The Nanaimo Clippers led the Powell River Kings from start to finish and secured a Game 1 victory.
The Clips beat the Kings 4-1 in the first game of the Island Division final on Friday night at Frank Crane Arena.
“They’re a good team, so the game kind of went back and forth getting momentum,” said Spencer Hewson, Clippers forward. “We locked it down at the end there like we wanted to in the last 10 … We had some really big plays from some guys.”
Hewson opened the scoring in the series, creating traffic in front and directing a puck five-hole. Lucas Finner scored a similar goal in the second period.
Powell River had the edge in zone time to start the third period and Kyle Betts of the Kings tallied to make the score 2-1, but the Clippers responded, battling willingly along the boards and protecting the lead. Devin Brosseau eventually cashed in on a two-on-one rush and then Gavin Gould added an empty-netter.
Evan Johnson made 30 saves for the win and Jeff Smith made 29 saves in defeat.
“I thought it was typically tight, chances were hard to come by,” said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach. “An evenly played game and I would expect that the whole series will be that way.”
The coach said the Game 1 win is important, and said it’s good to know that the Clippers were able to win while at the same time knowing they can play better.
“”It’s just a start, so we have to try to play better tomorrow,” he said. “That’s really important in a playoff series is that you improve from one game to the next.”
GAME ON … The Clippers and Kings play Game 2 on Saturday (March 19) at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena.
— Greg Sakaki (@BulletinSports) March 19, 2016