The race for third and fourth in the Island Division is shaping up as a good one.
The Cowichan Valley Capitals and Nanaimo Clippers swapped third place back and forth over the weekend and now, with five games left for each team, just one point separates the Caps and Clips.
A midweek contest last week that saw the Clippers prevail 5-4 in Duncan went a long way toward tightening the standings.
“It was an ultimate four-point game, no doubt about it…” said Bob Beatty, Cowichan coach, after Tuesday’s tilt. “They’re all getting bigger and bigger. Especially when you come out on the short end of a game like that, that just makes the [next games] that much bigger.”
The Clippers, by defeating the Alberni Valley Bulldogs each of the last two weekends, helped to diminish that team’s playoff hopes and ensure that the Clips have a chance to climb the standings rather than have to fight just to make the post-season.
In Friday’s 3-1 win over the Bulldogs at Frank Crane Arena, the Clippers got goals from David Silye, Matt Creamer and Josh Blanchard. Sean Buchanan had a pair of assists and Evan DeBrouwer stopped 28 of the 29 shots he faced.
The Bulldogs have one game in hand on the Clips but are seven points back and will need some help. At the top of the division, the Victoria Grizzlies are six points up on the Powell River Kings in the race for the Island Division’s regular-season title.
GAME ON … The Clippers host the Capitals on Wednesday (Feb. 15) at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena.
-files from Kevin Rothbauer/Black Press