The Nanaimo Clippers will pack their bags for a road trip, and they’ll also pack along some good momentum.
The city’s B.C. Hockey League team is in high spirits this week following two straight last-minute wins on the weekend over the Cowichan Valley Capitals and Powell River Kings.
It allowed the team to close out October on a strong note, after what had otherwise been a so-so month of home games at Frank Crane Arena.
Now the Clippers (8-6-0-1) head to the Interior to face the Vernon Vipers on Friday (Nov. 2), the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on Saturday and then the West Kelowna Warriors on Sunday.
“You have to play the exact same way that you do at home,” said Greg Fraser, Clippers centre. “The hardest thing to do on the road is play that hard-[working] home game, but at the same time, if you do that, you catch some teams off-guard.”
So the Shipmen will try to be the better-prepared team each game. They only know so much about their out-of-conference opponents.
“Interior teams tend to have a lot of skill and not as much grit, I find, as coast teams so we’ll just have to play physical, play a smart, simple game,” said Trevor Fitzgerald, Clippers captain.
He’s particularly looking forward to tomorrow’s game against the Vernon Vipers, a team with which he won a championship in 2010-11.
“Not only is it my old team, it’s my hometown, so I’m going to know lots of people there,” he said.
Last winter in Vernon, Fitzgerald and his Clippers lost 5-1, so he’s hoping for much better this time around.
“We want to go out this year and show them that we’re really a team this year and we’re not going to mess around,” he said.
Colton Dahlen, Clippers defenceman, said the players will try to approach this road trip confident, but not too high on themselves. It will take focus, he said, and the same basic game that yielded winning results last weekend.
“You have to have the same mindset,” Dahlen said. “We need to be carrying most of the play, playing in their end and just working hard. Just play our game and we should have a good chance to win.”
ICE CHIPS … The Clippers’ next home action is Nov. 9 when Cowichan visits Frank Crane Arena.