The Nanaimo Clippers couldn’t get going in time to make a game of it against the Vernon Vipers.
The Vipers beat the Clips 5-3 in B.C. Hockey League play Sunday afternoon at Frank Crane Arena. The Shipmen fell behind 5-0 before scoring three quick ones in the last few minutes.
“Yeah, we scored some goals late in the third and that’s great, but at the end of the day you need to play 60 minutes,” said Spencer Hewson, Clippers captain.
The visitors scored twice on a four-minute power play in the first period and Clippers coach Mike Vandekamp said that was an early turning point in the game – he didn’t like that his team took the penalty and he didn’t like the way they couldn’t kill it.
Though Nanaimo was better in the second period, Vernon scored on the first shift of the third period, extended their lead from there and the Shipmen couldn’t push back until the game was out of reach.
“What you’ve seen early on in the season is kind of what a young team will look like, I think,” Vandekamp said. “There’s been some real good moments, but there’s been some not-so-good moments. So I guess we strive for consistency next.”
He said his team has the capability of winning games against good teams.
“We need some of our players to play with more confidence, both mentally and physically,” the coach said. “There’s pressure to win games; you have to be able to handle that … and physically, you’ve got to have the confidence to get in there and compete harder.”
Hewson said the Clippers players need to take individual responsibility to always be ready to play.
“It just comes back to a bit of maturity and a bit of professionalism to put your best foot forward each time you step on the ice,” he said.
Matt Kowalski scored Nanaimo’s first goal Sunday as a point shot ricocheted off the end boards overtop of the goal and bounced right into the slot. Adam Donnelly added his first goal as a Clipper on a one-on-one rush and then Ben Solin rounded out the scoring on a scramble outside the crease. Evan DeBrouwer made 21 saves in defeat.
For the Vipers, Christian Cakebread had two goals and Brett Stapley, Jagger Williamson and Levi Johnson were other scorers. Ty Taylor made 24 saves for the win.
The day before, the Clippers were 4-1 winners against the Coquitlam Express in what Vandekamp called a complete game. Shots were 45-28 in favour of Nanaimo and 22-5 in a strong first period. Lucas Finner, Kowalski, Taylor Karel and Tristan Crozier scored goals and Austin Roden made 27 saves for the win.
Express goalie Reid Cooper made 41 saves in the loss and David Giunta scored his team’s goal.
GAME ON … The Clippers play two more home games this coming weekend (Oct. 7-8), hosting the Trail Smoke Eaters on Friday and the Powell River Kings on Saturday.
— Greg Sakaki (@BulletinSports) October 3, 2016