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Nanaimo Clippers forward Jesse Neher, right, skates away from Langley Rivermen opponent Ben Greiner during Friday's BCHL game at Frank Crane Arena.
GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

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Clippers just miss chance at first place

The Nanaimo Clippers showed a lot of firepower on the weekend, but not enough to win a first-place showdown.

The city's B.C. Hockey League club won one of its two games at Frank Crane Arena, blowing out the Langley Rivermen 6-1 on Friday before dropping the next night's game against the Victoria Grizzlies, 5-4.

In the first game of the weekend the Clips totally dominated the Rivermen, outshooting the visitors 51-28 and tallying three power-play goals.

"A lot of the close games would have been broken open if we'd scored on the power play and that's what we've started to do the last couple games and it's made a big difference," said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach, after the win.

Trevor Fitzgerald, Chris Rygus, Greg Fraser, Kevin Miller, Kyle Kramer and Josh Bryan scored the goals that night and Jarrod Schamerhorn earned the win in the crease.

Vandekamp said he liked the way his team continued to play hard in that one even when it had a healthy lead.

"We have habits that we're trying to form with the team, we have some goals we've set for ourselves every game and we really were focused on that," said the coach.

The Clippers had gone into Friday's game coming off a 4-2 midweek loss to the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.

"Really it was just trying to get back to the basics, get back to our game plan and play the game that we know how to play," said Fraser, who was chosen first star.

The win gave the Shipmen an opportunity to try for the Island Division lead on Saturday against the Grizz, but Vic built up a two-goal lead heading into the third period of that game and held on.

Michael McNicholas scored twice for Nanaimo, Brenden Forbes and Kramer had the other markers and Jayson Argue and Schamerhorn split time in the crease. Former Clippers forward Gerry Fitzgerald had two goals and an assist to lead the Grizzlies. Shots were 31-25 in favour of Nanaimo.

GAME ON … The Clips visit the Powell River Kings for back-to-back games Friday (Nov. 23) and Saturday. Next home action for the Clippers is Dec. 1 against the Kings.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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