Clippers Defeat Langley Rivermen in OT

#72 Brett Merner knocks in the OT winner on a pass from #22 Luke Buss..

By Malcom Cooke

The Nanaimo Clippers came back in an epic fashion to defeat the Langley Rivermen in a matchup between the 5th and 7th place in the Coastal Division. Luke Buss, Dylan Kinch, Gabriel Westling, and Brett Merner scored in the comeback win. Chazz Nixon stopped 40 shots including numerous spectacular saves to keep the Clippers in the game.

The Clippers were awarded the first power play of the game after Isa Parkeh got hauled down while slicing through no man’s land in the middle of the ice. The Rivermen seemed to play with more poise while short-handed, managing two breakaways after the Clippers turned the puck over at the blue line. After time expired on the power play the game settled back into a normal pace. The Clippers made a poorly timed line change, which gave the home team a penalty for too many men on the ice. The Clippers managed to kill off the penalty without giving up a goal. Langley broke the deadlock, opening the scoring in the late stages of the 1st period. Chazz Nixon kept the score at 1-0 after he made multiple saves to end the period. A scuffle in front of the net gave the Clippers their 2nd power-play opportunity. With just 11 seconds left in the 1st when it was called, the Clippers started the 2nd period with over one and a half minutes of power-play time. The Rivermen outshot the Clippers 14-9 through 20 minutes of play.

Nanaimo’s power-play unit was unable to tie the game in the initial minutes of the 2nd period. A dust-up behind the play between Chase Hull and Langley’s Morgan Brady resulted in a full two minutes of four-on-four action. Neither side capitalized with the extra space of four-on-four hockey with Langley still holding a 1-0 lead. Midway through the 2nd period Langley forward, Noah Macdonald, scored from the goal line. Macdonald wired a shot over Chazz Nixon to put the Rivermen up 2-0. The Clippers were handed another penalty, this time to Isa Parekh, as they tried to claw back in the game. Chazz Nixon kept the game close doing what he does best, making stellar saves. Nixon slid across the crease to snatch a sure goal out of midair and keep the home team within striking distance. With three seconds remaining on the Parekh penalty, the Rivermen scored their 3rd goal of the game on another sharp-angle shot. While the puck was being dropped to resume play another scuffle broke out, once again resulting in four-on-four hockey. This time around the Clippers would capitalize with the open ice. Grant Babcock wired a pass that would’ve been illegal before 2005, sending the puck from his goal line to the opposing blue line where Luke Buss was waiting. Buss took the pass cleanly and fired a laser shot past Langley goalie Charlie Tritt, to cut their lead to 3-1. More penalties would be handed out to both teams late in the 2nd. Isa Parekh was called for a delayed hooking penalty. While that was happening, the Rivermen had a bad line change and were called for the 2nd too many men on the ice penalty of the game. Time expired in the 2nd period with the Rivermen maintaining a 3-1 lead. The Clippers could not muster much of an attack. Despite the goal the Clippers only mustered four shots to Langley’s 16 in the 2nd period.

The Clippers would have another power-play chance in the 3rd. But it would again be Langley that seized the initiative, getting a short-handed breakaway. The Rivermen thought they had their 4th goal of the game but referee Shayne Alyward talked with the other officials and signalled “no goal”. The Clippers scored on back-to-back shifts to tie the game at 3-3 midway through the 3rd period. First, Dylan Kinch was fed a perfect one-timer by Isa Parkeh to cut the Langley lead to 3-2. On the very next shift, Gabriel Westling muscled past two Rivermen defenders and Tritt to score his 8th goal of the season and tie the game.

The game headed for overtime to determine a winner. Captain Brett Merner finished the game after going two-on-one with Luke Buss and burying the game-winning goal. An incredible comeback after being down 3-0 for most of the game.

Brett Merner, Langley’s Vitaly Levvy, and Gabriel Westling were awarded the 3 stars of the game. Chazz Nixon took home FortisBC Energy Player of the Game for his 40-save performance.

The Clippers are in action again on Saturday to face the Chilliwack Chiefs in the final regular season game of the 2023-24 BCHL Season. Tickets can be purchased at the Frank Crane box office on game day, or at

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