So I would like to start this year by saying after four games into the BCHL schedule, the Nanaimo Clippers look like they are evenly balanced. More so then I’ve seen from them for many years. Their goaltending is strong, anchored by Blake Wood with one win, a 2.00 goals-against-average and a .929 save percentage. Setting aside their first game, which was a 2-0 loss to Cowichan Valley Capitals, they have shown their strength in all three zones. Their defence does a great job of keeping opponent’s defence to the outside and blocking shots.
The forecheck looks well organized sending forwards in to retrieve pucks. I have to say even though very little has come from the power play, it definitely looks dangerous. Friday night’s game was an evenly fought game, even though the shots were almost double in favour of the Clippers 43-22. It’s been a tough season-opening schedule with three games in three nights. One of which was in Port Alberni in the second half of a home and home against the Bulldogs. Alberni always plays the Clippers very tough and the Bulldogs pulled out a victory in the shootout.
Sunday saw the Clippers back home against the Chilliwack Chiefs. The Clippers were actually up in this game 3-1 after an empty-net goal by Ethan Scardina at 19:23. And it turned out they needed that third goal as the Chiefs scored to pull back to within one at 19:57 of the third period on a goal by Arlo Merritt. However, the Chiefs ran out of time and the Clippers won another close one 3-2.
The Clippers made a key trade in August for Sean Donaldson from the Prince George Spruce Kings in exchange for future considerations. Donaldson scored 32 goals and 27 assists for a total of 59 points in 48 games for the BWC hockey program in the 2016-17 season. He looks to add to the offence with the Clippers and will head down south where he will attend the University of Connecticut playing play NCAA Div. 1 hockey for the 2020-21 season.
One of the two biggest moves the Clippers made this season was re-signing GM and Head Coach Darren Naylor and Director of Business Operations Tali Campbell for two years. Clippers owner Wes Mussio says that since Campbell took over business operations, the Clippers have come a long way into re-establishing the team into the community. Stay tuned next week to Clippers Corner.