Clippers score last-minute win over Grizzlies

Nanaimo Clippers defenceman Nick Gushue, left, protects the puck from Victoria Grizzlies opponent Rory McGuire deep in the attacking zone during Wednesday
Nanaimo Clippers defenceman Nick Gushue, left, protects the puck from Victoria Grizzlies opponent Rory McGuire deep in the attacking zone during Wednesday's game at Frank Crane Arena.
— image credit: GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

The Nanaimo Clippers got the grizzly bear off their back.

The Clips finally defeated the Victoria Grizzlies on Wednesday night at Frank Crane Arena, edging the visitors 4-3 with a last-minute goal. It was the first win in eight tries against the Grizz this season.

"It wasn't a different approach, we just executed a little bit better," said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach.

Still, there was definitely some luck involved as the winning goal was deflected perfectly into the top corner of the net – on an own-goal from the Grizzlies' Jesse Schwartz with 49 seconds left. The puck just got away from Brendan Taylor on a two-on-one rush, but he tracked it down in the corner and made a play.

"I tried to throw it on the net, hoped to hit something," Taylor said. "I'll take it, whatever I can get."

"I would hope," Vandekamp told the Bulletin, "that you're going to write it up as a coast-to-coast Bobby Orr style of rush."

Victoria held a 3-1 lead in the game after scoring early in the second period, but Devin Brosseau scored on a five-on-three power play with five minutes left in the frame to help make the third-period comeback possible.

"We never gave up," Taylor said. "We came back and scored a big goal on the power play which we needed and then just put the foot on the pedal … It was a greasy win."

The coach said his team played with positive energy and confidence and worked hard.

"I really liked the attitude of the team," he said.

Jacob Hanlon and Bo Brauer had Nanaimo's other goals and Jayson Argue was the winning goalie as his team outshot the visitors 28-27.

The timing of the victory suits the Clippers, who had been winless in four and are in the midst of a busy schedule of games.

"This one was imperative for us…" Vandekamp said. "We got into a bit of a slide and with the type of month we have and the opponents we're playing, it was really important for us to get a win."

GAME ON … The Clippers host the Powell River Kings on Friday (Jan. 17) at 7 p.m. and the Prince George Spruce Kings on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena. Adult tickets for the two games are buy one, get one half price and children's tickets are free for all regular season games.

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