Clippers hot at the half

Nanaimo Clippers defenceman Graeme McCormack and teammates celebrate a win at Frank Crane Arena last week. The B.C. Hockey League team has won seven out of its last nine.

The Nanaimo Clippers’ lineup was sometimes held together by Band-Aids in the first half of the season.

From underneath those bandages has emerged an improving hockey club.

The Shipmen started the second half of the B.C. Hockey League season with a win Wednesday. Considering the adversity they handled over the first three months of the season, they’re satisfied with their 15-12-1-3 record.

“Whenever you go through as many injuries as we have and go through as many close games as we have, I think you do learn a lot,” said Colton Cyr, team captain. “Whatever doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. It’s only going to help us going into the latter part of the year.”

Cyr missed the first 12 games of 2010-11 recovering from a broken jaw, so he and many of the other Clippers have experienced how frustrating it is not to be able to take the ice.

“Guys that are coming back have to take advantage of the time that they have now,” said the captain. “You really do have to make the most of every game because sometimes you don’t play as many games in the season as you’d like.”

One of those guys fresh off the injured list is forward Zach Martin, who returned on Wednesday. Martin said while he watched the games from the stands in recent weeks, he saw a lot of good things on the ice.

“Just guys working hard out there,” he said. “A lot of guys have been playing a very well-rounded game.”

Clippers forward Brodie Jamieson said the team is playing more confidently now that it has a better idea of its capabilities.

“We’ve still got a few guys out with injuries and right now we’re winning, so when we get guys back we’ll be doing even better,” he said. “We’re moving up the standings. Every day we’re catching people ahead of us.”

The next opportunity for the Clippers to gain ground is tonight (Dec. 3), as the Coquitlam Express visit Frank Crane Arena.

The last time the two teams met, Coquitlam surprised Nanaimo and won even though the Clips held the edge in play.

“We didn’t expect much out of them and they played simple, they worked hard, they just got pucks out and they got a couple good bounces,” Cyr said.

The Express aren’t a familiar foe for the Clippers, so Nanaimo will try to force its own game plan.

“If we’re playing the Clipper game, we’re going to win,” said Charles-Andre Pelletier, Nanaimo’s goalie. “It doesn’t matter if we know the team or not.”

GAME ON … Friday’s faceoff is at 7:10 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena. Tickets will be available at the door.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com