Back on home ice this past weekend, the Nanaimo Clippers skated away from any notions of a slump.
The Clips blew out the Powell River Kings 6-1 on Friday night at Frank Crane Arena.
The Clippers, who sewed up first place two weeks ago, outplayed the Kings, a squad that is still jostling for position in the standings. Mike Vandekamp, Nanaimo coach, said his team was good at all areas of the ice and all facets of the game, and said it was important after three road losses the previous weekend.
“The key was to bounce back…” said Devin Brosseau, Clippers alternate captain. “We practised hard all week and just wanted to get back at it. We want to get back on track for playoffs so we played our hearts out tonight.”
It was a complete game, he said, compared to recent losses.
“Some games we didn’t work hard enough and then some games we worked hard but just not smart. You just want to combine both of those things,” Brosseau said.
He led the offence with a goal and three assists, Sheldon Rempal had a goal and two assists and Cole Maier, Nick Gushue, Jake Jackson and Jacob Hanlon were other scorers. Guillaume Decelles stopped 33 of 34 shots.
Brosseau said the offensive success came from keeping things simple – speed, traffic, shots and rebounds.
The two points don’t matter much, but Friday’s win was the sort of game that can help the Clips at this juncture, Vandekamp said.
“As a coach you always believe in your team and you kind of feel good about your chances, I think, but as a player, you don’t want too much negativity creeping in late in the season,” he said. “So I think it was an important game for that reason. Especially with the offensive players being able to score some goals, that’s all confidence-boosting type stuff.”
The Clippers will try to carry it over for one final weekend before post-season hockey faces off.
“The mental edge is a big part of the game,” said Brosseau. “With two games until playoffs, obviously you want to win those and build that momentum in the room and that positive mental edge.”
GAME ON … The Clippers play the Victoria Grizzlies on Friday (Feb. 27) at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena, then end the regular season the next night with a rematch down the Malahat.
— Greg Sakaki (@BulletinSports) February 21, 2015