The Nanaimo Clippers sure had to put in some overtime this weekend.
The city’s B.C. Hockey League team played games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and improbably, all three needed double overtime to solve things.
Nanaimo lost 4-3 to the Cowichan Valley Capitals on Friday in Duncan, fell 6-5 to the Salmon Arm Silverbacks Saturday at Frank Crane Arena, then edged the Langley Rivermen 2-1 on Sunday afternoon, also at Frank Crane.
After so much hockey, the Clippers felt rewarded to end the weekend with a win.
“I think the hockey gods shone down upon us a little bit in overtime tonight because we played better tonight,” said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach, after Sunday’s victory. “We actually earned the victory today.”
He said his team played organized, structured hockey and made good decisions with the puck.
Certainly, a strong performance in goal helped as Chris Eiserman made 31 saves in a first-star performance.
“The guys played great today,” said the goalie. “That’s why I tried extra harder today, because they were really working and they really wanted this win.”
The Clips needed just 12 seconds of the second overtime period to score the winner.
Andrew Gladiuk’s centring pass from the left wing was redirected perfectly by Trevor Fitzgerald past Langley goaltender James Barr.
Fitzgerald’s faceoff win led to his goal.
“Especially in overtime when it’s three-on-three, puck possession is key there,” said the captain. “After that I passed it to Glads, went hard to the net, trusted him he was going to find me and he did.”
Nanaimo fired 40 shots at Barr, plus many more shots that missed the net and some that rang off the post.
“That’s just the way it goes sometimes,” said Fitzgerald. “You’ve got to keep doing what you’re doing, keep getting shots on net and they’ll go in.”
The night before, offence was not a problem in the barnburner loss to the Silverbacks. The Shipmen managed three third-period goals – including Colton Cyr’s game-tying marker with a minute left before being denied in double OT.
“We played with all kinds of energy, but it was river hockey and we don’t want to play river hockey,” said Mike Vandekamp. “We’re not good enough to play river hockey, to be honest with you. We have to play good, organized, structured hockey.”
Brendan Taylor, Jesse Neher, Graeme McCormack and Fitzgerald had Nanaimo’s other goals Saturday and Billy Faust suffered the loss in goal though his team outshot Salmon Arm 50-24.
On Friday Neher scored with a minute and a half left in the game to force overtime – Neher scored in all three weekend games – and Luke Gordon and Cyr had the other Nanaimo tallies. Eiserman made 24 saves in defeat.
GAME ON … Next action for the Clippers is Friday (Dec. 9) when they host the Rivermen at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena.