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Clippers bitten by Grizzlies in opener
The visitors spoiled the outcome of a closely contested hockey game on opening night.
The Nanaimo Clippers were edged 3-2 by the Victoria Grizzlies on Friday at Frank Crane Arena.
Nanaimo struck first, Vic answered with goals in the first, second and third periods, and then the home team got one back with six minutes left to make for an exciting finish.
“A lot of ebbs and flow in our intensity and our emotion,” said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach. “It’s disappointing that it wasn’t more consistent for the full 60 minutes … The first game at home I think we had a lot of players playing to not make a mistake, versus going out and really taking charge of the game.”
Scott Prier, Clippers alternate captain, said his team didn’t come out tough enough. He said when the Clips got pucks deep and played their systems, things started to go their way.
“We didn’t start doing that until the last 10 minutes,” he said. “If we do that for 60 minutes, that game’s ours.”
Jacob Hanlon scored the first goal of the fall at Frank Crane, trailing on a rush and getting a pass just outside the slot. Prier fired in a point shot on the power play.
In between, ex-Clippers forward Gerry Fitzgerald did the damage, scoring the winning goal on a wraparound after assisting on his team’s first two goals.
Shots finished 28-27 for the visitors, with Jayson Argue suffering the loss in net.
The next night the Shipmen travelled to play the Powell River Kings and lost 6-4. It was a game that the Clips led 4-2 early in the third period, but the Kings scored four unanswered to win.
Bo Brauer scored twice for Nanaimo and Colton Dahlen and Spencer Hewson had the other goals. The Clippers were outshot 45-17, with Argue making 39 saves.
GAME ON … Nanaimo hosts the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on Friday (Sept. 27) at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena.