Left picture: #15 MacKenzie Merriman scores in the shoot-out. Right picture: #30 Jordan Naylor stops the final shooter from Trail, assuring Nanaimo’s win.
NANAIMO – The Clippers started off October with a big home ice win over the Trail Smoke Eaters.
They won 4-3 in a shootout thanks to a 35 save performance by Jordan Naylor and a strong game up front from Jonathan Stein and Mackenzie Merriman.
It didn’t start off well though.
Nanaimo was down 3-0 just 18 minutes into the game after a pair of power play goals by Kent Johnson and a rebound marker off the stick of Michael Hagen.
Tyler Williams started the comeback with a last minute goal in the first that ignited a spark within the team.
Mackenzie Merriman finished off a three way passing play on a Nanaimo man advantage in the second period and moments later Jonathan Stein scored when he broke behind the Smoke Eaters defence.
Naylor and Trail’s Adam Marcoux kept the game scoreless the rest of the way setting up the Clippers first shootout of the season.
Gunnar Wegleitner and Mackenzie Merriman scored on two of Nanaimo’s three shootout attempts and Kent Johnson was the only player to beat Naylor for Trail.
The win was Naylor’s first in the BCHL and the game also marked the Clipper debuts of Carter Stevenson and Dan Gatenby on the blueline.
The shots finished 38-27 for Trail and on the man advantage the Smoke Eaters were 2/6 while the Clippers end off 1/3.
Sunday’s Three Stars were Mackenzie Merriman (1g and shootout winner), Jonathan Stein (1g 1a), and Kent Johnson (2g).
Nanaimo hits the road for games in Wenatchee, West Kelowna, and Coquitlam next weekend.
They’re expected to have newly acquired forwards Sammy Steele and Thomas Samuelson in the lineup for those contests.