The Nanaimo Clippers waited until almost the last second to win a hockey game.
The Clips scored two goals in the last 35 seconds to come back and beat the Victoria Grizzlies by a 5-4 score on Wednesday night at Frank Crane Arena.
“A little bit of a circus finish,” said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach. “We pulled it out of the hat, so to speak.”
Nanaimo never led the game until the very end, tying the score four times before Zach Court’s game-winner with 1.2 seconds left. He got in behind the Grizzlies’ defence in the dying seconds, got hooked to the ice and while on his knees, managed to elevate the puck into the net.
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“It’s good to know that even if we are down by a goal with two minutes left in the game, we can come back and win it in regulation, which not a lot of teams can do,” Court said.
Charley Borek, Lucas Finner and Sheldon Rempal scored Nanaimo’s first three goals, then the Grizz got a power-play marker with five minutes left to go up 4-3. The Clippers pulled their goaltender and Devin Brosseau, from the side of the net, was able to ricochet in a game-tying goal off Victoria’s goalie with 35 seconds to go in the third period.
“It wasn’t our best game, but it was still an exciting win, that’s for sure, and it ends up being a big win…” Vandekamp said. “Junior hockey has lots of weird events like that happen; that’s what makes junior hockey exciting. You wouldn’t want to bank on that happening every night, but when you’re in that situation again in the future, you know there’s always a way.”
Shots ended up 38-24 and new goaltender Evan Johnson got the win in his Clippers’ debut. The former WHLer brings Nanaimo’s goaltending unit up to three players.
“As he gets more comfortable here, he could be an asset to our team,” Vandekamp said. “We’ll see, moving forward, what we decide to do.”
To make open up a roster spot for Johnson, the Clippers traded Brendan Shane, who was subsequently picked up on waivers by the Chilliwack Chiefs.
GAME ON … The Clippers play the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on Friday (Oct. 30) at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena, then play a rematch against the ‘Dogs the next night at Port Alberni.