Matchup will have a bit of everything

Nanaimo Clippers players Ryan Stanimir

It’s Game 7 for the Nanaimo Clippers and the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.

No one is going to get eliminated – it’s not playoff time yet – but it’s an important game nonetheless. Two points in the standings are at stake Friday (Dec. 10) when the Clips and Bulldogs take to the ice at Frank Crane Arena.

The teams have faced each other six times already this B.C. Hockey League campaign, with each side winning three of the meetings.

So far, the games between the mid-Island foes have gotten progressively harder-hitting.

“As the season goes on, the game within a game starts to unfold,” said Michael Olson, Clippers assistant coach. “Guys get to know each other and not like each other.”

It helps that the games have all been so close. Five of the six meetings have been one-goal games and the other was a one-goal game until an empty-netter.

The Clippers players say it’s always fun to take on the Bulldogs.

Ryan Stanimir, Clippers forward, said the Bulldogs play hard, they hit and they like to “chirp” out on the ice.

“It’s fun for us,” he said. “It’s always an easy game to come up and play for because if you’re not in it right away, you’ll certainly get hammered your first shift and you’ll be into it after that.”

Considering how close the games have been between Nanaimo and Alberni, the importance of each goal will be magnified. Olson said it’s harder to score at this time of year since teams are better at playing their systems by now.

“We’re going to continue to preach the same thing we do for every team that we face,” said the assistant coach. “And that’s just throwing pucks on net, going to the net with your stick on the ice and looking for rebounds and looking for greasy goals.”

GAME ON … The Clippers and Bulldogs face off Friday (Dec. 10) at 7:10 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena. Fans are asked to bring a non-perishable food item to donate to Loaves and Fishes … On Sunday the Clippers will play their final home game of 2010 when they take on the Vernon Vipers in a 3 p.m. game. That contest is Teddy Bear Toss day. For more information, click here.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com