The Nanaimo Clippers found different ways to win hockey games this weekend.
The Clips won both their B.C. Hockey League games, shutting out the Alberni Valley Bulldogs 3-0 on the road Friday and then edging the Surrey Eagles 3-2 on Saturday at Frank Crane Arena.
“I thought that we were a little bit ahead of ourselves today, we didn’t play nearly as well tonight, but we found a way to win the game, so we’re going to take that as a positive, obviously,” said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach.
The Eagles got on the board first midway through the first period, but the Clippers responded three minutes later and scored late in the frame to go ahead. There was some after-the-whistle chippiness and some stretches of disjointed play as the game wore on, but the Shipmen did enough to protect their margin.
“We obviously capitalized on a couple of scoring opportunities there and played pretty well down the stretch defensively…” Vandekamp said. “We hadn’t played our best game, but we sort of pulled it together in the latter stages and I thought held them down to not too many real quality chances.”
Shawn Guison, Clippers defenceman, said his team tried to play simple hockey.
“The start was kind of rough. We stuck through it, kept on working and got the win,” he said. “It was greasy, but we got it.”
Vandekamp said he hopes that successfully protecting a third-period lead will be a useful exercise for a young Clippers team.
“We’re learning lessons every day as a team right now,” he said.
Tristan Crozier scored two goals including the game-winner and Guison scored Nanaimo’s first goal. Austin Roden earned his third-straight win in his third-straight start, turning aside 29 shots as the Eagles outshot the Clippers 31-29.
The night before, Roden made 25 saves for the shutout. Vincent Millette, Crozier and Ben Solin, into an empty net, were Nanaimo’s scorers.
In other Clippers news, the team made a couple of transactions last week, acquiring defenceman Ian Beck from the Wenatchee Wild for future considerations and goaltender Evan DeBrouwer from Ontario’s Smiths Falls Bears, also for futures.
GAME ON … Next action for the Clippers is the annual BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack. Nanaimo takes on the Vernon Vipers on Friday (Sept. 23) at 1 p.m. and then faces the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on Saturday at 10 a.m.