Attack coach expects hostility against Majors

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:27 PM ET

The Owen Sound Attack and Mississauga St. Mike's Majors have no more secrets.

The two teams are set to play their eighth game against one another over the past three weeks on Wednesday night.

A seven-game OHL final, won by the Attack on the Majors' home ice, created the kind of heated rivalry that can't help but carry over into this Memorial Cup.

It has been nearly a week and a half since the Attack celebrated that OHL title at the Hershey Centre and no one involved believes the time away has taken the edge off for either side.

"I know they definitely have a chip on their shoulder," Attack captain Garrett Wilson said. "You never want an away team coming in and winning a trophy in your barn. It's a bitter taste and they're going to be wanting revenge."

Wilson's head coach Mark Reeds doesn't like the sound of the word revenge but he doesn't expect any drop off in the physical nature of the game.

"I think there will always be some hostility, but I don't think it's so much hostility," Reeds said. "I think any time you play a team seven times there's going to be some bad blood there but again, as far as personal discipline and team discipline goes we need to have that. You don't want the after-whistle stuff and I thought we did a pretty good job of managing that on Monday (against Saint John) and we'll have to do that again."

Attack defenceman and Maple Leafs 2009 draft pick Jesse Blacker didn't hold back after Monday's 3-2 overtime loss to Saint John, suggesting some of his veteran teammates (none that he named) weren't putting forth a full effort.

Blacker didn't take back those words, although he did admit they were said in the "heat of the moment." The intended sentiment -- that all 20 have to be fully committed to the task -- remained a day later and applied just as much to Wednesday's game.

"It's not something you really want to bring up, but hopefully my words of encouragement got to the room," he said. "You need all 20 guys to win and that's my goal right now, get all 20 on board and playing the way they can. If we can do that I think we have a very good chance of winning this thing."

Reeds feels the same way, although he suggested he'd rather be the one sending that message in future.

"Personally, I don't like it," Reeds said of teammates calling each other out, "but it was said and I'll let it go. It will be addressed because there have been games he might not have played very well and I don't think anyone was calling him out."

As for injured centre Joey Hishon's likelihood of returning for the game, Reeds wasn't prepared to commit to anything.

"He is day to day," Reeds said. "The baseline test was good, but it's about the athlete and his personal health and we're not going to put him in a position to go backwards."

Hishon sat out Monday's game after being on the receiving end of vicious elbow courtesy of Kootenay Ice defenceman Brayden McNabb.

mike.ganter@sunmedia.ca


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