Storm, Rainmen resume playoff series tonight in Halifax

Charles Reid
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Island team least NBL Of Canada semifinal 3-2

Island Storm logo

Joe Salerno would’ve liked to play Game 6 had a spring blizzard not delayed the playoff contest if only to keep the Halifax Rainmen on the ropes.

But Salerno, the Island Storm head coach, knows there’s a good side to the 72-hour delay, mostly to help his club littered with nagging injuries to forward Antonio Ballard (wrist) and guard Shawn Vanzant (back).

Point guard Al Stewart is out with a sprained ankle.

“I think both teams can use the rest. Both teams are banged up a little bit. Other than (Stewart) we’re pretty good. If you’re 100 per cent you haven’t been playing hard enough,” Salerno said. “We played so well in Game 5 I’d hoped to build off that momentum. I think it benefitted them more than us, but we’ll see who it affected more (today).”

Today’s Game 6 of the best-of-seven Atlantic Division final is 7 p.m. in Halifax. The Storm leads the National Basketball League of Canada series 3-2.

Game 7, if needed, is Sunday, at 4 p.m., at the Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown.    

The Storm rolled to a 39-point win on Monday at the Link to take the series lead, although it wasn't a true marker of the matchup.

Most games have been close, two have been decided by four points or less, and each team split on home court over the first four games.

Game 6 had been set for Wednesday, but the teams opted by move it back a day because of the blizzard warning. The storm lasted through Thursday which closed the Confederation Bridge to the mainland so the teams decided today would be a better option.  

But Adrian Moss, who went for his first playoff triple-double in Game 5, knows letting down isn’t an option, despite his wish coming true. He’d hoped the blizzard might have given his squad an extra day of rest. He got three.

“Got to keep the foot on the pedal. Got to realize what’s at stake,” said Moss in a recent interview. “Win and we go to the finals. It’s a closeout game.”

And that means Halifax will be a tough out in front of a tough crowd, said Salerno.

“Yeah, Halifax is always hostile. Whether there’s 1,500 people or 4,000 people, it’s still a tough place to play. They give you a hard time as individuals,” he said. “Their (Rainmen) backs are against the wall and they’ll come out with they’re hair on fire, I anticipate. For us this game is mental. We have to take care of our business.”

Game 6 of the Windsor Express-London Lightning Central Division series is also today. Windsor leads the series 3-2 over the defending league champs. Game time is 8 p.m. AT.

Game 7, if necessary, is Tuesday, April 1, in Windsor, Ont.

Organizations: National Basketball League of Canada, Eastlink Centre, Windsor Express-London Lightning Central

Geographic location: Halifax, Canada, Charlottetown Windsor

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