Clips chase conference’s top teams

The Nanaimo Clippers play the Powell River Kings and Surrey Eagles in BCHL action this weekend.

The Nanaimo Clippers took their last loss hard, since it came against the team they were chasing in the playoff hunt.

But as Clippers coach Mike Vandekamp pointed out, his fifth-place club isn’t chasing only the fourth-place Coquitlam Express in the Coastal Conference standings. With 16 games still to go in the B.C. Hockey League’s regular season, the Clips are targeting any and all teams.

“It doesn’t really matter who we’re playing at this point,” Vandekamp said. “We’ve got to get as many points as we can get.”

On Friday (Feb. 3) the Shipmen host the conference-leading Powell River Kings at Frank Crane Arena, and then on Saturday there’s another home game on tap, with the second-place Surrey Eagles visiting Frank Crane.

Even though both opponents are tough, the Clippers won their last meetings with both the Kings and the Eagles. As well, the Nanaimo squad feels it has taken great strides the past two weeks while skating to a 4-1-0-1 record during that span.

“We’ve gained some points in the standings…” said Josh Phillips, Clippers defenceman. “It’s definitely a momentum booster and it’s a step forward for us.”

GAME ON … The Clippers’ home games Friday and Saturday are both 7 p.m. faceoffs at Frank Crane Arena. Tickets will be available at the door. For a preview of Saturday’s home game, please check back at Clippers Central that morning.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com