The B.C. Hockey League season won’t wait, so the Nanaimo Clippers need to keep up.
Coach Mike Vandekamp questioned his team’s maturity following a 5-3 loss to the Victoria Grizzlies on Wednesday at Frank Crane Arena.
The Clips were blitzed 3-0 in the first period and never really got back in it.
“We didn’t show up engaged in the game, we didn’t really get any saves early on and we dug ourselves a hole,” Vandekamp said. “A couple of turnovers led to the goals, a dumb penalty put us down five-on-three; there’s your first period.”
He said when things aren’t going well with the Clippers, all 20 guys seem to be down. When they get going, all 20 guys get going.
“Good teams are on a good plane all the time. We’re not on that plane,” he said. “We’re on a roller coaster ride emotionally.”
The Clips got down 4-0 after two periods, then Korey Morgan and Brendan Taylor scored to halve the deficit and make the last five minutes more interesting. But the Grizzlies’ Dante Hahn got a breakaway and scored with three minutes left to take away the drama. The Clippers’ Devin Brosseau rounded out the scoring with a minute left.
Jayson Argue suffered the loss in goal, making 22 saves as his team outshot the opposition 42-27.
Even if the Clippers finished fairly strongly, it was too little, too late to impress the coach.
“We can’t accept, ‘oh well, we pushed hard at the end…'” Vandekamp said. “If they want a world of milk and honey, they can phone their mommies and they’ll give them a hug. It’s my job to try to help them grow up.”
The Shipmen get ample opportunity to make good this weekend as they visit the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on Friday (Oct. 18) and then host the Vernon Vipers on Saturday. There are a lot of storylines surrounding that game – the Vipers are this year’s hosts of the Royal Bank Cup, they will have a couple of ex-Clippers in the lineup and it’s Vandekamp’s former team.
“I take every game equally personally…” he said. “For us right now, every game is a big game and we’ve got to prepare accordingly for it.”
GAME ON … The Clippers and Vipers face off Saturday at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena. Tickets will be available at the door.