This is not the way Patrick O'Sullivan envisioned his OHL career to end. A first-round loss to the St. Michael's Majors? No thanks.
"We have worked too hard all year to just lay over and die," said the Mississauga IceDogs captain, who has carried an ice-cold stick through the first four games of the best-of-seven quarter-final.
"I know I need to score if this team is going to win. Guys have an opportunity to step up, and there are a bunch of people on that list. This is my last year in junior hockey and I don't want to lose in the first round."
O'Sullivan, a Minnesota Wild pick who likely is bound for the minors next season, has four assists in the series.
The Majors, the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference entering the playoffs, lead the series 3-1 and can wrap up an upset with a win in Game 5 tomorrow afternoon at the Hershey Centre. Where the Majors have played with heart, the IceDogs have not been interested at times and it's a point Mississauga coach Greg Gilbert has made a few times in the past week. With the end of their season staring them in the face, the IceDogs yesterday emerged from an off-ice workout session with the singular mindset they can make a recovery.
Another guy who has to find a way to be productive is overage forward John Hecimovic. He was benched for large chunks of Game 4 on Thursday and was not thrilled about it, but he was not feeling sorry for himself.
"I didn't like it but if I'm not playing well I shouldn't be playing," Hecimovic said. "I have to make a difference (tomorrow). It has been pretty one-sided with the work ethic and our leaders have to step up."
David Shantz has been told he will start in goal ahead of Michael Ouzas, who has started every game in the series.
"It's nothing against Michael," Gilbert said. "He has been outstanding. Sometimes you have to change things up."
The Guelph Storm is embroiled in a hostile takeover by the group that operates the Guelph Sports and Entertainment Centre.
Guelph Centre Partners, a company established by Nustadia, served notice to current owners of the OHL team Thursday that it intends to proceed with the purchase of the franchise.
Nustadia's parent company is the Cochrane Group, which has its head office in Calgary. Nustadia, formed in 1994, is also involved with the Sarnia Sports and Entertainment Centre, home of the OHL's Sarnia Sting.