It can get in your head.
That’s Posse coach Mark McNaughton talking about the challenge of hitting a mid-season skid.
The Posse lost Saturday in Kamloops by the narrowest of margins – allowing a goal with just one second left in double overtime.
“The fans all kind of felt like maybe the horn had blown first but when you look at it on the video his arm is pointing and then the horn. We’ll give the referee the call on that one,” said McNaughton.
“I’ve been involved in a few buzzer beaters but not in double overtime…It doesn’t get any closer than that.”
Princeton picked up a point from the first three periods but is still reflecting on six straight battles without a win.
The Posse, which earlier in the season sat at the top of the league’s Okanagan Division, slipped to third over the weekend.
With 18 the Posse is one point behind Osoyoos, but has three games in hand, allowing room for the Coyotes to increase the spread.
“I’m not worried yet,” said McNaughton. “We’re a game above 500 and we’re settling in to make a playoff appearance.”
He noted the Posse has seven wins to its credit, compared to just four at the same time last season.
It’s just part of a normal year, he said.
“I think historically the teams that get off to a really high flying start, they always at some point hit a bit of a wall. They hit one of those valleys and they have to find their way out.”
McNaughton attributed the Posses’ bad luck streak to a number of factors including an extra-demanding schedule – “there was a lot of hockey in three weeks” – and the fickle nature of fortune.
“Bounces were going our way and maybe now they are going the other way.”
Despite the dip in the standings morale is fairly consistent, said McNaughton.
“It’s okay. Obviously nobody likes to lose and they feel the pressure a bit. My biggest job is to make sure that every day they are coming out and they are being competitive with one another to get better.”
Riding out a losing streak can be a factor each time you hit the ice, he said.
“For sure it is. I think we saw a bit of that on Saturday night. Everybody was squeezing their sticks extra tight.”
The way back is to “just stay the course. These guys are all excellent hockey players and they know exactly what it takes to win. Our main goal as a coaching staff becomes mitigating those peaks and valleys.”
The Posse plays this weekend in Sicamous.