The Nanaimo Clippers showed last time out that they can sure get up for a big game.
The city’s B.C. Hockey League club (6-4-0-1) is coming off a 4-2 upset over the defending-champion Penticton Vees last weekend.
Tonight (Oct. 20) is another big one, with Bill Bestwick’s Victoria Grizzlies (8-4-0-1) coming to Frank Crane Arena. The teams met once this season already, a game that the Clips took 4-2 in front of a buzzing crowd.
Clippers forward Reid Sturos said the team does get more excited for the big games.
“You always look at those games and think, OK, we’ve got to play our best,” he said. “I guess we should think that for every game, but those games you obviously get up a little more and it gets a little more intense.”
Sturos said the rivalry with the Grizzlies should spark the Clippers tonight.
“We’ll come out flying with hard work and see how it goes from there,” he said.
The key to slowing down the Grizz is trying to shut down Gerry, Myles and Leo Fitzgerald.
“Those three are highly offensively skilled players, but it’s not just them, it’s their whole team,” said Jayson Argue, Clippers goalie. “They’ve got a good team over there so we know we have to match their work ethic and match their skill. I know that we can do that because we’ve done it before. Hopefully we’ll get the same result.”
As always, the Clips worry more about their own game than their opponents’ tactics.
“We’ve just got to keep playing the way we are,” said Greg Trichilo, Clippers forward. “We’re hitting kids, we’re getting shots. We’re really good on the penalty kill and … we’ll keep ’er going on the power play.”
GAME ON … The Clippers and the Grizzlies face off tonight at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena. Tickets at the door.