The Nanaimo Clippers made it five straight wins, and this one vaulted them to the top of the standings.
The city’s B.C. Hockey League club (8-4-0-3) claimed a share of first place in the Coastal Conference with a 7-3 win down the Malahat on Tuesday against the Victoria Grizzlies.
Nanaimo’s latest win wasn’t a perfect game, but it ended up being a convincing one. After giving up two goals in the first seven minutes and surviving a wild first period that ended 3-3, the Clippers took control.
“I kind of thought whoever would settle in and get their heads in it the quickest would end up winning the hockey game and that’s kind of how it played out,” said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach. “We did a good job of refocusing a little bit towards the end of the first period.”
Kyle Kramer continued his torrid scoring pace with two goals and two assists, Trevor Fitzgerald also had two goals and David Iacono, Brendan Taylor and Colton Dahlen were credited with the others. Andrew Gladiuk, Brett Hartskamp and Mason Blacklock had two assists each and Billy Faust made 21 saves for his fifth straight win.
Vandekamp said the team’s confidence is at a high right now.
“We’ve built a lot stronger understanding of what we’re capable of doing as a team here in the last couple of weeks,” said Mike Vandekamp.
It’s led to a good-looking record at the quarter pole of the BCHL season, but ultimately, said the coach, first-place doesn’t mean much right now.
“No, there’s a lot of work still to do…” he said. “We’ve improved a lot as a team, that’s for sure, and that’s what we’re focused on, is continued improvement and worry about the standings later.”
GAME ON … The Clippers face the Alberni Valley Bulldogs in a home-and-home series starting Friday (Nov. 4) at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena and continuing Saturday at 7 p.m. at Port Alberni’s Weyerhaeuser Arena.