Clips can end Caps’ chances

The Nanaimo Clippers have a lot to play for at this time of year. If they needed it, though, here’s one more incentive: the Clips can be the ones to eliminate the Cowichan Valley Capitals from playoff contention.

The long-standing rivals play in Duncan on Friday (Feb. 11), then again Sunday at Frank Crane Arena. Depending on what happens on the out-of-town scoreboard, Sunday’s game against the Clippers (27-22-1-6) could be do-or-die for the last-placed Caps (20-27-1-7).

“It would be a big kick in the pants for them, getting eliminated by us, we know that,” said Nick Bell, an alternate captain on the Clippers. “So we’ll do everything we can.”

Players were quick to point out that they’re mostly interested in their own team having success. Putting the boots to Cowichan would just be a performance bonus, of sorts.

“Anytime you can spoil someone else’s party it’s always nice,” said Mike Dopko, Clippers defenceman. “Hopefully we can show them what we’re about this weekend and come away with four points.”

The Shipmen won’t get too far ahead of themselves. Even though they’ve won five out of six meetings with the Capitals this season, most have been battles.

“It might not show it in the standings, but they are a good team and they’re one of our huge rivals,” said Todd Gebert, Clippers defenceman. “It’ll be a good little playoff series on the weekend.”

The last time the teams played was an ugly 7-5 win in Duncan last month, when Caps players took four misconduct penalties, injured Yannick LaFlamme and challenged diminutive Leo Fitzgerald to a fistfight.

“Cowichan, they come at you hard and we’ve got to be prepared for that,” Dopko said. “We know exactly what kind of team they are and exactly how they play.”

GAME ON … Friday’s game is a 7:30 p.m. start at Duncan’s Island Savings Centre. Sunday’s matchup at Frank Crane starts at 5 p.m.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com