“Hopefully it’s not until Sunday and we’re having a nice bus trip back,” quipped Port aux Basques Mariners coach Mark Lawrence.
The Mariners are lucky to still be alive, after facing — and avoiding — elimination in Game 5 last Sunday at the Bruce II Sports Centre. The Bishop’s Falls Express still lead the best-of-seven championship series 3-2.
Considering they were missing arguably their top two players in captain Nick Tucker and Grant Vincent, maybe more than lucky. Lawrence, who expects Tucker to be back this weekend, is still unsure about Vincent’s availability. Tucker suffered a lower-body injury halfway through Game 3, while Vincent is fighting a nasty viral infection that sent him to the showers after just one shift that same game.
The coach hasn’t been satisfied with the play of the Mariners so far in the final, but feels the team may have turned a corner after capturing Game 5 with their backs against the proverbial wall.
“If we don’t play hockey this weekend, we’re going home empty-handed and that alone should be enough motivation to get the best out of them.
“That go-ahead goal Sunday (in Game 5) changed us as a team,” Lawrence said. “I’m thinking that will carry over.”
The Express plays host to the Mariners for Game 6 at 8 p.m. tonight and, if necessary, Game 7 at 1 p.m. Sunday.