The Nanaimo Clippers only needed a few minutes of good hockey to beat the Quesnel Millionaires. They know they won’t always be so fortunate.
After opening up a 5-0 lead on the visitors by the one-minute mark of the second period, the Shipmen needed a game-winning goal in double-overtime from Kyle Kramer to escape with a 6-5 victory.
“We came out strong and finished our chances early and that saved us in the end,” said Andrew Gladiuk, Clippers alternate captain. “But we’ve got to be better at sticking to our game and not getting lazy or careless when we get up a few goals.”
Early on, it didn’t look as though the teams were evenly matched. Nanaimo scored three goals in the first three minutes of the first period as Yannick LaFlamme, Gerry Fitzgerald and then Gladiuk all tallied.
Nanaimo started to get sloppy after that, but managed to add to their lead late in the period when Gladiuk was left alone in the slot, then again early in the second when Graeme McCormack blasted home a power-play point shot.
But the Millionaires, who did an excellent job clogging the neutral zone, kept plugging away.
“If you allow a team like that to hang around and hang around and hang around, they will,” said Michael Olson, Clippers assistant coach. “They’re an opportunistic hockey club. They keep things simple, they keep everything in front of them and they did that tonight.”
The Millionaires tied it with four minutes left, had a couple of chances at a regulation victory, and had the better of the first overtime period. But the Clippers took back the run of play in double-OT and were rewarded when Kramer banged in a loose puck from a tricky angle on a rush with Colton Cyr.
“I feel we did steal the two points,” Olson said. “It’s really difficult to pick any positives out of tonight’s game.”
Final shots were 39-37 in favour of Quesnel. Charles-Alexy Premont was the winning goalie.
GAME ON … The Clippers host the Merritt Centennials on Friday (Nov. 19) at 7:10 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena, then visit the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Port Alberni.