CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – It’s simple – win or go home.
That’s the Island Storm’s plain mission tonight against the Halifax Hurricanes. Halifax is up 2-1 in the teams’ best-of-five Atlantic Division semifinal. Game 4 goes at 7 p.m. at Eastlink Centre.
The Storm got to this point after winning Game 1 in Halifax by generating two clunky third quarters during the last two games, quarters that fuelled Halifax’s two straight victories.
Chris Anderson knows that’s been the difference. The power forward also knows something has to change if the Storm wants to win the series.
“(We) just have to come out with a different approach, just come out with more energy, just continue to play hard. And not hang our heads over missed shots. I think we lose energy,” said Anderson, who’s averaging 11 points and five rebounds per game in the series.
That power loss showed itself in Thursday’s Game 3 defeat in Charlottetown. A sluggish start to the third, missed shots, head-hanging and not getting back on defence allowed Halifax to broaden its three-point halftime lead to an 82-64 advantage by the end of the frame.
Most of the Storm’s 18 points in the third came from the free-throw line as it went 14-for-16 from the charity stripe. It’s been typical for a close, physical matchup as the teams have averaged 24 fouls (Halifax) and 18 fouls (Storm) per game, and seven lead changes per game.
For Halifax head coach Mike Leslie, it means nothing comes easy or cheap in this series so. He said preparation is key if his charges want to close things out tonight.
“We’ll practice here, we’ll look at some game film, makes some small adjustments, tweaks and things (like that), and strap it on for the next game,” said Leslie, who was an assistant coach with the Storm from 2012-16. “They’re hanging in there, playing us tough and making it a very, very competitive series.”
Storm guards Chris Johnson and Tyler Scott, who’ve been nursing hand and ankles injuries, respectively, will be re-evaluated after this morning’s shootaround as to whether they will play in Game 4. Both played in Game 3.
The rest of the Storm lineup is healthy.
Game 5, if necessary, is Wednesday in Halifax.
Need to know
A look at the Halifax Hurricanes-Island Storm playoff series after three games.
Series – Halifax leads 2-1.
Average Margin of Victory – 14 points.
Total Lead Changes – 21 (seven per game).
Total Number of Tied Scores – 11 (3.6 per game).
Total Fouls – 125 (41.6 per game).
Halifax: 25, Game 2.
Island Storm: 24, Game 1.
Total Fastbreak Points
Island Storm: 34.
Island Storm: 34.
Points In The Paint
Island Storm: 122.