When the Nanaimo Clippers were slumping last month, they lamented the way other team’s top lines were lighting it up.
Things have changed – Nanaimo’s offence is now the hottest in the league, scoring 29 goals over its last four games.
The most recent victory, 11-5 over the Langley Chiefs last Sunday, saw Nanaimo’s leading scorer Andrew Gladiuk score four goals and six points.
“I wasn’t feeling any different in that game,” he said. “The puck came to me and I finished my chances.”
The Shipmen were happy to see the pucks going in for Gladiuk. After starting the season on the first line and scoring three times in his first four games, the 19-year-old went without a goal in his next seven. It prompted coach Bill Bestwick to have a talk with the alternate captain.
“It was just to let Andrew know that he’s a player that the opponents will circle in their dressing room to play hard against,” Bestwick said. “He’s one of our most natural offensively gifted players and he has to come to terms with that, that that’s going to happen. He’s going to have to outwork his opponents and not rely specifically on his skill.”
Gladiuk said it “really helped” to have a good talk with the coach.
“He listens well and knows what he’s talking about and knew how to get me going and knew what to say,” said the winger.
Nanaimo’s attack is looking more and more well-rounded – every line is contributing, the defence is pitching in and the Clips got their captain Colton Cyr back this weekend, too.
“We’ve felt confident in this group all year,” Gladiuk said. “We’re stringing some wins together now but we’re pretty reasonable and we’re keeping our heads, not getting too high. We know we have work to do.”
GAME ON … The Clippers played the Cowichan Valley Capitals on Friday after press time. The teams face off again tonight (Oct. 23) at 7:30 p.m. at Duncan’s Island Savings Centre.