Nanaimo Clippers forward Scott Mahovlich, right, gets past Vernon Vipers opponent Brett Fudger during Sunday’s BCHL game at Frank Crane Arena. (GREG SAKAKI/News Bulletin photo/illustration)

Clippers shut out Vipers, climb to first place

Nanaimo beats Vernon 5-0 in BCHL action Sunday at Frank Crane Arena

The Nanaimo Clippers scored a shutout win that lifted them into first place.

The Shipment are tied atop the B.C. Hockey League’s Island Division after shutting out the Vernon Vipers 5-0 on Sunday at Frank Crane Arena.

“We really made sure that we focused before the game, had a good start, I think we really showed that…” said Cade Cavallini, Clippers forward. “We just kept hitting and kept doing the stuff we were doing.”

The Shipmen knew there was room for improvement following a 3-2 overtime loss to the Victoria Grizzlies two nights earlier at Frank Crane.

“We refocused and I could tell when we got to the rink today, guys were sharp and ready to go,” said Colin Birkas, Clippers assistant coach. “I think we committed to 20 guys being physical and we wanted to see if [the Vipers] would pay the price after three games in three nights and I think we wore them down.”

He said the Clippers’ goals came the “old-fashioned way,” by putting pucks toward the goalie’s skates and driving to the net. Cavallini said the Clippers’ offence was sparked by its play at both ends of the ice.

“We really had a good transition today and good defence mades good offence. We played well in our D zone, our defence were really getting the puck up and that helps the offence create…” he said. “And we were hitting, we got down low, kept possession and we got some in.”

Kyler Kovich, Travis Walton, Cavallini, Ethan Scardina and Steven Agriogianis scored for Nanaimo and Zachary Bennett made 24 saves for the shutout.

In the overtime loss Friday, Sean Donaldson and Liam Ryan scored and Jordan Naylor made 29 saves as his team outshot the Grizzlies 43-32.

GAME ON … The Clippers host the Coquitlam Express on Wednesday, Oct. 30, at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena. Nanaimo is also home Friday, Nov. 1, to face the Alberni Valley Bulldogs at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane, and on Sunday, Nov. 3, for a 2 p.m. game against the Powell River Kings at Frank Crane.

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