#18 Mike Murtagh, #17 Joel Plante and #10 Cole Lonsdale fight for the loose puck after face-off.
By Malcom Cooke
The Nanaimo Clippers bounced back on Saturday with a 4-2 win over the Powell River Kings. The win snaps a 2-game losing skid for the Clippers, who lost to these same Kings last weekend. The win helps the Clippers keep pace in the tight Coastal Division playoff race, giving the Clippers a 21-13-2 record for the season. Goaltender Chazz Nixon turned aside 35 out of the 37 shots he faced en route to his 5th win as a member of the Clippers. Dylan Kinch, who came over from Chilliwack in a trade on Jan. 25, scored his first 2 goals as a Clipper. Conner DeTurris and Mike Murtagh added the 2 other goals for the home side.
The 1st period began with Powell River swarming the Clippers net, mustering 8 shots in the first 5 minutes of the game. Nixon managed to kick aside any threatening Kings' chances to keep the game scoreless. The Clippers mounted a counter-attack after the early barrage of Kings shots. Samuel Boisvert nearly wired home his 5th goal of the season but his shot rang off the crossbar and back into play. Late in the 1st period, after nearly 6 minutes of continuous play without a whistle, new forward addition Dylan Kinch scored his first goal as a Clipper to put his new club up 1-0. Conner DeTurris danced around the offensive zone with the puck on a string before passing it to Kinch for the goal. The Clippers would have a chance to add to their lead after being put on the power play for the first time on Saturday. The power play would pass without a Clipper goal. With 30 seconds left in the 1st, it would be the Kings going on the power play after Andrew Brown was called for interference. Time wound down in the 1st period with the Clippers leading 1-0 despite being outshot 13-9.
Powell River’s power play was kept off the scoreboard by the Clippers penalty-kill unit to start the 2nd period. The Clippers' offence was buzzing around the Kings net upon returning to full-strength. They were unable to score in the scrum but managed to draw a penalty, putting the home team on their 2nd power play of the game. The power play was unsuccessful as Kings goalie Justin Katz kept any high-danger shot out of the net. The Clippers would get their 3rd chance on the power play just after the midway point in the 2nd period and again be turned aside by Katz. Powell River received their 2nd power-play chance in the latter stages of the period. The Kings also went scoreless with the man advantage as both goalies put on an impressive performance in the 2nd frame. The Clippers outshot the Kings 12-8, for a 2-period total of 24-21 in favour of the Kings.
Conner DeTurris scored his 12th goal of the season early in the 3rd period, putting the Clippers up 2-0. Isa Parekh got tied up in the defensive corner of the ice with a Kings forward, resulting in Parkeh being called for roughing. On the penalty kill, the Clippers were able to maintain their 2-goal lead. The Kings cut into the Clippers' lead midway through the 3rd period after Chazz Nixon played nearly 50 minutes of shutout hockey. Parekh ended up drawing a penalty after returning to the ice, giving the Clippers their 4th PP chance of the game. Mike Murtagh streaked into the Kings' zone and split the goaltender, scoring his 23rd goal of the season on the power play. Being up 3-1 the Clippers turned up the defensive pressure. The Kings scored a goal late to cut the Clippers lead to 3-2. Newly acquired Dylan Kinch scored his 2nd goal of the night on the empty Kings net, giving the fans at the Frank a free burger. The Kings ended up outshooting the Clippers 37-29 through 60 minutes.
Dylan Kinch earned the 1st star of the game for his 2-goal night. Chazz Nixon’s 35-save performance earned him 2nd star. Conner DeTurris was named 3rd star. FortisBC Energy Player of the Game was given to Mike Murtagh.
The Clippers play again on Friday, Feb. 9 when they face the Coastal Division-leading Surrey Eagles. Tickets can be purchased at the Frank Crane box office on game day, or at tickets.nanaimoclippers.com.
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