The Nanaimo Clippers are winning every game they play as the post-season approaches.
The city’s B.C. Hockey League club won its ninth straight on Wednesday, defeating the Chilliwack Chiefs 4-1 at Frank Crane Arena.
Two second-period power-play goals staked Nanaimo to a 2-1 lead, the Clippers extended their lead on a rush early in the third and then carried the play the rest of the way to ice the win.
“We had a slow start, [goalie] Taz [Burman] kept us in it for sure and then we definitely took over as it went on,” said Cal Babych, the game’s first star. “Just picking our energy level up was a big thing.”
The Clippers had great success moving the puck through the neutral zone, as their passes were clicking, and when the pass didn’t quite click, the Clips would win a race and gain puck possession anyway.
“We can kind of inter-match everybody right now – they know each other really well,” said Darren Naylor, Clippers coach. “It looked good tonight.”
Cal Babych, Maxwell Crozier, Tristan Crozier and Brady Lynn scored for Nanaimo and Burman made 27 saves as shots were 32-28 in favour of the home team.
“This is definitely the time where you want to get hot and I think that’s nine in a row now, so that’s pretty good, and I think everything’s just kind of clicking for us going into playoffs,” Babych said.
The two points lifted the Clippers into a three-way tie for first place atop the Island Division, but they have just one more game left to add to that, while the Powell River Kings and Victoria Grizzlies have games in hand.
“It’s kind of out of our hands, so we just want to continue to win and be rolling the way we are into playoffs,” Naylor said. “That’s all we can control right now.”
GAME ON … The Clippers conclude the regular season this Friday, Feb. 23, with a game against the Surrey Eagles at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena. For ticket information, visit www.nanaimoclippers.com or call 250-751-0593.