The Nanaimo Clippers had a difficult night, suffering another loss and another injury.
The Clips were beaten 5-2 by the Victoria Grizzlies on Wednesday at Frank Crane Arena on a night when nothing was going right.
The Shipmen had an excellent scoring chance early in the game, but missed the net and instead it was the Grizzlies who went on to score the first goal of the game and build a 4-0 lead by the five-minute mark of the second period.
Early in the second frame, Clippers forward Vincent Millette sustained a serious facial injury as he went to get in front of a shot attempt and the puck rose sharply.
“Guys get banged up, guys get hurt playing hockey, but when there’s a scary injury, it does put a damper on things, for sure,” said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach. “Vinny’s going to be OK, so that’s good, but nobody wants to see something like that and it does take away from the game a little bit, I think, for both sides.”
The Clippers mustered some pushback in the third period with goals from Matt Kowalski and David Silye, but never really threatened. Vandekamp said it was the start of the game that was his team’s downfall. He didn’t feel like guys were ready.
“I honestly think that we still don’t believe in ourselves enough internally,” the coach said. “Our players need to do a better job of building confidence in themselves, believing in themselves and playing that way.”
Vandekamp said at this time of year, past the halfway point in the season, all players have to playing like veterans because junior hockey doesn’t wait around for players to develop slowly.
“You’ve got to be quick, because the points are important… and you don’t get to make excuses,” he said.
GAME ON … The Clippers play the Wenatchee Wild on Friday (Dec. 9) at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena. It’s Teddy Bear Toss night, so fans are asked to bring a new plush toy to the game and then throw the stuffies on the ice when the Clippers score their first goal of the game.