The Nanaimo Clippers got pretty much what they would have expected, starting the season on the road against the Powell River Kings – close, hard-fought hockey games.
The Clips won one and lost one to start the B.C. Hockey League season, beating the Kings 2-1 in the season opener Saturday and then getting edged 3-2 in the following afternoon’s rematch.
“I thought the first game, we were great,” said Blake Clement, Clippers assistant coach. “We were physical, a lot of energy, it was a pretty good hockey game and it wasn’t that sloppy for the first game of the year.”
His team was down 1-0 after the first period of that one, but got second-period goals from Charley Borek and D.J. Petruzzelli and first-star goaltending from Jonathan Reinhart.
Sunday’s rematch went a little differently, with the Clippers twice tying the game before the Kings managed the game-winner in the third period.
Newly named Clippers captain Devin Brosseau had a goal and an assist, Yanni Kaldis also scored and Sheldon Rempal had two assists. Reinhart made 31 saves in defeat.
Clement felt his team regressed a little bit with its structure on Sunday.
“It was kind of disappointing,” Clement said. “I thought we’d improve after our first game, but it’s early in the year and we have a few new guys in the lineup, so you’ve got to expect those things.”
The Shipmen were able to score their goals in different ways the first weekend.
“Our forecheck is going to be important this year,” the assistant coach said. “We used it [to score] a couple times and retrieved pucks and had guys in the slot and got the puck off quick. If we’re supporting the puck in the offensive end and have a lot of bodies around the puck, we’re going to create a lot of offence.”
With some regular-season games under their belt now, the Clippers will have a better idea of some things they want to work on this week leading up to their first game at Frank Crane Arena.
“Everyone’s excited for the home opener,” Clement said. “It’s always an exciting atmosphere for everyone, including the fans. So hopefully we prepare properly and come out and have a really good performance.”
GAME ON … The Clippers play the Victoria Grizzlies on Friday (Sept. 18) at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena.