The Nanaimo Clippers earned their first win of what they hope will be a special 40th anniversary season.
The Clippers defeated the Salmon Arm Silverbacks 2-1 on Sunday in Chilliwack, a day after losing their first game of the season 2-1 to the host Chilliwack Chiefs at the B.C. Hockey League’s showcase tournament.
“The first game we were a little bit nervous. It was kind of a tough circumstance, we were playing against the home team in their rink and they’d already played a game and we hadn’t played one yet,” said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach. “I think some of the jitters and nerves and stuff were evident.”
Jesse Neher scored the first goal of the season for the Clippers with five minutes left in the first period to tie the game 1-1. In the second period Nanaimo ran into penalty trouble and the Chiefs scored a go-ahead goal that would stand up as the game winner.
“It was a game that could have went either way,” said Vandekamp. “It was actually a dead-even game, it’s just they capitalized on the power play and we didn’t.”
There was a quick turnaround for the Clippers, who faced off at 11 a.m. Sunday morning against the Silverbacks. Still, the Clips “played energetic and played hard,” said the coach.
Nanaimo got first-period goals from Michael McNicholas and Reid Sturos to take a 2-0 lead, and continued to play intelligently from there.
“We didn’t capitalize a ton today, obviously, but we played way better defensively and it was really a sound game for us,” Vandekamp said. “We seemed to control the play really well today, so we didn’t have those frantic moments in the latter stages of the game at all.”
ICE CHIPS … Jayson Argue tended goal in both games for the Clippers. Shots were 30-30 against the Chiefs on Saturday, then 40-22 in favour of the Clippers in their win Sunday … Nanaimo plays its home opener Saturday (Sept. 15) when the Powell River Kings come to Frank Crane Arena for a 7 p.m. start. That will be the Clippers’ only action of next weekend.