The Nanaimo Clippers had an eventful road trip to the Interior, with lots of goals, lots of penalties and one win.
The Clips began the trip with a 6-2 loss to the Vernon Vipers on Friday, then fell 7-4 the next night to the Salmon Arm SilverBacks before defeating the Merritt Centennials in Sunday’s finale, 7-3.
“I think we weren’t ready for that trip,” said Devin Brosseau, Clippers captain. “We started off really badly the first two games. I don’t think we were focused.”
Spencer Hewson, Clippers veteran, said the team had penalty trouble, but said it’s no excuse for surrendering that many goals. The Clippers can be better at avoiding penalties, he said.
“It’s just working hard and making sure that you’re smart with keeping your stick down, making sure you’re not reaching into the play too much,” said Hewson. “But other than that, it’s just hoping the ref’s not calling it.”
Brosseau said a lot of the penalties were “frustration penalties” that the Clippers took when they trailed in games.
“You want to see emotion in the game, but you don’t want to see frustration, so we’ve got to focus on that,” he said.
Ending off the trip with a win was huge, said players.
“We had to. It was a must,” Brosseau said. “We’ll try to find a positive in that and go from there.”
In Friday’s game at Vernon, Zach Court and Brosseau scored for Nanaimo. Goaltender Jakob Walter suffered the loss and also high-sticked a Vipers opponent, an offence for which he was issued a six-game suspension.
Saturday’s game saw Matthew Hoover score two goals, with Hewson and Sheldon Rempal also tallying. Jonathan Reinhart took the loss and was injured late in the game.
Call-up goalie Austin Roden got the start and the win on Sunday, making 28 saves as the power play was 4-for-5. Brosseau had two goals, Rempal had a goal and two helpers and D.J. Petruzzelli, Charley Borek, Will Reilly and Hoover also scored. Yanni Kaldis dished three assists.
GAME ON … The Clippers host the new B.C. Hockey League expansion team, the Wenatchee Wild, this Saturday (Oct. 17) at 6 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena, then host the Chilliwack Chiefs on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Frank Crane.