First-place Clippers come back to win

The Nanaimo Clippers came back and scored three third-period goals to defeat the Victoria Grizzlies by a 5-4 score on Wednesday on the road.

The Nanaimo Clippers are tied for first place in the entire B.C. Hockey League after another win last night.

The Clips came back and scored three third-period goals to defeat the Victoria Grizzlies by a 5-4 score on Wednesday down the Malahat.

Cole Maier scored the winning goal with two minutes to go in the game, completing a hat trick. Devin Brosseau had a goal and an assist and Yanni Kaldis scored the game-tying goal on the power play with five and a half minutes left in the third period.

Guillaume Decelles was the winning goalie, making 36 saves as the Grizz outshot the Clips 40-30.

It was the sixth-straight win for the Clippers (10-3), their longest win streak since 2008.

“In the four years that I’ve been here, I’ve never been a part of a team with this much success early on in the season,” said Brendan Taylor, Clippers captain, earlier this week. “But it is early on in the season and we can’t be taking teams lightly, we’ve still got to keep playing the same way and getting better.”

Clippers battle Warriors

The Nanaimo Clippers can see how far they’ve come.

The city’s BCHL team plays the West Kelowna Warriors this Friday (Oct. 24) for the first time since the season-opening BCHL Showcase tournament. The Warriors outscored the Clippers 7-6 in that one, but Nanaimo has won 10 of its 11 games since then.

“It was the first weekend there, and not many of the guys really knew how to play with each other. Now we’ve really become more of a team…” said Jake Jackson, Clippers forward. “Last time we gave up a lot of goals and we don’t really give up a lot of goals anymore.”

The Shipmen allowed two goals against in two games last weekend and played some of their best hockey of the fall. Jackson said guys have a better understanding of coach Mike Vandekamp’s systems.

“It took a little bit of a learning curve to get used to, but I think now that we’re all on the same page and playing well, I think it’s going to work great,” Jackson said.

Taylor said the team’s D zone play is “100 times better” and the team is also doing a good job keeping the puck at the other end of the ice.

“It’s definitely going to be more of a challenge for them to score,” he said.

The Clippers play the Warriors on Friday at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena and then host the Surrey Eagles on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Frank Crane.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com