MISSISSAUGA, Ont. -- Marc Cantin's words on Saturday afternoon couldn't have been more succinct.
"Three in a row, it's the most games we have lost consecutively all year," the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors defenceman said. "Unfortunately, they have been the most important games all year."
The Majors actually had another three-game skid in 2010-11, in the middle of February. But lose a season-high fourth in a row, on Sunday night in their Memorial Cup game against the Western Hockey League champion Kootenay Ice, and their Cup dreams likely vanish.
Head coach and general manager Dave Cameron, whose National Hockey League coaching future may or not hinge on what happens at the Hershey Centre, hasn't had a problem with his team's recent effort. It's the things he can't control that make the 52-year-old a little more tense.
The Majors on Friday night lost the Cup opener against the Saint John Sea Dogs after losing Games 6 and 7 of the Ontario Hockey League final against the Owen Sound Attack. All were by one goal.
"The analogy we used today was that, you know, we're hitting 450-foot foul balls," Cameron said after his team's short practice. "There's a lot of good things in there. You've just got to get into the fair territory, you've got to get it over. Right now we are snakebitten a bit, so we have to look at controlling the things we can."
One of those is discipline. The Majors were shorthanded eight times against the Sea Dogs, who scored three power-play goals.
"I thought we had the perfect storm between the referee, our lack of discipline and poor penalty kill," Cameron said. "That's a disaster."
Majors forward Justin Shugg, who along with Cantin is trying to join Robert Savard as the only players to win three consecutive Memorial Cups, backed away from the ledge on Saturday. In the moments after Friday's loss, Shugg was critical of referees Matt Kirk and Scott Ferguson. He indicated on Saturday he had not been fined, but otherwise didn't go into another diatribe.
Cameron wouldn't put up with it anyway. The emotions that arise after a game, fine. With a night to let the bad feelings dissipate, forget it.
"I can't stand it -- and you won't be on my team -- if you feel sorry for yourself," Cameron said. "We're very lucky to do what we do, in the big scheme of things. We're chasing our dreams. There should be no bad days -- yes, you're disappointed when you lose, but get over it."