The struggling Nanaimo Clippers found a way to lose on Wednesday night.
The city’s B.C. Hockey League team (1-3-0-2) fell 4-3 to the Victoria Grizzlies in double overtime at Frank Crane Arena after giving up a 3-1 third-period lead.
“We started making a couple mental mistakes, turning pucks over and making bad decisions in our own end,” said Mike Domsodi, Clippers forward.
An announced crowd of just 842 saw the Clips and Grizz play a low-energy tilt. Victoria scored the game’s first goal midway through the second period, but Nanaimo broke through early in the third with three goals in a 62-second span. First Gerry Fitzgerald scored on a pretty wrist shot after a good pass from Yannick LaFlamme, then Domsodi scored two straight. His first came from crashing the crease; his second, from bouncing a puck in from a tough angle.
The Grizzlies didn’t fold the tent, though, and carried the rest of the play in the third period.
“We knew we had it,” said Greg Simpson, Grizzlies defenceman. “We stayed positive and it paid off.”
Victoria’s forechecking created a turnover that led to the 3-2 goal with five minutes left, then the Grizz pulled the goalie, kept the pressure on and eventually got one past Nanaimo goalie Charles-Andre Pelletier.
Nanaimo looked “sloppy” over those final few minutes, said coach Bill Bestwick, but the overtime periods might have been even more concerning. The Shipmen seemed to be playing scared.
“We were indecisive, we were tentative, we looked like a team that wasn’t interested in winning,” Bestwick said. “We were just trying not to lose.”
The Grizzlies, meanwhile, moved the puck around more confidently, created a shooting lane and eventually found an opportunity to fire one into the back of the net.
“You’ve got to hit them and keep shooting the puck and get to the net,” Simpson said. “That’s the key to winning every game.”
GAME ON … The Clippers host the Powell River Kings on Friday (Oct. 1) at 7:10 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena … Nanaimo then visits the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Port Alberni’s Weyerhaeuser Arena … For an injury update, please click http://bit.ly/ddUz6Y.