Clippers iron out crease

Goaltender Billy Faust getting into a rhythm with consecutive starts.

Nanaimo Clippers goalie Billy Faust clears a Cowichan Valley Capitals opponent away from the crease during a pre-season game earlier this month at Frank Crane Arena.

Nanaimo Clippers goalie Billy Faust clears a Cowichan Valley Capitals opponent away from the crease during a pre-season game earlier this month at Frank Crane Arena.

It’s never the goalie’s fault.

That’s the first piece of goaltending advice Billy Faust ever heard, back when he was eight years old, playing defence for the Anaheim Mission Bulldogs roller hockey team in southern California.

It’s never the goalie’s fault. That sounded pretty good to him, and so he gave the new position a try.

Twelve years later, Faust is still manning the goal crease. He’s switched to ice hockey and moved to Canada, where he’s now a member of the Nanaimo Clippers of the B.C. Hockey League. He’s bigger, older and wiser. And he’s learned that the advice he got as a kid was dead wrong.

“There’s definitely times where it’s the goalie’s fault,” he said.

And that’s OK. He and his Nanaimo Clippers have championship aspirations in 2011-12, so they’re all willing to be accountable on the ice.

Goaltending is a strength on any successful team, says coach Mike Vandekamp, and it can be a strength in Nanaimo. Right now, Faust is the go-to guy. After a solid performance in an overtime loss to start the season, he got another start the next night, and is slated to start the home opener Friday (Sept. 30), too.

“You know he’s ready to play all the time and he’s going to be sharp,” Vandekamp said.

The coach said most of all he wants consistency from the goaltending position. Ideally he doesn’t want the Clippers to be allowing anything but shots from the perimeter anyway.

That’s the defence-first style he pitched to Faust when he convinced the veteran to report to Nanaimo after a trade with the Penticton Vees.

The 20-year-old had been caught off-guard by the trade and wasn’t sold on the Clippers – he wanted to give himself the best chance to end off his junior career with a championship, and he was worried that playing for a rebuilding team might also hurt his chances at an NCAA scholarship.

“He assured me that we’re going for a championship here…” said Faust. “He said, ‘Your job’s going to be really easy out there. We’re going to make you look as good as you can.’”

The coach didn’t make promises about playing time, but told Faust he’d get his opportunities.

“He did say when it comes down to it, if I’m playing well, I’m going to be going. If I’m not playing well I don’t expect to play, but if I am on fire and I’m ready to go, then I want to play.”

Vandekamp said Faust has been a leader on the team, showing great work ethic at practice. The vet said goalies have to be leaders.

“Your team has to be able to trust you back there, and you have to be aware of everything that’s going on on the ice,” he said. “If they see you in the back end making those saves, they decide to pick it up.”

Maybe they can pick it up all the way to championship calibre. Faust can compare the Clippers with the very good Vees team he played for last year.

“We have what it takes to be a contending team,” he said. “We have guys with heart and they work as hard as they can and they go all the way to the wall, and over.”

GAME ON … The Clippers play the Cowichan Valley Capitals on Friday at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena. There will be a tailgate party in the parking lot before the game. For more on the home opener, please click here … The Clips then visit the Victoria Grizzlies Saturday (Oct. 1).

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

Just Posted

Regional District of Nanaimo is seeking input from the public for its transit redevelopment strategy. (News Bulletin file)
Public input sought as RDN works on transit redevelopment strategy

RDN wants to know where people want bus stops, shelters and pedestrian and cycling connections

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Nanaimo residents on edge of city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Nanaimo artist Dave Stevens is displaying paintings inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River at Nanaimo Harbourfront Library from now until the end of fall. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo writer and artist’s work goes up at Harbourfront library

Dave Stevens presents work inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River

The courthouse in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo man, already in jail, found guilty of sexual abuse of sons

Man previously sentenced for sexual interference involving girl in Nanaimo

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps near Nanaimo

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read