The Nanaimo Clippers are building some early season consistency.
The city’s B.C. Hockey League team won its second straight game Tuesday, a 5-2 road win against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, and has now earned points in four of its first five games of the season.
Nanaimo’s goaltending and penalty killing were major factors in Tuesday’s win as the Bulldogs fired 40 shots at Clips goalie Billy Faust and were limited to one power-play goal in nine chances.
The Clippers, meanwhile, got power-play goals from Trevor Fitzgerald early in the first period and early in the second period to go ahead for good.
Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach, liked what he saw from the power play.
“Playing with more intensity, simpifying things a little bit seems to have worked as of late,” he said.
Brett Hartskamp, Graeme McCormack and Andrew Gladiuk also scored in the win.
Vandekamp said the key to the win was a stretch spanning the second and third periods in which his team was assessed seven straight penalties – including an extended five-on-three – and got through unscathed.
“That was probably the big turning point in the game was us being able to get through that,” he said. “Working hard, that was the big thing.”
The team now shifts its focus to this Friday (Oct. 7), as it takes on the Victoria Grizzlies at Frank Crane Arena. The teams met last weekend down the Malahat in a game where the Clips jumped out to a big lead and held on for an 8-6 win.
“Hopefully we can get off to a similar start because that was a great start against them last time…” Vandekamp said. “Hopefully [we’ll] be a little bit more consistent, a little better on the penalty kill than we were last game against them.”
GAME ON … The Clippers and Grizzlies face off at 7 p.m. Friday at Frank Crane Arena, then the Shipmen entertain the Surrey Eagles on Thanksgiving Sunday in a 3 p.m. matinee at Frank Crane. The Clips will debut their pink jerseys that day and will wear them for all their Sunday home games in October as they seek to support breast cancer awareness and raise money for the cause.