Clips lose, win close ones

The Nanaimo Clippers and Alberni Valley Bulldogs played two entertaining affairs on the weekend, with Alberni winning 3-2 on Friday at Frank Crane Arena and Nanaimo winning 5-4 the next night over the hump.

Nanaimo Clippers players Josh Phillips

Not everyone is a fan of the B.C. Hockey League’s new schedule that stresses divisional play. But fans aren’t likely to get tired of games against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs anytime soon.

The Clips and Bulldogs played two entertaining affairs on the weekend, with Alberni winning 3-2 on Friday at Frank Crane Arena and Nanaimo winning 5-4 the next night over the hump.

“Alberni-Nanaimo’s always been a rivalry and two games in a row certainly helps that,” said Mike Puddifant, Bulldogs defenceman. “There’s some guys out there that we’ve got their numbers, and I’m sure vice-versa on their team.”

Puddifant said his team outworked the Clippers the majority of the night on Friday, culminating in his game-winning goal against his old team. (The marker came on a delayed penalty on a play that the Clips argued should have been whistled down.)

Josh Bryan and David Iacono scored Nanaimo’s goals in the contest, with Chris Eiserman suffering the loss in net despite a 35-save effort.

On Saturday the Clippers had a tepid start. Coach Mike Vandekamp didn’t see the kind of effort he would have liked as his team fell behind 3-1 after 20 minutes.

But the Clips got the message at intermission and responded with one of their best periods of hockey all season.

“We just had to work harder and start playing with a little bit more energy, enthusiasm and physical commitment,” Vandekamp said.

Graeme McCormack, Andrew Gladiuk – with his second of the game – and Kyle Kramer scored second-period goals to put the visitors up 4-3.

“From there it was a heck of a game; it was as entertaining as can be,” said the coach.

Luke Gordon added to the Clippers’ margin and although the Bulldogs got one back on the power play, it was Alberni’s only PP marker on seven chances that night.

Goalie Billy Faust made 28 saves to preserve the win.

GAME ON … The Clippers (9-5-0-3) will play their next two games on the road Friday (Nov. 11) and Saturday against the Powell River Kings (10-5-2). Both those contests are 7:30 p.m. faceoffs at Hap Parker Arena.

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