The Nanaimo Clippers were able to hold the fort and won another playoff game.
The Clips defeated the Powell River Kings 2-1 on Saturday at Frank Crane Arena and now lead the best-of-seven Island final two games to none.
The game was as close as the score suggests, and the Paper Kings put the pressure on in the third period to try to get the tying goal. Clippers forwards and defencemen blocked all kinds of shots, goalie Guillaume Decelles handled the rest, and the home team held on.
“That was more of a playoff game for you,” said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach. “That was a 2-1 battle-it-out-to-the-finish sort of a game.”
He said Game 2 was a tale of two halves, with Nanaimo buzzing to build a 2-0 lead before a Powell River power-play goal midway through the second reversed the flow.
“We did get pushed back a little bit more than you would have ever wanted to, but I thought we handled the situation well inside of our own end,” the coach said.
Jacob Hanlon, Clippers forward, said even when the Kings were pressing, his team tried to stick to its game. Protecting a lead by blocking shots and showing heart is part of playoff hockey, he said.
“You’re looking to just get in front of every puck because you don’t know which one’s going to be the one that goes in,” he said.
Hanlon opened the scoring with a wraparound goal five minutes into the first period and Anthony Rinaldi tallied late in the first as part of a first-star effort. Jarid Lukosevicius scored Powell River’s goal. Decelles made 34 saves and his counterpart Brett Magnus made 32 saves.
Nanaimo will now take its series lead on the road to Powell River. The Clips can draw from their experience in the first round, when they let the Alberni Valley Bulldogs back into that series.
“We’re going to go play hard no matter what,” said Mike Vandekamp. “But I think it’s in the back of your mind. That was a good lesson to learn.”
Hanlon said his team definitely learned from Round 1.
“It’s called a series for a reason,” he said. “Every game matters and whether you have the lead or not, you’ve just got to play every game like it’s your last one.”
GAME ON … The Clippers and Kings play Monday (March 16) and Tuesday at Powell River’s Hap Parker Arena. Puck drop is at 7 p.m. both nights. Game 5, if necessary, would be back at Frank Crane Arena on Thursday at 7 p.m.
— Greg Sakaki (@BulletinSports) March 15, 2015