The Nanaimo Clippers can’t be beat in OT.
The Clips won another overtime game on Friday night at Frank Crane Arena, getting past the Victoria Grizzlies 3-2.
Sheldon Rempal did it all himself on the winning goal early in double overtime, winding up in the neutral zone, splitting the defence and chipping the puck up over the goalie and in from a tough angle at the side of the net.
“I saw some ice and took it and kind of burst a little speed at the blueline there and was able to sneak through and sneak that one in,” Rempal said.
He had played a lot of minutes in the first OT period and coach Mike Vandekamp kept his top goal scorer out for 2OT.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to go with that hunch, because he’s scored lots of big goals for us in overtime,” Vandekamp said.
Nanaimo is 5-0 this season in extra time and the coach said when the game reaches that point, his team has confidence.
“We do now, I guess, because we have been able to build a little bit of a streak in overtime,” he said. “We’ve been able to score goals all year and it becomes a little bit of a goal scorer’s game at that point, a playmaker’s game and that’s kind of why we’ve been able to do it so far.”
It was Rempal’s third OT winner of the season and he mentioned, too, that confidence is a big part of Nanaimo’s success when the games get to sudden death.
“It’s kind of a big pat on the back when we keep winning in overtime like that and we kind of know we’re going to win,” Rempal said.
It was a comeback victory for the Clippers, who fell behind in the first period after a flukey bounce put them down 2-0. Even though the Grizz had the territorial edge in the second period and hit two posts, the Clips tied things up, getting a short-handed goal from Jacob Hanlon and then a game-tying marker from Cole Maier.
In the third period Nanaimo, and especially Rempal, had chances to win it. Goalie Guillaume Decelles made a key save in overtime and ended up with the win as shots were 27-27.
Friday’s win was the second straight against divisional opponents during a busy stretch of rivalry games.
“We want to have a winning record against every team in our division this year and that’s not going to be an easy challenge. There’s good teams in our division,” said Vandekamp.
GAME ON … The Clippers visit the Alberni Valley Bulldogs tonight (Nov. 29) at 7 p.m. at Weyerhaeuser Arena.