The Nanaimo Clippers showed they can handle a lot of hockey.
The city’s junior A club played three games in three days this weekend and earned five out of a possible six points. The Clippers started with a 2-1 win over the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on Friday at Frank Crane Arena, lost 3-2 in a rematch with the Bulldogs on Saturday at Port Alberni, and then prevailed 3-2 over the Chilliwack Chiefs in a Sunday matinee back at Frank Crane.
The Clippers were feeling good about the results.
“That’s a big accomplishment, especially early in the year,” said Jack O’Brien, Clippers defenceman. “We’ll build off that and just keep going.”
Sunday’s outcome capped off a solid 60-minute effort, said Clippers coach Darren Naylor.
“We’re having trouble putting the puck in the net, but I like our overall game,” he said. “Once we start capitalizing on our chances and pulling away from teams, it will be nice though.”
He felt his team had the edge in play in Sunday’s game and O’Brien agreed.
“Overall the boys played really well, pushed the pace, got pucks behind their D and we just hounded them,” he said.
Naylor said the Clippers try to be a team that isn’t easy to play against, and that’s been the case through the early part of the season.
“I’m seeing big improvements every time we play…” he said. “We’ve outworked every team, so the little things we’re doing are leading to success.”
In Friday’s game, Josh Bourne and Travis Walton scored goals and Zach Bennett made 21 saves as shots were 43-22 in favour of Nanaimo.
The next night it was Robby Drazner and Bourne scoring, with Bennett making 32 saves.
In the weekend finale, Kyler Kovich, Tyler Williams and then Ethan Scardina into an empty net were the Clippers’ scorers. Blake Wood made 26 saves for the win.
GAME ON … The Clippers visit the Bulldogs again this coming Saturday, Sept. 21, and then host the Penticton Vees on Sunday, Sept. 22, for a 2 p.m. faceoff.