The standings couldn’t be much tighter, so the Nanaimo Clippers find themselves rising with every win and falling with every loss.
The city’s B.C. Hockey League team won one and lost one on the weekend at Frank Crane Arena, defeating the Cowichan Valley Capitals 2-1 in overtime Friday before falling 5-3 to the Coquitlam Express on Sunday.
“We’re not talking too much about the standings, we really aren’t,” said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach. “We’re more focused on our segment goals.”
The team has split the season into five-game segments, intent on earning a certain number of points in each one.
The Clips were able to start a new segment with two points on Friday night after prevailing in what Vandekamp called “a heck of a game” against the Caps.
“There wasn’t a ton of chances in each end in the early parts of the game and then the penalties started to be called and so some chances started to come a little bit and the game opened up,” he said.
The Capitals opened the scoring in the second period but the Clippers’ Luke Gordon scored late in the frame to make it 1-1.
The game stayed that way until 15 seconds into overtime, when Kyle Kramer slammed home a puck from in close after Trevor Fitzgerald won a battle and made the pass from behind the goal line.
“It was a good team game,” Vandekamp said. “We blocked some shots, we battled it out again.”
Billy Faust was the winning goalie, needing to make only 17 saves as his teammates totally stymied the offensively capable Capitals.
“In the D zone we finished our checks pretty well and thd defence as a whole used the glass to get the puck out really well and the forwards got on it and got it down to the other [end],” said Josh Phillips, Clippers defenceman.
On Sunday the Express came out energized and built up a 4-1 lead that proved insurmountable.
Andrew Gladiuk, Luke Gordon and Kyle Kramer scored for Nanaimo and Chris Eiserman suffered the loss in goal.
GAME ON … The Clippers play the Capitals this Wednesday (Nov. 23) in a 7 p.m. game at the Island Savings Centre in Duncan, then host the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on Friday at Frank Crane Arena in another 7 p.m. faceoff.