The Nanaimo Clippers are proud to be hosting the 2013 Western Canada Cup (WCC) next Spring. Much like the now-retired Abbott Cup, the WCC is the Junior A championship for all of Western Canada. The Clippers automatically get a seat in the tournament as the host team, but the boys are determined to make their presence at the tournament something that they earned and not just part of a regulation.
The Clippers are beginning to be the team once again that the Nanaimo fans love to see. “The guys are playing an exciting brand of hockey right now, and it’s something that I hope the fans in Nanaimo come out and support,” says Kyle Anderson, the Clippers’ Game Day Operations Manager.
The Clippers closed out Oct. with two hard fought wins at home. They started the weekend off hosting the Cowichan Valley Capitals, Friday, Oct. 26. Cowichan opened the scoring four minutes into the first period. The Clippers responded just over a minute later when Greg Trichilo tied the game at one. At 11:42 Capitals forward Ryan Hanes beat goaltender Jayson Argue and once again the visitors took the lead. Nanaimo continued to work hard, down a goal and Colton Dahlen tied the game 2–2 at 13:46 of the first period. The shots on goal proved just how close these two teams are in skill in the first 20 minutes with Nanaimo having 11 and the Capitals 12.
The Clippers came out strong for the second period and didn’t take their time making sure the Capitals knew they were there for business. Reid Sturos scored for the Clippers just 16 seconds into the frame, giving them a 3–2 lead. Sturos then beat Cowichan goalie Derek Dun for a second time just over six minutes later and increased the Clippers lead by two. Cowichan responded at 11:28 of the period, cutting the Clippers’ lead down to one. Exactly one minute later Clippers forward Greg Fraser scored Nanaimo’s fifth goal of the game, and they held onto a two goal lead going into the second intermission.
Third period action was a continuous end-to-end battle for the first seven minutes until a defensive error on the Clippers’ part allowed the Capitals to score once again, bringing them within one goal. The Capitals netted another goal at 17:58 to knot the game 4–4. However, Nanaimo’s Brenden Forbes scored the game-winning goal with just nine seconds remaining for a 5–4 Clippers’ victory.
Saturday, Oct. 27 featured a much-anticipated game for Nanaimo fans with the Powell River Kings visiting. The Kings are a fan-favourite when it comes to home games at Frank Crane Arena. The boys were energized coming off a big win the night before and couldn’t wait to take the ice.
The first period was fast-paced and full of energy, but both teams were unable to beat either goaltender. The shots on net after the first period were Clippers 12 and the Kings 10. The Kings opened the scoring less than four minutes into the second period, and were able to hold the lead until 15:42 when Forbes beat the Kings goalie, tying the game at one.
Nanaimo came out strong in the third period and at 7:41 Kyle Kramer scored, giving the Clippers a 2–1 lead. Clippers later took an unnecessary boarding penalty and the Kings took advantage of the power play by scoring their second goal of the game midway through the period. With only 12 seconds remaining in the game Michael McNicholas scored for the Clippers giving them the lead, which they were able to hold onto and finished the weekend with four points.
Coming off two strong wins at home, the Clippers headed on the road for a three-game road trip to the Okanagan. To kick off the weekend the Clippers had a close battle with the Vernon Vipers but fell short in overtime 4–3 on Friday, Nov. 2. On the Saturday night the boys travelled to Salmon Arm and once again fought their way into extra time. This time, however, they were able to claim two points for the win. The team travelled to Kelowna for their third game in as many nights and came out with a 2–0 victory. Overall, the Clippers returned from their road trip with five points.
The Clippers travel to Powel River Nov. 23–24 for two games against the Kings. Nanaimo’s next home game is Dec. 1 in a rematch against Powel River—let’s get those Frank Crane Arena stands packed and support our boys!