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Clippers hot heading into home opener
The Nanaimo Clippers are scoring, winning and generally having a great time so far this season. Now they get to share the fun with their fans.
The city’s junior A hockey club holds its home opener on Friday (Sept. 20) at Frank Crane Arena against the Victoria Grizzlies.
“I’m really excited for it,” said Spencer Hewson, Clippers rookie. “A lot of guys are starting to talk [it up] to friends: fill the Frank on Friday. If we can get a crowd out there we’re going to put on a good show for them.”
The Clippers (3-0) have shown a well-rounded game early in the 2013-14 B.C. Hockey League season. Coach Mike Vandekamp said the team has shown speed and skill, he’s liked the goaltending and the defence corps has looked strong.
Fans at the home opener, he said, will hopefully see a hard-working team.
“That’s been the case so far,” Vandekamp said. “We’re happy with the way the guys have come together early on in the year.”
At this stage of the season, neither team will know much about the other, so each will be trying to force its own game.
"Another [good] start like we had against Alberni is going to be the key, because then we're dictating the game," Hewson said. "When we're playing our style a lot of teams are going to have a lot of trouble staying with us."
As for the emotion of opening-night, he said a team should be into every hockey game it plays, without allowing itself to get too high or too low. Ryan Forbes, another Clippers rookie, said it's important to take a game like that shift by shift.
"You've got to get the first one out of the way and get your legs going and let the nerves settle down and play like you can," he said.
Forbes predicts the Grizzlies are going to give the Clippers a good game.
"It's exciting," he said "I'm looking forward to all the fans and just the whole experience."
GAME ON … The Clippers and Grizzlies play Friday at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane. The Clips then visit the Powell River Kings on Saturday.