It wasn’t easy to break out of their slump, but the Nanaimo Clippers managed to do it.
The Clips ended a nine-game winless streak with a 5-4 victory against the Cowichan Valley Capitals on Friday night at Frank Crane Arena.
“We fought hard. It was a hard-working win, lots of drama in the game,” said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach.
Three third-period goals by the Capitals made it a one-goal game, and the drama peaked with 45 seconds left, when the Caps were awarded a penalty shot after the Clippers were judged to have deliberately knocked their net off its moorings.
“I didn’t even watch [the penalty shot]. I grabbed a drink of water and looked in the opposite direction,” said Vandekamp.
Goalie Evan DeBrouwer made the save, though, getting a blocker on the shot and directing it post and out for his most important save of the 24 shots he faced.
Jamie Collins scored twice, Vincent Millette had a goal and two assists and Myles Cunningham and Taylor Karel were Nanaimo’s other scorers.
In the next night’s rematch in Duncan, the Capitals beat the Clippers 4-3 in double overtime.
Nanaimo might have hoped for a better result in that one, as Clippers coaches weren’t sure about the home team’s game-tying goal early in the third period.
“We believe it went in under the side of a lifted net,” Vandekamp said. “You know, when a guy goes for a wraparound and some guys crash into the net and the net pops up, one of those kind of deals.”
In double overtime, the Clips had a good chance at one end and the play went back the other way and the Caps scored.
Danny Pion, Matt Creamer and Jake Harris scored for the Shipmen and DeBrouwer made 33 saves.
Combined with a 2-1 OT loss to the Alberni Valley Bulldogs last Wednesday at Frank Crane Arena, the weekend’s results mean the Clippers claimed four of a possible six points last week.
“All in all, it was a much better week than what we’ve been having, so we’re heading in the right direction and hopefully we can go positively from here,” Vandekamp said.
GAME ON … The Clippers play the Victoria Grizzlies on Wednesday (Dec. 7) at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena and then host the Wenatchee Wild on Friday at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane. Nanaimo visits Victoria on Sunday.