The Christmas break is around the corner, but the Nanaimo Clippers will get there one shift at a time.
The Clippers felt they played a complete game Wednesday at Frank Crane Arena in a 3-1 win against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, the third-to-last game before a two-week break in the B.C. Hockey League schedule.
Nanaimo led 2-1 after one period, then maintained that margin until an insurance goal midway through the third.
“It was a great game top to bottom,” said Marcus Mitchell, Clippers captain. “We had our depth come through, which was huge. I think we had some great goaltending, our defence played solid and we put the puck in the net and it was just overall a great performance by us.”
He said going into the third with a one-goal lead, the Clippers tried to add to that while at the same time playing defensive hockey.
Thomas Samuelsen, Mitchell and Sammy Steele scored for Nanaimo and Jordan Naylor stopped 30 of 31 shots.
It was the second-straight win for the Clippers after they ended a long road trip last weekend with a win. Ken McPhalen, Clippers assistant coach, said a midweek game was a quick turnaround after the road trip, but his team was ready.
“To step into a game like this with such a close rival, we weren’t quite sure what the pace was going to look like, but the boys found it, we scored when we needed to and the rest was history,” McPhalen said.
Nanaimo has a home game Friday, Dec. 14, against the Victoria Grizzlies, then ends the pre-Christmas schedule Sunday on the road against the Bulldogs. While the holidays await, the Clippers won’t get ahead of themselves, McPhalen said.
“I think we’re pretty focused now,” he said. “We’re on a run of success and to have that is pretty important as we move forward, so I don’t see any letting off the gas here.”
“We’re here to play hockey,” the captain said. “We’re a hard-working team and we’re putting our nose to the grind and we’re not going to quit until after the final buzzer on Sunday.”
GAME ON … The Clippers and Grizzlies play Friday at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena. For ticket information, visit www.nanaimoclippers.com.