The speakers at the arena weren’t working, but the home team made sure the fans had plenty opportunities to make it a noisy night at the rink.
The Nanaimo Clippers defeated the Surrey Eagles 7-4 in Game 2 of the playoffs on Saturday, April 2, to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Colin Birkas, Clippers coach, said his team played “good enough to win,” with some big saves and timely goals.
“When you’re confident, the pucks seem to find their way through the goalies,” Birkas said. “I thought we were fortunate, but I thought we made them pay on their mistakes.”
Jérémie Payant, the game’s first star, said the Clippers tried to put pucks on net and crash the net hard. Having so many contributors in a high-scoring win has the team in high spirits at this stage of the series.
“It’s amazing for the team, everyone’s happy in the room, happy faces everywhere,” Payant said.
He and Kai Daniells each scored twice, Sean Donaldson had a goal and two assists, Cole Hansen and Brody Waters also tallied and Jake Hewitt and Andrew Noel had two assists each. Goaltender Cooper Black was busy as his team was outshot 42-30.
In Game 1, Donaldson, Waters and Austin Spiridakis scored and Black was the winning goalie as the Clippers were outshot 24-22.
The series now moves to Game 3 and Payant said the Clippers will have to be up to the challenge of playing on the Eagles’ larger ice surface.
“We’re going to have to have a lot of speed and take advantage of our chances,” he said. “And they’re going to come hard, so we’ve got to play hard, too.
Birkas said the Clippers will have to be ready to play a “more and more desperate team” that won’t want its post-season to end. The Clippers will treat the trip as business, he said, and look to play “good, clean, mistake-free hockey.”
“We need to realize we’re not going to Surrey to put on a show for anybody,” Birkas said. “We’re going there to simplify our game, execute and if we gain an opportunity to score, we’ll score, but more of an emphasis on managing the puck, more of an emphasis on not letting them get free looks at the net.”
GAME ON … Game 3 and Game 4 will be Monday and Tuesday, April 4-5, in Surrey. Game 5, if necessary, will be Friday, April 8, at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena.