Nanaimo Clippers defenceman Will Reilly

Nanaimo Clippers defenceman Will Reilly

Clippers draw cheers but lose to Grizzlies

Nanaimo Clippers forward Sheldon Rempal scored his 100th point of the season in a 6-3 loss to Victoria Grizzlies on Friday.

The Nanaimo Clippers went down to defeat, but they did give the fans something to cheer about.

Star forward Sheldon Rempal scored his 100th – and 101st – points of the season in a 6-3 loss to Victoria Grizzlies on Friday at Frank Crane Arena.

It was a matchup of two hot teams, as the Clippers went into the game undefeated in six and the Grizzlies have yet to lose in 2016.

“We weren’t mentally focused enough,” said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach. “Basically exactly what we said we needed to do before the game, we did the exact opposite … They play a kind of a high-flying, aggressive style. You have to play real structured, we had to be disciplined and we had to be good in key moments of the game and those key moments are starts to periods, ends to periods, penalty kills, power plays.”

The Clips got scored on in the final minute of all three periods, including an empty-netter in the third. Nanaimo pressed in the third to try to get back in it, but were stymied by Victoria’s netminder as shots ended up 47-38 in favour of the Shipmen.

“Credit to their goalie, he stood on his head out there,” said Rempal. “We had some pretty golden opportunities to make something happen and we were unlucky enough to not capitalize.”

His 100th point came five minutes into the first period on a Nolan Aibel goal. There were signs in the crowd trumpeting ‘100’ and then ‘101’ as Rempal became the first Clipper to reach triple digits since Michel Leveille (108) and Myles Kuharski (104) reached the mark in 2001-02.

“It was a lot of fun to see the fan support, the signs out there, [it] was awesome to see. I’m just trying to take it all in,” Rempal said. “I guess it was a second assist, but it’s still fun to live in the moment there and appreciate it a bit.”

Devin Brosseau and Troy MacTavish also scored for Nanaimo and Evan Johnson suffered the loss in goal.

GAME ON … The Clippers and Grizzlies play a rematch Sunday (Jan. 31) in Victoria. Next home action for the Clips is Friday (Feb. 5) when the Penticton Vees visit Frank Crane Arena for a 7 p.m. faceoff.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com