said Ryerson.
“I’m not taking anything away from the Celtics,” he added. “Their goaltender is playing well and they are sticking to their game plan.
Losing the first two games, however, was “a wake-up call,” he said.
“This is where character kicks in and you really see what teams are made of now. When your back is against the wall, you pull out all stops.
There’s no panic on behalf of the Caps, according to Ryerson.
“We’re not ready to change anything yet. We still have a lot to throw out there and our confidence is still really high.”
Ryerson conceded tonight’s Game 3 is pivotal at this point in the series.
“It’s a key game. Obviously we don’t want to fall behind 3-0. This is the tell-tale game.”
Game 4 goes eight o’clock Thursday night at Twin Rinks.
The Caps beat the Celtics for the championship in five games last season.