Two of the B.C. Hockey League’s best teams traded blows on the weekend, setting up a premier rubber match.
The Nanaimo Clippers split with the Powell River Kings on the road Friday and Saturday, losing the first game 3-0 before winning the rematch 4-2.
The first game was closer than the score suggests, as the Kings scored early in first period and the game stayed 1-0 until midway through the third. The home team’s defensive structure was impossible for the Clips to crack.
“They’re really established in the systems that they want to play and they stick to them and they don’t really deviate from them,” said Michael Olson, Clippers assistant coach. “A lot of the things they do, we’re trying to implement over here.”
Billy Faust suffered the loss in goal with a 30-save effort.
Saturday’s contest saw the Kings score first again, this time early in the second period, but the Clippers answered back the very next shift with Andrew Gladiuk scoring his first of two on the night.
“We kind of took over a little bit from there,” Olson said. “We started getting some bounces, we got ourselves a power-play goal and Billy played well for us in the nets. He made some huge saves in the second period and some game savers in the third.”
Faust was named first star with 36 saves and Trevor Fitzgerald and Jesse Neher were other goal scorers.
The weekend results set up a beauty of a game Wednesday (Nov. 16) at Frank Crane Arena.
“It’s two good hockey teams going head to head, playing a similar style but there’s things going on at both ends and it’s entertaining hockey for the fans,” said Olson.
GAME ON … The Clippers (10-6-0-3) and Kings (11-6-2) face off Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane … Nanaimo will also be at home Friday to face the first-place Cowichan Valley Capitals (12-5-1-1) at 7 p.m.