The final pre-season games are the most important, and they will be the most telling, too.
The Nanaimo Clippers will dress a reasonable facsimile of their opening-night starting lineup when they play the Victoria Grizzlies tomorrow (Sept. 3) and Saturday in the last two exhibition games before the start of the B.C. Hockey League season. The Clips are at home tomorrow, then visit the Grizz the next night.
Now that it’s Week 2 of training camp, the Clippers have been able to make some strides with on-ice chemistry.
“The quality’s gotten a little better and we’re kind of getting used to playing with each other,” said Andrew Gladiuk, sophomore forward. “But the whole camp’s been really intense. Everyone’s been into it.”
Gladiuk said it’s exciting to hit the ice as a team, and he’s interested to see how players respond to game action.
“We can [gauge] our compete level and see how hard guys are going to make second efforts, that kind of stuff,” he said.
Mike Puddifant, veteran defenceman, said he was really looking forward to finally hitting the ice. Even though it’s still pre-season, Puddifant said the Clips have a veteran squad that shouldn’t make too many mistakes. He’s hoping everyone will play hard.
“You’ve got to work your butt off,” he said. “You want to execute, just play simple – the pretty [plays] will come.”
GAME ON … Friday’s opening faceoff is at 7:10 p.m. at the Nanaimo Ice Centre. Saturday’s rematch goes at 7:15 p.m. at Juan de Fuca Arena in Esquimalt.