The Nanaimo Clippers’ win streak came to an end in a flurry of goal scoring.
The Clips defeated the Merritt Centennials 7-5 on Friday night to extend their win streak to 10 games, but then lost to the West Kelowna Warriors the next night by a 7-4 score.
The game against the Cents featured the teddy bear toss at Frank Crane Arena, and the Clips didn’t waste any time as Yanni Kaldis scored on the first shot of the hockey game, just 41 seconds into the first period. Hundreds of plush toys were tossed on the ice for the Great Nanaimo Toy Drive, but after a pause to pick up the stuffies, the goal scoring continued at both ends of the ice.
Kaldis ended up with two goals and two assists and Devin Brosseau also scored a pair. Other scorers were Nolan Aibel, Matt Hoover and Chris Dodero. Jakob Walter picked up the win, stopping 17 of 18 shots he faced in a relief effort.
The next night, in another home game at Frank Crane, the Clips built a 3-1 lead but were unable to hang on.
“After that, we kind of thought we had it in the bag…” said Rempal. “That’s unacceptable. We’ve got to have the killer instinct.”
Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach, said his team was too easy to score against.
“They were getting it through with traffic and it was finding its way in,” he said. “Little battles have got to be won first. We lost some faceoffs, lost some little battles, spent a little bit more time in our own end. We just didn’t play good enough.”
The coach said the team is disappointed because of the way it lost.
“A 10-game winning streak comes to an end in your own building in a game that you had a 3-1 lead, that’s pretty disappointing,” he said.
Rempal scored twice, including a lacrosse-style goal, and Dodero and Court also tallied. Kaldis had three assists. Walter suffered the loss in goal.
Rempal said the team hadn’t been playing its best hockey during the weekend, “so maybe it was coming to us. We’ve just got to learn from it and hopefully start another streak here.”
He said the players liked coming to the rink during the win streak, and Vandekamp said a lot of positives came out of the 10 wins in a row.
“I think we’re a lot more confident a team now than we were three or four weeks ago,” he said. “We’ve learned a lot about winning and it’s good for a team.”
Nanaimo has a chance to get right back out on the ice, as it hosts a midweek tilt against the Cowichan Valley Capitals on Wednesday (Dec. 16) at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena.
“We’re looking forward to that one and getting back on track,” Vandekamp said. “You should see our best effort that night, I would imagine.”