Atoms in, hanging tough

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The Tillsonburg Horizon Seeds Atoms are both in and hanging tough in their OMHA BB final series with Midland.

“They’re an excellent team, no real weaknesses,” said Tillsonburg coach Trevor Lamb following a 6-1 loss Sunday afternoon at the Kinsmen/Memorial Arena. “We’d like to get a few more shots, but we’ll have to work a little harder to do that because they play all three zones on the ice.”

Midland has earned a healthy respect two games into the series, along with a 4-0 lead in the six-point set, based also on a 10-1 victory in Saturday’s opener, in Tillsonburg.

“Number nine’s good, seven, number four can dangle,” Lamb continued. “But they’re a well-rounded team, they don’t just rely on those guys to do it.

“They’re not just looking to skate by everyone, they pass the puck well too.”

As respectful as Lamb is of undeniably quality opposition however, he likes his own team too. Having experienced the highs of victory with many of the players, Lamb is equally impressed with how all performing under duress.

“I’ve always known they have huge hearts and lots of determination. Doesn’t matter if they’re winning or losing, they play their hardest. It just goes to show you they play for each other and play for the team. No matter what, they play right to the final buzzer, they just don’t roll over.

“It’s a coach’s dream when you’ve got a group of kids like that to coach.”

Saturday, Tillsonburg’s Brandon Balazs opened scoring with 1:22 remaining in the first period, backhanding the puck five-hole off a strong rush down the left wing. Midland’s Brett Bressette responded essentially off the ensuing faceoff, squaring accounts at one.

Midland opened up a 3-1 lead on two second-period goals before wrapping up the victory with three unanswered in the third.

The series is scheduled to continue in Midland, Saturday with a 3 p.m. puck drop. Game four, if necessary, will go the following day at 1:50 p.m. A comparatively young Tillsonburg squad (the Horizon Seeds atoms have six second-year players on its roster and eight ‘rookies’) will admittedly be in tough, but is far from giving up.

“They only won two games, they have to win three,” said forward Travis Lamb, adding the gameplan will be to ‘win.’ “We’ve got to work harder.”

“Play our game, relax and never give up,” Balazs added.

“They’ll impress us again, big-time,” predicted coach Lamb, who at this point, is looking to win one game at a time, three times, rather than worrying about where the series lies.

“It’s not going to be easy, but we’ve got to focus on that first one.”

 

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