Final games have major implications

They say points earned in September are just as important as the points earned in February.

But the points up for grabs this weekend feel like the most important ones yet. The Clippers host the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on Friday (Feb. 18) at Frank Crane Arena, then visit the Victoria Grizzlies on Saturday to close out the regular season.

“We can still move up in the standings,” said Ryan Stanimir, Clippers forward. “We want to get that home-ice advantage; we know it can be a huge advantage to us. So we need those four points and that’s motivation in itself.”

Since every point earned is huge, every point lost is painful. So the Clippers know their lapse last Sunday in a 6-5 overtime loss to Cowichan could end up costing them a higher playoff seed.

The Shipmen can’t take that back now, Stanimir said, but they can try to play more consistently moving forward.

“Just work hard, focus on the little things, make sure every shift counts,” he said. “That’s all we can do.”

Clippers forward Brett Hartskamp said Sunday’s loss is a lesson that the team can’t afford to let up when it’s playing well.

“We have them down, we need to keep them down, don’t let them get back up,” he said.

The Clippers are looking forward to playing Alberni on Friday, Hartskamp said. They expect it will be the usual hard-hitting, hard-working game that the Bulldogs favour.

“Whenever we play each other it’s a real good battle,” Stanimir said. “We don’t like each other.”

GAME ON … The Clippers (28-22-1-7) and Bulldogs (24-27-4-3) face off Friday at 8 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena. The next night’s road game against the Victoria Grizzlies (31-24-0-3) is a 7:15 p.m. start at Bear Mountain Arena … The BCHL playoffs get underway Feb. 25.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com