The Nanaimo Clippers were perfect on a road trip to the Interior, and they’re now a win away from first place.
The Clips won all three of their games this past weekend, defeating the Trail Smoke Eaters 4-3 on Friday, shutting out the Penticton Vees 3-0 on Saturday and then edging the Merritt Centennials 3-2 in double overtime on Sunday.
The win against the B.C. Hockey League’s first-place Vees saw the Clips prevail despite being outshot 46-17. Evan DeBrouwer earned his first shutout as a Clipper in a first-star performance.
Fred Harbinson, Vees coach, said the opposing goalie played a heck of a game.
“One of those games where we couldn’t score and they got their timely goals and played a good road game,” he said.
Tristan Crozier led Nanaimo’s offence as he was in on all three goals, opening the scoring in the first period and then assisting on third-period markers by Will LeNeave and Spencer Hewson.
The next day, the Clippers needed to play more than 60 minutes to close out their three days of hockey. Lucas Finner scored the game-winning goal midway through the second overtime period.
Matt Kowalski also scored for Nanaimo and Austin Roden made 37 saves as shots ended up 40-39 in favour of the Shipmen.
The first game of the road trip was a back-and-forth affair, with Nanaimo opening a 3-0 lead and then surrendering three straight before Jake Harris scored the game-winning goal with five minutes left.
The Clippers got earlier goals from Sean Buchanan, LeNeave and Kowalski and DeBrouwer made 28 saves. Shots were 31-31.
Nanaimo’s victories, combined with other weekend results around the league, allowed the Clippers to climb to within two points of first place in the Island Division.
GAME ON … The Clips and Cowichan Valley Capitals play Wednesday (Oct. 19) at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena; the winner will get a share of first place in the division … Nanaimo is also home this Saturday (Oct. 22) for a 6 p.m. game against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.
-files from Emanuel Sequeira/Black Press
Lucas Finner scores a game-winner in OT as the Clippers beat the Cents 3-2 to win all three on an Interior road trip. Gary Dorland photo… pic.twitter.com/JDe4PtuaIF
— Greg Sakaki (@BulletinSports) October 17, 2016