The Nanaimo Clippers are one win away from an Island title after edging ahead in their playoff series against the Powell River Kings.
The Clips clipped the Kings 2-1 on Thursday night in Game 5 at Frank Crane Arena and now lead the best-of-seven series three games to two.
“We played almost a full 60 minutes, I guess you could say,” said Brett Roulston, alternate captain. “We closed it out really well. We were consistent and positive and I really liked our attitude and our play throughout.”
The contest came two days after a controversial ending to Game 4 in Powell River, where the Clippers put the puck in the net twice in the last five minutes but had both goals disallowed.
“I thought we handled it pretty well,” Roulston said. “We had a little bit of a burr in our saddle, so we came out and played as hard as we could and I think we did a good job.”
The Kings struck first on Thursday as Jonny Evans scored midway through the first period.
But Nicolas Carrier evened the score 30 seconds into the second period and then Roulston scored the game winner on a rebound on the power play late in the second.
In the third, the Clippers weren’t content to sit back and protect the lead, and took the game to the Kings.
“We wanted to get on them, pressure their D and really get on the offensive side of the game and not give them a chance,” said Roulston.
Shots ended up 26-23 for the home team, with Guillaume Decelles earning the win for the Shipmen.
It was the fourth-straight game in the series with a 2-1 score, and the Clippers expect the next game to be just as challenging.
“We’re not done yet… we’re simply just not done yet,” said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach. “Those guys are good players on their side; they’re going to continue to battle and tomorrow’s a tough one.”
He said it will take Nanaimo’s best game to win, mentioning that the fourth game is the hardest to win in any playoff series.
“We’ve got to play like we can,” Roulston said. “We have a great team here. We all know what we have to do and go in that building and execute the same way we did tonight.”
GAME ON … The Clippers and Kings face off Friday (March 20) at 7:15 p.m. at Hap Parker Arena. Game 7, if necessary, would be back at Frank Crane Arena on Sunday at 7 p.m.
— Greg Sakaki (@BulletinSports) March 20, 2015