The Nanaimo Clippers have shown that they are one of the best JR hockey teams in Canada. The team has been around the national rankings all season, ranking as high as 11 in the country at one point. Now, as the BCHL season enters its final month, the Clippers have a commanding hold on first place in the Island division.
The Clippers’ last game was at home against the visiting Cowichan Valley Capitals on January 23 in the eighth and final meeting between the two teams. The Clippers dominated the opening period, outshooting the Capitals 20-9 and taking a 1-0 lead on a goal by Cole Maier. Nanaimo built on their lead in the second period with goals from Brendan Taylor, Jake Jackson, and Yanni Kaldis, taking a 4-0 lead into the third period. The final period of the season between the two teams was chippy to say the least. The teams combined for nine misconducts, including Kade Kehoe, who received a game misconduct and a five minute major for spearing. When the dust settled, the Clippers picked up the 6-1 victory, ending the season with six wins over eight games between the two teams.
The team suffered a setback on an interior road trip as they traveled to the Okanagan for games against the Trail Smoke Eaters, Salmon Arm Silverbacks, and Merritt Centennials. The Clippers managed to win the opening game of the trip 5-4 over Trail but fell 6-5 to Salmon Arm in overtime and 6-3 to Merritt, finishing the trip with three of a possible six points.
The loss to Salmon Arm snapped the Clippers’ six-game winning streak, their second six-game winning streak of the season.
The Clippers currently have a 10 point lead on second place Powell River for top spot in the Island division. Powell River has also played two more games than Nanaimo.
The Clippers’ next home games are Friday, January 30 against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, and Wednesday, February 4 against the Victoria Grizzlies. Tickets for VIU students are $10 and admission includes a free beer.