Clippers face Interior’s Cents

The Nanaimo Clippers host the Merritt Centennials on Friday (Dec. 5) at Frank Crane Arena.

The Nanaimo Clippers duked it out in Island rivalry games the last two weeks and now they’ll mix things up a little bit.

The Clips host the Merritt Centennials on Friday (Dec. 5).

The Cents are a middle-of-the-pack team in the B.C. Hockey League’s tough Interior Division.

“We know Merritt’s going to be a good opponent for us; they’ll be a good challenge,” said Cole Maier, Clippers forward. “It’s nice to see somebody new so we’re looking forward to that.”

Anthony Rinaldi, another Clippers forward, said it’s a different sort of challenge to play out-of-division opponents.

“We don’t know how strong they really are,” he said. “It’s kind of a mystery when we play them.”

The Shipmen will look at some video on the opposition and take the coaching staff’s advice to heart.

“We just follow our systems and listen to what coach [Mike] Vandekamp has to say. He takes us through some steps before the game and we just have to follow them,” Rinaldi said.

“The boys sort of know what to do. We’re 30 games in right now, so we just play our game and do what we can.”

Maier said the mindset shouldn’t be much different stepping on the ice against Merritt.

“We’re confident if we stick to our style of play, we should be able to take care of business,” he said.

The Zonta Club of Nanaimo will be special guests at Friday’s game, drawing attention to their Zonta Says No to Violence Against Women campaign.

ICE CHIPS … The Clippers lost 5-0 to the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on Wednesday … The Clips and Cents face off on Friday at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena … The Clippers are also home Saturday to take on the Cowichan Valley Capitals at 7 p.m.