By J.P. Hoornstra
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
ONTARIO, Calif. – David Walker said it’s been in the back of his mind all year, and there’s only one way to get it out.
The defenseman is determined not to let 2009 end the way 2008 did, when his Laredo Bucks trailed Arizona 3 games to 2 in the Central Hockey League semifinals, then won Game 6 before losing Game 7 on their home ice.
“I learned a lot from that loss,” Walker said. “It’s the exact same mentality. I know how this feels – a long bus ride home, you’re thinking about game six and seven at your own rink.
“I know what it’s going to take now. I know all the guys know what it’s going to take.”
The consensus is simple: The Reign need to play their best for a full 60 minutes. In each of their three losses in their first-round playoff series against the Stockton Thunder, who can end it with a win Tuesday or Wednesday, the Reign fell behind by too much too early in the game.
“We’ve made some mental mistakes that are costing us,” Walker said.
“When you play good teams, you make mental mistakes. They’re going to make you pay, and that’s what they’ve done.”