Sports

Games intensify for Nanaimo Clippers

The Nanaimo Clippers needed overtime to win both their games last weekend and that’s probably going to be nothing out of the ordinary from here on in.

The Clips (24-23-1-1) have just nine games left in the B.C. Hockey League’s regular season, including one on Friday (Jan. 31) at Frank Crane Arena against the Victoria Grizzlies.

The Shipmen will be hoping to play with the sort of intensity they needed to bring to last week’s OT wins over the Alberni Valley Bulldogs and Powell River Kings. Those kind of efforts are beneficial at this time of year, said the Clippers.

“I think it really helps us,” said Brendan Taylor, who was Nanaimo’s overtime hero in both wins. “Playing in tight games shows us that we don’t crack under pressure and just stick with our game.”

“From now on all the games are going to be like that,” said Austin Dick, Clippers defenceman. “Going into playoffs it’s just going to help us that much more.”

As far as playing against the Grizzlies, the Clippers have had their share of struggles against the divisional foe this season but won the last meeting between the two clubs.

"I think we got a lot of confidence from beating them last time," said Dick. "I think that will carry over into this week's game."

Taylor scored the winning goal in that game, too. He said earning another win against Victoria will take a hard-working effort because the Grizz work hard themselves.

"Last time we stuck with our game and kind of shut down their top players so I think we need to do that again," he said. "We need to focus on our defensive game against them."

Clippers coach Mike Vandekamp has scanned the balance of the BCHL schedule and sees that there are only three of the nine games left are versus out-of-division opponents.

"The rest of the games are against our own division here, so there's going to be some really good battles and good games to prepare for the playoffs," he said.

GAME ON … The Clippers and Grizzlies play at 7 p.m. on Friday. It’s the only game of the weekend for Nanaimo. For ticket information, please click here.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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