The Nanaimo Clippers started the season by going on the road and scoring 10 goals en route to winning both their games.
It’s the kind of start to the season they’d love to try to continue as they get ready to skate onto home ice.
The Clippers are preparing for home-opening weekend against the Powell River Kings this Friday and Saturday, Oct. 15-16, a week after sweeping the Kings on the road by scores of 6-2 and 4-1.
“It’s pretty rewarding, the boys worked hard and they got the results we needed,” said Darren Naylor, Clippers coach. “We were able to put the puck in the net. We were able to capitalize on our opportunities and special teams were really good … and goaltending was out of this world, so that’s a recipe for a win.”
Shaun Mahoney scored two goals in the season opener, Tristan Fraser had a goal and three assists and Max Itagaki scored a goal to go with two helpers. In the next night’s rematch, Keighan Gerrie scored a hat trick and Itagaki and Michael Craig had two assists each.
Goalie Cooper Black made 33 saves in the first game and 36 in the second and was chosen the B.C. Hockey League’s First Star of the Week.
“The games are what dictate what we need to work on and even though we won, there’s still a whole bunch to work on so we’ve got a lot of work cut out for us here,” Naylor said.
The coach said his players were “pumped up” to be playing in front of fans again, even in front of opposition fans, and said that energy will be doubled at the prospect of playing in front of Clippers fans at Frank Crane Arena this coming weekend.
Naylor said spectators can expect to see an exciting style of hockey.
“I think the fans right away will notice the team speed … and they play hard hockey and finish their checks and they work hard, so fans will like it,” he said.
GAME ON … The Clippers and Kings play Friday and Saturday, Oct. 15-16, at Frank Crane Arena. Puck drop is 7 p.m. both nights. For ticket information, visit www.nanaimoclippers.com.