Five good periods out of six isn’t bad.
The problem is the sixth turned out to cost the Attack in a 7-3 loss to the host Plymouth Whalers on Saturday in Ontario Hockey League action.
“I like the way we competed and I thought we had a lot of guys come and work hard,” Ireland said after Saturday’s loss.
“I thought in the third period we fell back a little bit and we need everyone going. We just have stay the course and keep doing what we’re doing.”
The game was tied 2-2 after 20 minutes and Owen Sound took a 3-2 lead early in the second before the Whalers went on to score five consecutive goals.
“I liked our first 40 minutes and I thought it was a heck of a game early,” said Ireland.
“We had some bad bounces that kind of went against us that kept us from carrying a lead into the dressing room after 40 minutes. I think in the third they upped their pace and we fell back.”
The Attack could have taken an early stranglehold in the game.
“We had a chance to go up 3-0 on a 4-on-three,” said Ireland.
“We had their goalie scrambling and we wouldn’t shoot the puck. It just seemed to be the kind of night that what ever they threw at the net hit a stick or hit a defencemen in the chest and went in the net.”
Ireland wasn’t too hard on his club after the game.
“I don’t think a lot of what I said (Saturday night) is really going to (change anything today),” said Ireland. “They’re disappointed and (today) my message will be that we have to show up and compete.”
And that message will be put to the test on Wednesday when Owen Sound hosts Guelph.
The Attack will be looking to avenge back-to-back losses to Guelph in late January.
“I think the biggest thing is we have to show up and compete,” said Ireland. “We need to bring that effort and attitude and just make sure we stay with our game plan and our system. And stay out of the box.”
Zach Nastasiuk, Kyle Hope and Cameron Brace scored for the Attack 33-16-1-3, second in the Midwest Division).
Tom Wilson scored twice while Cody Payne, Michael Whaley, Garrett Meurs, Vincent Trocheck, and Gianluca Curcuruto added singles for the Whalers (27-16-5-4, first in the West).
“I thought it was a good effort for a fast-paced, play-off type game,” said Ireland.
“We took a step in the right direction and we just have to stay the course and keep working.”
Owen Sound goalie Jordan Binnington made 33 saves while Plymouth’s Matt Mahalak stopped 28 shots.
The Attack hosts the Kingston Frontenacs on Saturday.
Game time at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre is 7:30 p.m.