Nanaimo Clippers
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Nanaimo Clippers forward Mason Mitchell, right, crashes the net against Cowichan Valley Capitals goalie Patrick Spano during Friday's B.C. Hockey League game at Frank Crane Arena.
GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

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Clippers pick up important points

At a time of year when every point is important, the Nanaimo Clippers earned three out of four.

The city's B.C. Hockey League club split a home-and-home series against the Cowichan Valley Capitals on Friday and Saturday, winning 5-2 the first night at Frank Crane Arena and then falling 4-3 in overtime in Duncan.

In Friday's game the Clippers held a comfortable edge in play in all three periods, getting up 2-0 through 20 minutes and continuing to keep the play in the Capitals' end of the ice.

"We played pretty well," said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach. "We scored a big power-play goal early on in the game, killed a lot of penalties tonight; I was pretty pleased with it."

Nick Gushue tallied six minutes in on the PP and then Reid Sturos added to the lead. The Caps closed the gap to 2-1 midway through the second period, but Brendan Taylor restored the margin four minutes later.

Trevor Fitzgerald scored in the opening seconds of the third period and Taylor finished off a breakaway to round out the scoring.

"We played pretty good tonight," said Taylor. "We hemmed pucks in their end, we had a good cycle going, we got some nice goals."

Vandekamp said his team was guilty of a couple of turnovers, but generally did a good job of sticking to their systems in their end.

"Any of the times that we did our job managing the puck, we controlled the game and that's usually what it comes down to," he said.

Derek Dun made 23 saves against his old team as the Clippers outshot the Capitals 37-25.

The rematch was a bit more of a back-and-forth affair, as Nanaimo had the edge in play but not in goals. The Caps scored the first two before the Clips got three straight. Josh Bryan scored late in the second period and early in the third to tie it 2-2, then Mason Mitchell put Nanaimo up midway through the third before Cowichan tied it two minutes later. Mitch Ball scored the overtime winner for the home team.

Shots were 46-31 in favour of the Clippers, with Dun suffering the loss.

GAME ON … The Clippers play three road games in three days starting Friday (Feb. 15) against the Surrey Eagles. The Shipmen then face the Coquitlam Express on Saturday and the Langley Rivermen on Sunday.


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