Left picture: #28 Ben Brant celebrates his goal with #17 Joel Plane, #10 Luca Grabas and #27 Lukas Klemm.
Right picture: #24 Jake Hewitt sets up in front of the Victoria net.
The Nanaimo Clippers played their first home preseason game of 2022 against the Victoria Grizzlies. Walking away with a 4-2 victory. Led by two points from Ben Brant, and goals from Luca Grabas, Brody Waters, and Kai Daniells. New goaltender Aidan Campbell stopped all but two of the 35 shots faced to seal the win.
The Clippers entered the first period ready to play. Four minutes into the game, a new addition from Victoria, Ben Brant opened the scoring after a cross-crease pass from Lukas Klemm to put the Clippers up 1-0. One minute later, Brody Waters fired a laser through the arm of Grizzlies goalie Jesse Pye. The lone power play for the Clippers in the first went by without any scoring. Just after the power play ended, Luca Grabas scored the Clippers third goal of the period for a 3-0 lead and chased Jeff Pye from the net after 10 minutes and 12 shots. Oliver Auyeung-Ashton came into the goal for the remainder of the period. Shots were 21-10 in favour of Nanaimo.
The Grizzlies broke the shutout a minute and a half into the second to cut the Clippers lead to 3-1. The second period was filled with penalties, all four of which were promptly weathered by the Clippers penalty kill unit. The Clipper power play was unable to capitalize on the two opportunities they had in the second. The Grizzlies would add a second goal halfway through the period to make it a 3-2 game. A late penalty by Michigan product Grant Babcock put the Clippers down a man going into the third period.
Nanaimo escaped the penalty unscathed, with the penalty kill unit going 4/4 on the night. After an electric first period that saw 21 shots fired at both Victoria goaltenders, the Clippers only managed 10 more the rest of the game. Former OHL and current Clippers goalie, Aidan Campbell was up to the task of stopping 33 out of 35 shots he faced. Returning player Kai Daniells added the insurance goal with 8 seconds left to seal a 4-2 Clipper victory in the preseason.
For his two-point effort, Ben Brant was named the third star. Replacement goalie for Victoria, Olivier Auyueng-Ashton earned the second star. Aidan Campbell was the first star of the night for backstopping the win. Luca Grabas took home FortisBC Energy Player of the Game. The preseason continued for the Clippers on Tuesday with a 4-2 loss to the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. Tickets can be purchased at the box office on game day or at nanaimoclippers.com.
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