Clippers give up too many chances in losses

The Nanaimo Clippers lost 3-1 to the Cowichan Valley Capitals on Friday and then 4-2 to the West Kelowna Warriors on Saturday.

Nanaimo Clippers player Korey Morgan

Nanaimo Clippers player Korey Morgan

The Nanaimo Clippers were competitive, but didn’t come up with the results they wanted on the weekend. The Clips dropped back-to-back home games at Frank Crane Arena, losing 3-1 to the Cowichan Valley Capitals on Friday night and then 4-2 to the West Kelowna Warriors on Saturday.

The Shipmen played with energy in the loss to the Warriors, erasing a 2-0 first-period deficit, but the visitors pounced on some prime scoring chances in the third period.

“We were working hard and we had a lot of passion, it was just a couple of mental breakdowns that we had in the defensive zone where they got a good opportunity and they finished,” said Korey Morgan, Clippers forward.

Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach, suggested that special teams were a main factor in the game as West Kelowna was 2-for-7 with the man advantage and Nanaimo was 0-for-4.

“We played a pretty good game today, we just didn’t execute in a couple of key situations,” Vandekamp said. “We wanted to bring more passion and more work ethic and enthusiasm to the table and I thought we did that.”

Anthony Sabitsky got his team on the board midway through the game when he found a loose puck in the slot and backhanded it in. Morgan added a shorthanded goal three minutes later, winning a battle along the wall, creating a partial breakaway and depositing the puck five-hole to make the score 2-2.

Goalie Jayson Argue made 36 saves in the loss as the Clips were outshot 40-30.

The day before, Nanaimo’s Brendan Taylor scored late in the second period to make for a one-goal game going into the third period, but Cowichan tallied on the power play midway through the final frame.

Argue made 29 stops as his team outshot the Caps 33-32.

Vandekamp said the close losses are frustrating, but said players are keeping the right frame of mind as they look to get better over the course of a long season.

“It’s building blocks for us right now,” he said. “There’s a really large number of players that are really in their infancy stages as players in our league … Every game we’ve lost this year, we could have won. So it gives you a pretty good feeling of where you can build to as long as you stay positive and keep working hard as a team.”

GAME ON … The Clippers visit the Victoria Grizzlies on Friday (Oct. 11) at Bear Mountain Arena, then host the Capitals on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena.