The Nanaimo Clippers are playing consistent hockey and piling up the points.
The Clippers shut out the Alberni Valley Bulldogs by a 4-0 score in B.C. Hockey League action Saturday at Frank Crane Arena. It marked the 11th straight game in which the Clippers have earned at least one point in the standings.
On Saturday, Nanaimo had a 2-0 lead going into the third period and iced the game with two power play goals.
“I definitely think our confidence is up there,” said David Silye, Clippers forward. “We’re coming to the rink with that swagger and knowing that we’re supposed to be at the top of our division. There’s definitely a higher expectation coming into the games.”
Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach, said he thinks the team has found its identity and “battened down the hatches” as far as limiting goals against.
“That was the goal, was to try to tighten up defensively and become a better team that way,” Vandekamp said. “It gives you a better chance to be in the game every night and that’s what’s happened.”
He pointed out that the Clippers’ recent success has also come with some key contributors out of the lineup.
“It’s an opportunity for certain players to step up into greater roles and answer the bell and then when the other players come back in the lineup, your whole team just got that much better…” the coach said. “You want to become a true four-line team and these types of moments in the season are helping you get to that point later on.”
Saturday’s victory saw goalie Noah Featherstonhaugh Gowe make 31 saves for his first BCHL shutout. Jordan Wharrie, Brady Lynn, Collin Heinold and Jack MacNab scored the goals and Silye had two assists.
The previous night on the road against the Victoria Grizzlies, Clippers goalie Taz Burman made 48 saves and Silye and Lucas Vanroboys scored.
The point streak isn’t something the Clippers talk about a lot, they say. Silye said the team is more focused on meeting what it calls “segment goals,” and said the results come with that. Vandekamp said the streak isn’t specifically a motivator, but said, “Indirectly it is. I think everyone’s aware that we’ve been on a good little run here, so we get a little bit more determined to keep that going.”
GAME ON … The Clippers host the Cowichan Valley Capitals on Wednesday, Nov. 29 at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena. For ticket information, call 250-751-0593 or click here.