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Clippers, Kings nearing faceoff

The Nanaimo Clippers begin a best-of-seven series this Friday (March 18) against the Powell River Kings.

They won one series and now they have a chance to win the Island title.

The Nanaimo Clippers begin a best-of-seven series this Friday (March 18) against the Powell River Kings with the B.C. Hockey League’s Island Division championship on the line.

It’s a rematch of last spring’s division final, when the Shipmen prevailed.

“For the guys returning, we sure remember it,” said Kale Bennett, Clippers alternate captain. “We went seven games with them so we’re not going to forget that.”

And even for newcomers to the two teams, they’ll know the history and look forward to playing a part in the rematch.

“Obviously the veteran players that are on Powell right now are seeking some revenge, and we’re looking to defend the Island championship title here so the guys are pretty excited about that,” said Devin Brosseau, Clippers captain. “We’re a different team, it’s a different series, but I think that hate for them, that rivalry is still there.”

The Clips and Kings are the Island finalists that were expected, as the teams finished one-two in the division in the regular season.

“During the season we were pretty evenly matched, so it should be a pretty good series to watch,” Bennett said.

He predicted it would be more physical than Nanaimo’s first-round series, and Brosseau anticipates “good, hard, systematic” play.

“And both teams have great goaltending and great defence and a bit of spark up front, so it should make for an exciting matchup,” he said.

The Island finalists are two of only six teams still standing in the BCHL playoffs. With that in mind, it’s easy for the Clippers to get excited about what’s to come.

“We’re trying to take it day by day,” Brosseau said. “Obviously thoughts are all over the place at this point, but that’s my job as captain and we’ve got other leaders in the room to tell the guys to settle in … and be ready for puck drop.”

GAME ON … The Clippers and Kings face off in Game 1 on Friday at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena, and Game 2 will be Saturday, also a 7 p.m. start at Frank Crane. The series will then move to Powell River’s Hap Parker Arena for games on Monday and Tuesday.