Clippers pull off upset victory

The Nanaimo Clippers are finding ways to win.

The city’s B.C. Hockey League team won for the fifth time in its last six games on Wednesday when it upset the Powell River Kings on the road by a 6-3 score.

The offensive outburst came against the league’s top defensive team.

“Their puck management is good, they make pretty simple decisions – I thought we matched them in that department,” said Bill Bestwick, coach of the Clippers.

Facing the Coastal Conference’s first-place team, Bestwick said his players went into the game with a “nothing-to-lose” mindset and helped their cause by grabbing an early lead.

“We weren’t afraid to put the puck at the net,” said the coach. “We were committed to doing the simple things, the little things.”

Kyle Kramer opened the scoring just three minutes in, and Myles Fitzgerald made it 2-0 with an unassisted goal midway through the first period.

The Kings got one back in the first, tied it early in the second and then went ahead 3-2 midway through the second period.

But the Clippers responded with the “best shift of the game,” said Bestwick, as Ryan Stanimir set up Andrew Gladiuk for the tying goal.

Sam Labrecque, in his first game back from injury, blasted home a power-play point shot early in the third and Colton Cyr capped off a fast-paced period with a late insurance goal and an empty-netter.

Goalie Charles-Andre Pelletier earned the win in goal as final shots were 33-33.

“Everybody contributed,” Bestwick said.”It was a team victory.”

It will take more of the same, he said, to sweep the home-and-home set on Friday (Nov. 26) when the Kings visit Frank Crane Arena.

“[We need to] play a simple game. Don’t play intimidated, just go play,” Bestwick said. “When we do that, we can compete with anybody.”

GAME ON … Friday’s opening faceoff is slated for 7:10 p.m. The Clippers are also at home Saturday to take on the Cowichan Valley Capitals at 7:10 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com