Nanaimo Clippers Michael McNicholas

Nanaimo Clippers Michael McNicholas

Clippers face off in playoff hockey

The Nanaimo Clippers begin the post-season this Friday (March 15) for Game 1 of a best-of-five series against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.

The Nanaimo Clippers have had to wait too long for playoff hockey, but the wait is just about over.

The city’s B.C. Hockey League club returns to the post-season this Friday (March 15) for the start of a best-of-five series against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.

It’s the first BCHL playoff action in Nanaimo in more than two years, and the Clippers are suitably excited.

“It’s the best time of the year for hockey. You play for this all year,” said Trevor Fitzgerald, team captain. “The regular season obviously means something, but the playoffs really mean everything.”

So the Clippers won’t put too much stock in the season series with the Bulldogs, in which Alberni won five of eight meetings.

“Really, anything that’s happened behind us doesn’t mean anything. It means absolutely zilch,” said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach.

Most of the games with the Bulldogs were high-scoring affairs, a trend that might not continue in the post-season.

“They like to wheel and deal and we know that,” said Greg Fraser, Clippers centre. “We’ve got to cut the ice in half and play one section of the ice. We’ll be able to outman them and take the body and we’ll be fine.”

Fitzgerald said his team needs to concentrate on trying to play in the trenches rather than getting into north-south hockey.

“We’ve got to get the puck deep and grind shifts out,” he said. “They don’t like to play down low, they don’t like to play in the corners and that’s our type of game.”

It might take more than just a sound game plan to win in the playoffs. Fraser said guys need to be a bit grittier at this time of year and willing to play through pain. Fitzgerald said the teams that are successful are the ones that are mentally strong and understand the ups and downs of a playoff run.

That can be a challenge, because at this time of year, every moment is magnified.

“Every play has an exclamation point on it, I think is the big difference,” said Vandekamp. “You never know when the TSN turning point’s going to come so you’ve got to be really focused on every single play, all the time.”

Fitzgerald called it “do-or-die” time.

“You’ve got to bear down. You’ve got to be tough. You’ve got to play gritty,” he said. “You’ve got to battle through stuff. And you’ve got to be fully committed.”

GAME ON … The Nanaimo Clippers meet the Alberni Valley Bulldogs in a best-of-five playoff series. Game 1 is Friday (March 15) at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena. Game 2 is Saturday at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane … For ticket information, please visit www.nanaimoclippers.com or call 250-751-0593 … Game 3 will be Monday at Port Alberni’s Weyerhaeuser Arena.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

Just Posted

A conceptual rendering of a commercial plaza at 1130 Rocky Creek Road. (Town of Ladysmith image)
Commercial plaza in north end of Ladysmith passes public hearing

Councillors debate proposed land use at 1130 Rocky Creek Rd.

The Nanaimo sign at Maffeo Sutton Park could be hazardous for children, says letter writer. (News Bulletin file photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Nanaimo sign will cause falls

Children can’t resist climbing on sign, says letter writer

John A. Read, who was inspired to leave his former career to become a professional astronomy by the purchase of a $13 telescope, will give beginning astronomers key pointers on how to set up and get the best performance from their instruments at Nanaimo Astronomy Society’s meeting June 24. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Read)
Astrophysicist will talk about getting the most out of a telescope at Nanaimo astronomy meeting

John Read’s purchase of a $13 telescope led to a degree in astrophysics and a career in astronomy

Nanaimo rapper Sirreal plays the Port Theatre on June 25. (Photo courtesy Alanna Morton)
Nanaimo rapper Sirreal and friends play the Port Theatre

Live-streamed concert the second in venue’s Discovery Series highlighting local artists

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement, stating that Nanaimo will see temperatures between five-10 degrees above seasonal the next two days. (News Bulletin file)
Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement, stating that Nanaimo will see temperatures between five-10 degrees above normal the next two days. (News Bulletin file)
Heat wave will see Nanaimo temperatures rise 5-10 degrees above normal

Sun with highs of 28 C forecast by Environment Canada for Harbour City on Sunday and Monday

Robin Dutton, left, and Peter Sinclair are taking their mountain bikes and travelling down trails in the Mount Benson area June 19 as part of a 24-hour fundraiser benefiting Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Full-day mountain bike fundraiser gives financial support for Nanaimo food bank

Event part of Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank’s Food 4 Summer campaign

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding partnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Most Read