Clippers fighting for playoff life

Nanaimo Clippers defenceman Nick Gushue moves the puck during Saturday
Nanaimo Clippers defenceman Nick Gushue moves the puck during Saturday's playoff game against the Powell River Kings at Frank Crane Arena. The visitors won 3-2.
— image credit: GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

The Nanaimo Clippers will need to be at their best now that they’re on the brink.

The Clips lost 3-2 to the Powell River Kings on Saturday night at Frank Crane Arena to fall behind three games to one in their best-of-seven B.C. Hockey League playoff series.

“It’s a game of inches and unfortunately we lost that battle…” said Devin Brosseau, Clippers alternate captain. “The team that’s going to execute the best is going to win. We worked hard and everything, but we didn’t get the result we wanted.”

The contest was another good hockey game, close-checking but with quality chances at both ends of the ice. The Kings got on the board first, as Lucas Grayson and Ryan Scarfo scored goals a minute apart midway through the opening period, but Sheldon Rempal closed the gap, scoring a power-play goal four minutes before intermission.

Brosseau tied things up midway through the second period, completing a pretty passing rush with his linemates.

The Kings’ J.J. Coleshaw scored the winning goal midway through the third period on a play that was set up by a strange bounce off the boards.

The Clippers eventually succeeded in pulling the goalie for an extra attacker late and created a scramble, but couldn’t score a tying goal.

Shots ended up 33-31 for Powell River, with Jayson Argue suffering the loss in goal for Nanaimo.

“A game of bounces, that one was,” said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach. “And tough ones, because there wasn’t a lot of inches to be found out there both ways. It was a very close game.”

The Clippers didn’t get deflated after the Kings’ go-ahead goal, but it was difficult to sustain any pressure.

“They’re a good defensive team and after they scored their goal they trapped,” Vandekamp said. “I thought we adapted well. We got some time in their end, but we didn’t penetrate to the net. You’ve got to fight for inches in those situations.”

The next game now becomes a must-win for the Clippers. At this stage of hockey season, they can’t and won’t change their style as they try to find a way to beat the Kings.

“[We’ll] pound ’em all we can, work our tails off, stay physical, be a positive group, have good spirit,” Vandekamp said.

Brosseau said the Clippers need to grind it out and wear down the opposition.

“We’ve worked hard all series,” he said. “Monday we’re just going to have to work twice as hard and find a way.”

GAME ON … The Clippers and Kings play Game 5 on Monday (March 10) at 7 p.m. at Powell River’s Hap Parker Arena. Game 6, if necessary, will be Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena and Game 7 would be Wednesday at Powell River … To read about the Nanaimo Clippers' 5-1 win in Game 3 of the series, please click here.

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