Silvertips catching up in playoff race

The North Island Silvertips are playing their best hockey now that the chips are down.

Nanaimo’s B.C. Major Midget League team won two vastly important games on the weekend, sweeping the rival South Island Thunderbirds on Saturday and Sunday in Victoria by scores of 4-1 and 6-5.

“I thought we controlled the play and the pace and I thought we outworked our opponent,” said Steve Parsons, coach of the Silvertips.

Will McNamara scored three goals over the weekend, Taylor Grobowski tallied in each of the games, Riley Medves earned back-to-back wins in net and Kelyn Opel also had a pair of strong outings.

Even though the regular season is approaching must-win territory, the Silvertips were able to keep focus against the T-birds by concentrating on the process rather than the outcomes.

“We didn’t talk about the standings, we didn’t talk about the standings; we didn’t talke about the playoffs,” Parsons said. “We just promised that we’d worked our butts off.”

The coach wants his team to focus that same way this Saturday (Feb. 5) and Sunday when the ‘Tips take the ice for their final Nanaimo homestand against the Vancouver Northeast Chiefs. The sixth-place Chiefs (13-12-7) currently hold down the final playoff spot, five points ahead of the seventh-place Silvertips (11-15-6) with eight games left on the schedule.

“If I start telling the kids we’ve got to get four points, we’re going to get distracted,” Parsons said.

“We’re going to play with purpose and structure and intensity. I think it’s going to be a real good weekend of hockey.”

GAME ON … The Silvertips and Chiefs play Saturday (Feb. 5) at 5:15 p.m. at the Nanaimo Ice Centre, then play a rematch Sunday at 10:30 a.m.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

Nanaimo News Bulletin