The Nanaimo Clippers had to work overtime, but they kept their hot streak alive.
The city’s B.C. Hockey League team defeated the Powell River Kings by a 4-3 score on Wednesday at Frank Crane Arena after Sheldon Rempal scored midway through double OT.
Nanaimo jumped to an early 2-0 lead, but after a power-play goal by Powell River early in the third tied things 3-3, the game was up for grabs.
“It was just a good ol’ fashioned dogfight,” said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach. “The penalty kill came up big, [goalie Guillaume Decelles] made a couple key saves when he needed to make them and helped us out and then we scored a big goal in overtime.”
Most of OT was played tentatively, but when the Clips finally got their chance, they pounced. Yanni Kaldis got two Kings opponents to converge on him, then found an open Rempal in the slot. The sniper had his first shot stopped, but scored on the rebound from the side of the net.
It was Rempal’s second goal of the game. Corey Renwick and Brett Roulston were Nanaimo’s other goal scorers and Decelles made 36 saves for the win.
“We’ve shown a tremendous amount or resiliency…” Vandekamp said. “We’ve had other teams catch up to us and still found ways to win.”
The Clippers have won three straight and seven of their last eight and are four points up on the Island Division’s second-place Kings.
“Last year we had a tough time getting over .500 there, so it’s nice to take the next step and be at the top of the division,” Rempal said. “It’s where you want to be.”
Clippers defenceman Edwin Hookenson, first star of Wednesday’s game, said the exciting win sets up the team well heading into a couple more potentially tough tests this weekend against the Prince George Spruce Kings and the Powell River Kings.
“We’ve just got to try to keep our momentum up. We’ve been on a pretty good roll…” Hookenson said. “The way we’re playing, we can keep it going and get two more wins.”
GAME ON … The Clippers host the Spruce Kings on Saturday (Oct. 18) at 7 p.m., then visit the Paper Kings the next day.
— Greg Sakaki (@BulletinSports) October 16, 2014