The Nanaimo Clippers quickly went from a winless team to one that has points in three of its first four games.
The city’s B.C. Hockey League team suffered a 4-3 double-overtime loss to the Cowichan Valley Capitals on Friday at Frank Crane Arena, but hung on for an 8-6 win over the Victoria Grizzlies the next night on the road.
The Clippers got a good start in their home opener Friday, as Brayden Jaw and then Brett Hartskamp scored in the first half of the first period to give the team a 2-0 lead. But the Capitals got one back soon after, then tied the game in the last 10 seconds of the frame after a giveaway.
“It’s a bit of a momentum-swinging play when you get scored on that late in the period,” said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach.
After an uneventful second period, the Caps scored early in the second period on the power play but the Clips put the pressure on and eventually scored the tying goal with three and a half minutes in regulation when Jaw bounced one in from a bad angle.
In double OT the Caps buzzed around the Clipper crease and eventually scored.
“It was unfortunate that we lost the point, but all in all it was a decent game,” Vandekamp said.
The Clippers outshot the Capitals 30-29 in that one, with Billy Faust suffering the loss in goal.
The next game, said the coach, was the team’s best of the season, for two periods at least. Nanaimo scored twice in the first period and four times in the second to take a 6-1 lead into the third period. Things got a bit ugly from there, though, as the Grizz got goals on some odd bounces.
“It led to momentum swinging in their favour,” said Vandekamp. “It was a good night, it was too bad that we were unable to finish it off a little bit more smoothly than we did.”
Still, they earned their first win of the season and the first win of Vandekamp’s tenure as coach. Kyle Kramer and Josh Bryan both had two-goal games and other markers came from Tanner Clarkson, Hartskamp, Brendan Taylor and Andrew Gladiuk. Chris Eiserman was the winning goalie in his first start for the Clippers as his team outshot the opposition 36-30.
The next action for Nanaimo is Tuesday (Oct. 4) as the team visits the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.
Vandekamp wants to see his team try to work on consistency, he said.
“Obviously you’re always shooting to play a complete 60 minutes and we haven’t done that yet this year so that’s what we’re trying to do is inch our way closer to that.”
ICE CHIPS … Next home action for Nanaimo is Friday (Oct. 7) when the Grizzlies visit Frank Crane Arena for a 7 p.m. start.