The season is on the line for the Mister Transmission Orillia Jr. B Kings tonight.
The local lacrosse team lost back-to-back games in Nepean on the weekend and now face a do-or-die contest against the league's top team in a 7 p.m. clash at Orillia's Rotary Place.
On the road against a very strong team, Orillia showed some spunk and were competitive in both weekend contests, but could not quite keep up with the deep and talented Knights.
In two hard-fought battles, the Kings managed to stay close to the Ontario Lacrosse Association's No. 1 team, but just could not seem to put the ball in the net when opportunities presented themselves.
On Saturday, the Kings lost 12-8 and, a day later, they were defeated 13-4 by the Ottawa squad.
Mark Watters sparked the Kings' attack in the first game, netting a hat trick. Noah Quarrington added a pair, while Riley Thayer, Jesse Ashkewe and Liam McCrimmon tallied single goals in the narrow defeat.
In the second game, the Knights were dominant. Only Orillia's Gabe Neely, Sam Neely, Quarrington and Ashkewe were able to break through with goals.
During both games, there were moments when the Kings had the opportunity to compete for the lead, however Nepean seemed to find a way to shut the Kings down and maintain their momentum.
In practice this week, the Kings have been making adjustments in preparation for tonight's crucial third game and all the players recognize that it is going to take an entire team effort to lock down a win and extend the best-of-five series, said coach Jim Meredith.
"We went to Nepean with a game plan of trying to slow the game down a bit," said Meredith. "We didn’t want to get into a track meet with them. For the most part of Saturday’s game we were able to do that."
He said on Sunday, "for a couple of periods ... to a degree, we were able to do this."
But the team's penalty killing and power-play units were an achilles heel.
"Our specialty teams on Sunday were a minus 6. At worst you want to be even or at least a +1," explained the longtime lacrosse coach. "If we had been able to do that we would have been in a 6-4 game."
Despite the losses, Meredith said there were some positives.
"Our goaltending was outstanding and our defence was much more aggressive than it has been, contesting most shots and making it easier for our goaltender," said Meredith.
Game time tonight is 7 p.m.