There were no close games for the Nanaimo Clippers this weekend.
The city’s BCHL team blew out the Merritt Centennials 7-0 on Sunday at Frank Crane Arena after the Clips had lost by a lopsided 6-1 score versus the Chilliwack Chiefs on Friday on home ice.
“It was a must-win and I think we came out and had a good response,” said Matt Creamer, Clippers alternate captain. “We played pretty close to a 60-minute game. We needed it.”
Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach, said the players and the coaching staff were disappointed after Friday’s game.
“But we sure showed a different attitude and spirit here this afternoon, so I’m pretty happy with the way that we showed up and played,” he said.
Vandekamp said the Clippers tried to simplify things from game to game and get back to basics, prioritizing half a dozen fundamentals such as skating, forechecking and winning one-on-one battles.
“And another big one was our spirit and our passion,” the coach said. “On Friday night we looked nervous and squeezing our sticks instead of just hanging it out there and playing.”
Creamer said Nanaimo played a sound game defensively on Sunday against the Cents.
“Obviously when the other team puts a zero up, you did something right in the defensive zone,” he said. “Our goalie played well and we played well in front of him.”
It helped that Nanaimo scored five first-period goals to build an insurmountable margin.
“We were just throwing more pucks on net than we had in the past couple games and it really helped us,” Creamer said. “We got their first goalie out of there and just kind of kept our foot on the pedal.”
He led his team with two goals and other scorers were Vincent Millette, Shawn Guison, David Silye, Matt Kowalski and Spencer Hewson. Austin Roden made 23 saves for the shutout as shots ended 32-23 in favour of the home team.
In Friday’s loss, Ben Solin was the only Nanaimo scorer and Evan DeBrouwer suffered the loss. Shots were 28-27 for the Chiefs in that one.
Next action for Nanaimo is a midweek test Wednesday (Nov. 9) on the road against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. Vandekamp said he’d like to see his team continue to keep things simple and bring the right attitude and enthusiasm into puck drop.
“You have to learn from your wins as much as from your losses,” he said. “It appears that we learned from our loss fairly well, now we’ve got to learn from this win.”
GAME ON … Wednesday’s game at Alberni is the first of three this week for the Clippers, who then visit the Cowichan Valley Capitals on Friday before returning home to take on the Langley Rivermen on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena.
— Greg Sakaki (@BulletinSports) November 7, 2016