The Nanaimo Clippers, getting ready to go on a difficult road swing, could learn from the Vernon Vipers.
The two-time defending national champions came into Frank Crane Arena at the end of a road trip and played intelligently, got a couple bounces and skated away with a 3-2 win on Sunday.
“We learned a real valuable lesson from what I think is the best team we’ve seen this year,” said Bill Bestwick, Clippers coach. “They beat us in every category – they scored more goals, they limited our scoring chances, they moved the puck well, they were hard on pucks.”
Nanaimo led 1-0 after the first period on a Teddy Bear Toss goal from Victor Newell, but the Vipers took control in the second with two goals of their own. Nanaimo forward Leo Fitzgerald tied it five minutes into the third but the Clippers then made a mistake in the wrong part of the ice five minutes later and Vernon scored the winner.
“We didn’t come to play the whole game and that killed us because we could have beat them today,” said Colton Cyr, team captain. “When we realized we were in the game, it was too late.”
Newell said the Clippers should have played a more in-your-face style.
“We gave them a little too much space, a little too much respect,” he said.
Clips goalie Charles-Andre Pelletier played well in defeat as Vernon outshot Nanaimo 29-16.
ICE CHIPS … Newell’s Teddy Bear Toss goal came 12 minutes into the game on a rush up the ice by the blueliner. “It was a great feeling, something special,” he said … Nanaimo’s next game is Tuesday (Dec. 14) when the team visits the Westside Warriors in West Kelowna. Faceoff in that one is 7 p.m.