Before the series started, the thought of the Guelph Storm being swept by the London Knights seemed unthinkable. Now it's a distinct possibility.
For the third straight game the Storm was badly outplayed by the Knights Monday at the Sleeman Centre, with London taking a 3-0 stranglehold in the series with a 7-4 win in front of a crowd of 4,002 at the Sleeman Centre.
Elimination looms Wednesday when Game 4 goes in Guelph.
"It's tough. Obviously it's frustrating," said Storm forward Nate Schnarr.
"I believe that we have a championship-calibre team in this room and we have to go out there and prove it. Everyone in that room has another level that we can take it to," Schnarr said.
"I think we've just got to take a look in the mirror and ask ourselves if we're good enough," Schnarr said. "We want to be better. We have what it takes in this room to be better."
You can't ride out a slump in the playoffs and the Storm is certainly in a collective funk.
They have been outscored 17-6 so far in the series and have not held a lead at any point.
From the net out, no one is playing up to their capabilities.
The top line of Isaac Ratcliffe, Nick Suzuki and MacKenzie Entwistle, which was so dominant in the opening round against Kitchener, has a combined two goals and five points in three games against the Knights.
Three of the Storm's goals on Monday were scored by defencemen. Two by Dmitri Samorukov and one by Markus Phillips. Suzuki had the other goal.
One of the keys for London Monday was responding following a Guelph goal. Twice the Knights scored on the shift following a Storm tally.
They also scored twice on the power play, including a goal with just four seconds remaining in the first period that made the score 3-1.
It was a 6-4 game after two periods.
"I can't say I'm completely disappointed with the effort tonight, but every time we did something well we gave it back," said Storm coach George Burnett.
"They're going to make you pay when you make the kind of mistakes that we made."
Guelph outshot the Knights 33-22, with Anthony Popovich going the distance in the Storm net.
Burnett said he hadn't made a decision on who would start in net on Wednesday, Popovich for the fourth straight game or Nico Daws.
"I don't think I can put this on Popovich. He's battled, but there were a lot of breakdowns ... but everybody's got to be better, there's no question about it," Burnett said.