The Nanaimo Clippers came up with their fourth-straight win and are on the cusp of clinching a playoff spot.
The Clips beat the Cowichan Valley Capitals 5-3 on Wednesday at Frank Crane Arena, snapping a third-period tie on a power-play goal from Ben Solin with a minute and a half to go in regulation. It was Nanaimo’s fourth power-play goal of the game.
“The power play has been pretty hot and guys are just feeling it right now,” said Matt Creamer, who scored two goals and added an assist. “We were moving the puck and we’re starting to have good chemistry on the power play, so things are clicking.”
The Clippers had the run of play most of the night, as shots ended up 47-17 in favour of the home team. Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach, liked his team’s execution with the man advantage, but pointed out that there won’t be as many power plays come the post-season.
“I didn’t think we had good enough killer instinct early in the game,” said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach. “We had lots of scoring chances. We’ve got to bear down and bury them.”
Creamer’s two-goal effort extended a five-game goal-scoring streak for the first-liner. Solin also had a three-point night on Wednesday and Nanaimo’s other scorers were Sean Buchanan and Josh Blanchard. Evan DeBrouwer was the winning goalie.
All four victories on the Clippers’ current win streak have come against the teams immediately surrounding them in the Island Division standings.
“We knew it was going to define our season, these games, so we rose to the occasion,” Creamer said. “Everyone’s changed as a player; we’ve all gotten better. It’s been great for the team. We’re putting together wins and making strides.”
Nanaimo needs just one point over its final four games to sew up a playoff spot. The Clippers are also one point out of third place in the division.
We’ve improved as a team and it’s going to take all these last four games to prepare our team,” Vandekamp said. “And we still have to get enough points to make the playoffs, so we can’t get ahead of ourselves.”
GAME ON … The Clippers play road games Friday and Saturday (Feb. 17-18) against the Powell River Kings.