Alberni Valley Bulldogs player Drew Weich

Alberni Valley Bulldogs player Drew Weich

Clippers beat Bulldogs in Game 2

The Nanaimo Clippers beat the Alberni Valley Bulldogs 3-1 on Wednesday night at Frank Crane Arena.

The Nanaimo Clippers prevailed as playoff hockey intensified. The Clips beat the Alberni Valley Bulldogs 3-1 on Wednesday night at Frank Crane Arena and now lead the best-of-seven series two games to none. “It was more like a playoff game, that’s for sure,” said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach. “I thought we played better tonight, to be honest.” Unlike the 6-1 blowout the night before, Wednesday’s Game 2 was closely contested for three periods. Nick Gushue opened the scoring on a point shot in the first period and Jake Jackson tipped in a Sean Buchanan point shot on a power play late in the second period. Alberni’s Drew Blackmun replied early in the third, setting up a tight final frame. The Bulldogs pulled the goalie late and had chances before Austin Dick’s long-range empty netter iced the win. “They got a couple whacks at it there. They were throwing everything at us besides the kitchen sink there and that’s playoff hockey,” Vandekamp said. “That’s playoff hockey.” He liked his team’s attention to defensive hockey as it did better at limiting the Bulldogs’ shots. Gushue said there was good communication and awareness in the D zone. The Clippers are pleased to be up two games to none, though the coach pointed out that the third game of a playoff series can be a “swing game.” “They either get back in this thing or we take a stranglehold, so it becomes a very big game,” Vandekamp said. Gushue said the Clippers will try to carry over the things they’ve done in the first two games, and at the same time, build on those things. The Shipmen expect the Bulldogs to be tougher on home ice. “We definitely know they’re going to come out hard,” Gushue said. “They’re always a hard-working team and they’ve always got a little bit of grit on their side. We’ve just got to match that and play our game.” Guillaume Decelles was the winning goalie on Wednesday and Billy Christopoulos suffered the loss as shots were 30-23 in favour of the visitors. GAME ON … Game 3 goes Friday (March 6) at 7 p.m. at Port Alberni’s Weyerhaeuser Arena and Game 4 will be the next night, another 7 p.m. faceoff at Alberni. Game 5, if necessary, will be Monday at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena.

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