The Nanaimo Clippers needed overtime, but they eventually got rewarded for a strong effort in Game 2.
The Clips defeated the Alberni Valley Bulldogs by a 3-2 score on Saturday at Frank Crane Arena to take a two-games-to-none lead in the best-of-five first-round series.
Trevor Fitzgerald scored two goals, including the game winner two minutes into overtime. Going hard to the net, a rebound of a Matt Grant shot ricocheted in off Fitzgerald’s skate.
“All I did was skate to the net, skate my route,” he said. “We do that every single practice – the guy throws it on net, just skate to the net and try and whack in a rebound.”
Fitzgerald opened the scoring halfway through the game when he redirected a Nick Gushue shot on the power play. Late in the period Alberni tied it up, but Gushue put his team back up when he fired in a PP goal with just eight seconds left in the frame.
The Clips were challenged when they were handed a five-minute cross-checking major midway through the third period. The Bulldogs tallied on the PP and the teams ended up needing extra time.
Jayson Argue was the winning goalie, making 30 saves as his team held a 42-32 edge in shots. He was solid but didn’t have to make as many spectacular saves as the night before as his teammates did a better job at slowing down the Bulldogs’ attack.
“We stuck to our game plan and kept it simple,” said Fitzgerald. “They’re a rushing team, they like to pick up speed off the rush and create chances and opportunities off the rush so we tried to limit our turnovers and odd-man rushes, backcheck hard … keep pucks deep and try and work them in the trenches down low.”
The victory means that the Clippers have a chance to sweep the series as it moves to Port Alberni.
“We’ve just got to keep the momentum on our side as much as we can,” said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach.
GAME ON … The Clippers and Bulldogs play Game 3 on Monday (March 18) at 7 p.m. at Alberni’s Weyerhaeuser Arena. Game 4, if necessary, will be Tuesday, also at Port.