For the Nanaimo Clippers to win their next game, they might need to dictate the style of play.
The city’s B.C. Hockey League team (4-3-0-1) plays three games this coming weekend, starting with a home-and-home set Friday (Oct. 12) and Saturday against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs (6-4-0-1).
The Bulldogs are first in the BCHL in goals for (43) and second to last in goals against (49), while the Clippers are at the other end of the spectrum, scoring half as many goals as the Bulldogs but allowing only half as many, too.
“We’ll want to keep it down in their zone and out of our zone as much as we can, try to stay away from the ping pong kind of game,” said Brenden Forbes, Clippers alternate captain.
The last time the teams played, the Bulldogs blitzed the Clippers for three goals in the first six minutes and went on to win 5-2.
“They came out hot right off the bat and we got a couple penalties, too, so we’ve got to be careful to stay out of the box in the early going,” said Forbes.
Alberni has three players in the top 10 in BCHL scoring, including league leader Evan Tironese who has 18 points. Slowing down the opposition will require team defence and committed forechecking, say the Clippers.
“Just be a little better in the defensive zone. Just get the puck out and try working it in their zone a little more than what we did in the last game when we played them,” said Reid Sturos, Clippers forward. “We just need to make simple plays. Get in there, shoot pucks and bear down.”
Nanaimo has been outscored in half its games this season, but it hasn’t been outshot yet in 2012-13. In its 4-3 overtime loss Sunday against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, the Clips generated 64 shots. They just need to make sure that sort of pressure results in a few more goals.
“When you’re inside like that, you’ve got to take a stick on the hand. Even though you’re getting a bruise or two, just put the puck in the net,” Sturos said.
GAME ON … The Clippers host the Bulldogs Friday at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena, then visit Alberni on Saturday. On Sunday the Penticton Vees come to Frank Crane for a 3 p.m. faceoff … For a recap of the Clippers’ last game, visit www.nanai mobulletin.com.