The Nanaimo Clippers are trying to build consistency, but that can be a challenge during the ups and downs of life on the road.
The Clippers leave this week on a tour through the B.C. Hockey League’s Interior Division, playing the Trail Smoke Eaters on Friday (Nov. 6), the Penticton Vees on Saturday and then the West Kelowna Warriors on Sunday.
“It’s tough. It’s long bus rides and you’re not in your normal environment; it makes it difficult,” said Jonathan Reinhart, Clippers goalie. “But we kind of just have to bear down and if we have to, grind out three games.”
The Shipmen have already made one road trip through the Interior division last month, when they had some defensive struggles and won one of three.
“I don’t know what it is; it gets in your head. The road’s hard,” said Sean Buchanan, Clippers defenceman. “Sleeping in a hotel, it ruins your pre-game ritual. Every time it’s different.”
So the priority this weekend, he said, will be to “make sure we’re focused and ready.” Games against out-of-division opponents can be unpredictable, so the Clips will do their best to dictate the play.
“Just focus on ourselves and stick to our game, I think that’s the biggest thing, because if you start worrying too much about what [other teams] have and what they’re going to do, then it gets you off focus and it doesn’t go so well,” Buchanan said.
Even the goalie Reinhart doesn’t think too much about the shooters he’s facing on a given night.
“I’m going to prepare the same way and I’m not really focused on who we’re playing, more just coming out, giving my best effort and playing well each night,” he said.
GAME ON … Friday’s game at Trail is a 7:30 p.m. faceoff, Saturday’s tilt in Penticton starts at 6 p.m. and Sunday’s contest in Westside is a 2:30 p.m. matinee. Next home action in Nanaimo is Nov. 13.