By Reid Eccles
After a three-game road trip the Nanaimo Clippers were back at Frank Crane Arena Saturday night to face the Wenatchee Wild. It was the start of a five-game home stand for the Clippers and the first time the Clippers and Wild have faced off since the Wild’s induction into the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) this season. The Clippers sported their pink alternate jerseys in honour of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The Clippers’ captain Devin Brosseau opened the scoring five minutes into the 1st period on an early 5-on-3 powerplay redirecting a saucer pass from Sheldon Rempal. The second assist going to Will Reily.
Wild forward Blake Christensen answered four minutes later bursting past a sprawling Clippers defenseman to score. Zach Court added another powerplay tally for the Clippers late in the period but the Wild’s leading point scorer Kyle Stephan evened the score at 2 early into the 2nd period.
The intensity on the ice grew after a weak shot snuck past Clippers goaltender Jonathan Reinhart only 23 seconds into the 3rd period. Reinhart soon redeemed himself with a series of key saves to keep the Clippers in it, however Wild goaltender Garrett Nieto was equally as clutch warding off the Clippers relentless offense. A Nanaimo bench minor for ”too many men” and an empty netter in the final minute killed the Clippers’ hopes of a comeback. Nieto recorded 27 saves in the 4-2 Wenatchee win.
The Wild who hail from Wenatchee, Washington are the first US-based club in the BCHL since the Bellingham Ice Hawks dissolved in 1995. This was the Wild’s only contest of the season versus the Clippers barring playoffs.
The win over the Clippers was the Wild’s eighth of the season bringing their point total to 18. The Wild’s 18 points places them first in the six-team Mainland Division two points above the second-placed Langley Rivermen.
The Clippers are two games into a five-game home stand. The last home game is Friday, October 23rd against the Cowichan Valley Capitals
Tickets for Clippers games can be purchased at the box office at Frank Crane Arena starting an hour before puck drop. Tickets are only $10 for VIU students, and a free beer is included with admission.