The Nanaimo Clippers weren’t able to maintain the level of hockey at which they’d been playing, and lost.
The Clips were defeated 3-1 by the Cowichan Valley Capitals on Wednesday at Frank Crane Arena.
Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach, said it was “a big-time letdown” and a step back after his team had swept an Interior road trip and won four straight before Wednesday.
“We’d played so much better than that. We’d raised the bar for ourselves…” Vandekamp said. “We’re far enough into the year now that we should be able to take a stride as a team like we did and be able to build off that and not go backwards.”
The coach didn’t think players’ second efforts were good enough and thought the power play looked blasé.
The Capitals, by taking the two points, climbed into a tie for first place in the Island Division. Caps forward Jared Domin said his team did all the little things it takes to win.
“We were hitting, really physical tonight, had a hard forecheck and were getting pucks into the zone and trying to stay out of the D zone tonight and played simple hockey and we came out with the outcome of a win,” Domin said.
David Silye scored Nanaimo’s only goal in the first period and Evan DeBrouwer made 21 saves as his team outshot the opposition 29-24.
For Cowichan, Nick Guerra, a former Clippers player who is now an affiliate with the Caps, scored the game-winning goal late in the second period. Domin and Rhett Kingston had the other goals and Lane Michasiw earned the win in net.
Clips add forward, lose forward
The Clippers had a new face in the lineup Wednesday as Tate Coughlin made his debut with the team. The 6-foot-2, 187-pound forward from Victoria was acquired from the Alberni Valley Bulldogs in exchange for future considerations.
Coughlin played two full seasons with the Kelowna Rockets the past two years.
“We want him to play a role here that’s going to get him back scoring goals like he used to and in order to do that, he’s going to have to play with energy and play hard. I think he showed some signs of that tonight,” Vandekamp said. “He’s got skill, he’s got a good shot and he’s got good size so I think if we can get him working hard, he should be a good player.”
The Clippers had a position in the lineup as top-line forward Lucas Finner was lost to an upper-body injury suffered in practice Tuesday. Vandekamp said it’s too bad because Finner had been playing so well and the forward lines had been developing chemistry.
GAME ON … The Clippers take on the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on Saturday (Oct. 22) at 6 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena.