Clippers collect important points

Surrey Eagles player Beau Orser

Surrey Eagles player Beau Orser

The Nanaimo Clippers put together six good periods of hockey to stay stride-for-stride in the playoff race.
The city’s B.C. Hockey League team earned three out of four points, defeating the Alberni Valley Bulldogs 2-1 on Friday at Frank Crane Arena, then losing 2-1 in overtime to the Surrey Eagles the next night at the Crane.
The Clips went into Friday’s matchup treating it as the most important game of the season and rose to the occasion. Nanaimo came up with a well-rounded effort, and only the heroics of Bulldogs goalie Frank Slubowski kept the game close. Finally Clippers forward Zach Martin hammered home a puck in the goalmouth on a third-period power play to snap a 1-1 tie.
“The puck came to me and I just got my shovel out,” Martin said.
Players said all the lines contributed in an important victory.
“It meant a lot,” said Leo Fitzgerald, Clippers forward. “Everyone was working hard that game; it was a good battle.”
Colton Cyr had a goal and an assist for the Shipmen and Charles-Alexy Premont was the winning goalie, stopping 18 pucks as his team outshot the visitors 46-19.
The next night the Clippers again ran into a hot goalie as Surrey’s Karel St-Laurent made 36 saves for the win.
“I thought we were territorially a better team,” said Bill Bestwick, Clippers coach. “I thought we possessed the puck in better places than our opponent did and we were real good in corners and the boards.
“When we play like that we give ourself a chance to win every game.”
Nanaimo tied it with seven minutes left, when Fitzgerald spun and fired a shot from around the faceoff dot.
Things unravelled in the first minute of overtime, however, as the Clippers turned the puck over at the opponent’s blueline and the Eagles rushed the other way and fired a shot on Premont that produced a juicy rebound.
“He couldn’t find it, they did and it ended up in the back of our net,” Bestwick said. “If you’re going to get beat you’d like to get beat on a real nice goal.”
Martin said it was “bittersweet” to come back and take a point, then lose in OT. The players felt they could have done a better job capitalizing against the Eagles.
“We should have got way more goals; we’ve got to bury our chances,” Fitzgerald said. “We’re kind of giving it to [the goalies] right in the chests; we’re making them look good.”
The Clippers are now 3-1-0-1 in January and are about to enter a busier schedule of games. Next up are a pair of matchups on the mainland Wednesday (Jan. 19) against the Coquitlam Express and Thursday versus the Langley Chiefs.
“I’m glad that we’re going to … get back on the ice right away in a meaningful game in Coquitlam and another one the night right after,” Bestwick said. “I think we’re all looking forward to games, especially since our team is playing as well as it is.”
sports@nanaimobulletin.com

The Nanaimo Clippers put together six good periods of hockey to stay stride-for-stride in the playoff race.

The city’s B.C. Hockey League team earned three out of four points, defeating the Alberni Valley Bulldogs 2-1 on Friday at Frank Crane Arena, then losing 2-1 in overtime to the Surrey Eagles the next night at the Crane.

The Clips went into Friday’s matchup treating it as the most important game of the season and rose to the occasion. Nanaimo came up with a well-rounded effort, and only the heroics of Bulldogs goalie Frank Slubowski kept the game close. Finally Clippers forward Zach Martin hammered home a puck in the goalmouth on a third-period power play to snap a 1-1 tie.

“The puck came to me and I just got my shovel out,” Martin said.

Players said all the lines contributed in an important victory.

“It meant a lot,” said Leo Fitzgerald, Clippers forward. “Everyone was working hard that game; it was a good battle.”

Colton Cyr had a goal and an assist for the Shipmen and Charles-Alexy Premont was the winning goalie, stopping 18 pucks as his team outshot the visitors 46-19.

The next night the Clippers again ran into a hot goalie as Surrey’s Karel St-Laurent made 36 saves for the win.

“I thought we were territorially a better team,” said Bill Bestwick, Clippers coach. “I thought we possessed the puck in better places than our opponent did and we were real good in corners and the boards.

“When we play like that we give ourself a chance to win every game.”

Nanaimo tied it with seven minutes left, when Fitzgerald spun and fired a shot from around the faceoff dot.

Things unravelled in the first minute of overtime, however, as the Clippers turned the puck over at the opponent’s blueline and the Eagles rushed the other way and fired a shot on Premont that produced a juicy rebound.

“He couldn’t find it, they did and it ended up in the back of our net,” Bestwick said. “If you’re going to get beat you’d like to get beat on a real nice goal.”

Martin said it was “bittersweet” to come back and take a point, then lose in OT. The players felt they could have done a better job capitalizing against the Eagles.

“We should have got way more goals; we’ve got to bury our chances,” Fitzgerald said. “We’re kind of giving it to [the goalies] right in the chests; we’re making them look good.”

The Clippers are now 3-1-0-1 in January and are about to enter a busier schedule of games. Next up are a pair of matchups on the mainland Wednesday (Jan. 19) against the Coquitlam Express and Thursday versus the Langley Chiefs.

“I’m glad that we’re going to … get back on the ice right away in a meaningful game in Coquitlam and another one the night right after,” Bestwick said. “I think we’re all looking forward to games, especially since our team is playing as well as it is.”

sports@nanaimobulletin.com