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.