After his Truro Bearcats came out on the wrong end of a 9-1 thumping at the hands of the Pictou County Weeks Crushers in Game 1, Evans ponied up and took the heat for the loss.
In his 13 years as head coach of the team, he’s never seen anything like it.
“It’s on me,” Evans said. “I have got to do a better job… It’s my job to prepare the players and make sure they are ready for anything, and I didn’t do a good enough job of that.”
The team floundered from the get-go, giving up the first goal just 1:05 into the first period. It snowballed from there. 2-0. 3-0. Second period. 4-0, 5-0, 6-0.
By the second intermission, the Bearcats had given up six goals on 25 shots and stayed off the board, despite managing 24 shots of their own.
“It’s just a snowball effect,” Evans said. “We created some opportunities and got some chances, but then the rebound would bounce out, go back the other way and the red light would come on.”
During the second intermission, Evans thought long and hard about what to do with goaltender Jacob Fancy. In the end, he opted to keep him in. Fancy would be on the hook for three more goals in the third. 9-1 final.
“That one is on me too. It’s my job to protect the players,” Evans said. “I was hoping for a better outcome, a more positive outcome in the third and we didn’t get it.”
Tonight, the Bearcats will return to home ice for Game 2.
Co-captain Jake Primeau said the loss hurts, but he’s been through it before.
“I think it was a wakeup call for some guys, a welcome to the playoffs kind of thing,” Primeau said. “We’ll be all right, we’ll be ready to go.”
Evans said the team would look to correct its flailing start from Thursday.
“There’s some scar tissue there for sure and we have to cut it out,” the coach said. “You can pull out all the clichés, but we’re not the first team to lose a playoff game on the road. We’ll have to be ready and get a good jump right off the first shift.”
Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. at the RECC, before the series shifts back to New Glasgow for Game 3 on Tuesday.