The Nanaimo Clippers have had some uneven efforts of late, but they think they know what needs to be done.
The Clips are getting ready for two more home games this weekend (Oct. 7-8) after dropping four of their last five games in B.C. Hockey League play. They’ve played some tough teams during that stretch, but the coach and players also feel there have been lapses in focus, work ethic and discipline.
“We need to work some stuff out,” said Adam Donnelly, Clippers alternate captain.
He said this past weekend, the team was able to make positive strides in a win over the Coquitlam Express, but didn’t bring its best effort in a loss the next day against the Vernon Vipers.
“We showed up at some parts of the game, but if we can have a complete 60-minute game, we’ll be good,” Donnelly said.
Taylor Karel, Clippers defenceman, said a lot of it comes down to how hard guys are willing to work.
“Saturday night we were real intense, we had a lot of energy, we went out there and we outworked them for the majority of the game, whereas we came out Sunday and that’s not what we did,” Karel said. “We’ve got to get back to working hard for a full 60 minutes and being intense and being ready to play.”
He said that can start during the practice week, with players battling hard against each other and bringing focus and attention to detail.
Discipline is another continued area of concern and Karel said the team has to play smarter.
“We’ve got to play hard whistle to whistle and stay out of the scraps and the scrums after the whistle,” he said. “And just keep our feet moving. The more we keep our feet moving, we’ll hopefully draw more penalties and keep ourselves out of the box if we stay on top of the other team instead of the other way around.”
Providing the opposition this week will be the Trail Smoke Eaters on Friday (Oct. 7) and the Powell River Kings on Saturday. The Clippers aren’t looking past the Smokies, but they’re looking forward to getting another crack at the Kings after losing by a blowout score last week at Powell River.
“When we played them last time, we know what happened, so now they’re in our home rink and we’ve got to show them what we can do,” Donnelly said.
Karel said there’s “a pretty strong rivalry” between the teams.
“It’s always hard-working, physical games,” he said. “We’ve got to go out there and we’ve got to skate hard and be hard to play against, be physical and we’ll be fine if we do that.”
GAME ON … The Clippers and Smoke Eaters face off Friday at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena. Saturday’s matchup against the Kings is a 6 p.m. start at Frank Crane. For ticket information, please visit www.nanaimoclippers.com.