KAMLOOPS — The Blazers are facing death by Rockets for the second straight year with the puck dropping on Game 5 of their first-round series Friday night in Kelowna.
It's been a series of inconsistency for Kamloops, which had a no-show in Game 1, a better effort in Game 2, then a great performance in the first game at Sandman Centre, only to be outshot 49-24 in Game 4 to go down 3-1 in the Western Conference quarterfinal.
Now Kamloops has an uphill climb against a Rockets team that's won 17 of the last 22 meetings, including this series.
"They've come out every game and pushed us pretty hard," says Blazers forward Garrett Pilon. "For us, I think the consistency hasn't been there too much. You know, we have a good game at home, and if we can bring that type of play every game, I think we'll have a good chance of getting back in the series."
Consistency, or a lack thereof, has been painfully obvious for the fans all year --- and particularly in the playoffs.
The players know if they have a chance, they have to play more like Game 3 than Game 4.
"Just consistency," says captain Collin Shirley, echoing Pilon's thoughts. "We got off to a slow start there in Game 1, then Game 2 and 3, I thought we had good games. I thought we compete hard and had chances to win. We had a chance to win Wednesday night. Connor Ingram kept us in it the whole game. We didn't play a full 60 minutes by any means. I think, right now, it's all about consistency."
Head coach Don Hay hasn't been impressed by his team's inability to check and take pucks away from the Rockets.
Another sore spot has been the power play, which has struggled, going 1-for-20 all series --- including 0-for-7 in the 1-0 loss in Game 4.
"We have to get better on the power play," says Hay. "Our power play scores one goal [in Game 4] and it's a tie game. I think that's the situation we're in right now, and making sure we're better in the offensive zone."
The Blazers said before they departed for Kelowna that --- no matter the outcome of Game 5 --- they want to empty the tank and have nothing left, and it all begins with a quick, aggressive start.
"We have to be more physical," says Pilon. "I think we have to really take the play to them. I think we were sitting back, letting them come at us. I think we just really need to go out there and start things off ourselves."
Hay adds that "you just have to go and win one game. I think that's the biggest thing. We can't dwell on Game 4. We have to move ahead and be excited about the opportunity."
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