#35 Tom Kiesewetter turned aside 35 or 38 shots in the Clippers' victory over the Victoria Grizzlies..
By Malcom Cooke
The Nanaimo Clippers defeated the Victoria Grizzlies 5-3 on Friday night in the final home preseason game. Bemidji State committed defenceman Isa Parekh scored 2 goals in the victory. Goaltender Tom Kiesewetter stopped 35 of the 38 shots he faced for his first preseason win. The Clippers' offensive game appears to be gaining chemistry as they have now scored 13 goals in the last 2 games. Cole Lonsdale and Willyam Gendron each had multi-point games as well. The Clippers play one more tune-up game on Saturday in Victoria before the 2023-24 regular season opener on Friday, September 22.
In the 1st period, Tom Kiesewetter stopped a breakaway chance by kicking the puck harmlessly into the corner before getting run over by the Grizzlies' skater. The Clippers broke the deadlock midway through the first period Isa Parekh snuck in from the blueline and tapped home a loose puck for the early lead. Less than 1 minute later, Brett Merner scored his 1st of the preseason. Merner streaked in on a breakaway and went bar down to go up 2-0. Grizzlies defenceman Tyler Waram was booked for tripping around the 8-minute mark, giving the Clippers' power-play unit a chance to take a 3-goal lead in the 1st period. They were unable to add to their lead with the man advantage. The Grizzlies had a chance to get on the scoreboard late in the initial frame after Chase Hull was handed a 2-minute penalty in front of his own net. The Clippers were able to kill off the penalty and Hull was sprung for a breakaway after getting out of the box, but was knocked off the puck by a Grizzlies' defender. As the clock was winding down the Grizzlies made an attempt to get on the scoreboard and fired a shot that beat Kiesewetter but not the post, keeping the Clippers up 2-0. Nanaimo outshot Victoria 12-11 in the first period.
Isa Parekh opened the 2nd period with an old-school hip check on an attacking Grizzlies player that led to frustration, ultimately leading to the Clippers' 2nd power play of the game. The penalty expired without much fanfare. The Grizzlies hit their second post of the game, keeping Kiesewetter’s shutout bid safe. The Clippers earned their 3rd power play of the game midway through the 2nd but did not add to their lead. Oakville, Ontario-born Andrew Brown scored his 3rd goal of the preseason on a setup pass from Cole Lonsdale, giving the Clippers a decisive 3-0 lead. Victoria had a man advantage to finish out the second period and with it, they managed to get on the board to cut Nanaimo’s lead to 3-1 going into the second intermission.
The Clippers led the shot total in the second period as well, outshooting the Grizzlies 11-8 in the frame.
The Grizzlies came out flying to start the 3rd period, throwing pucks and bodies at the Clippers. Kiesewetter was up to the task and turned away the early barrage. The Clippers appeared to score their 4th goal of the game, but it was overturned due to goaltender interference as Merner was shoved into the Grizzlies net. Kiesewetter made another five-alarm save after the disallowed goal, snagging a puck out of midair as he was lying on his back. Nanaimo’s power-play unit was given a 4th opportunity to get some preseason experience. Isa Parekh walked in from the blue line and fired his 2nd goal of the game less than 30 seconds into the power play. Victoria nearly answered immediately after the faceoff but once again could not beat the pipes, ringing a shot off the crossbar. Cole Lonsdale scored his 2nd preseason goal to put the Clippers up 5-1. The goal was the Ontario product's 3rd point of the game. The Grizzlies salvaged some dignity as the game came to a close, scoring to make the score 5-2 in the Clippers' favour. A net-front scrum after the whistle resulted in the Grizzlies getting a power play before the end of the game. With 13 seconds left, Victoria scored to make the final tally 5-3 for the Clippers. The Grizzlies outshot the Clippers 19-12 in their attempt to make a 3rd-period comeback. The final shot total was 38-35 for Victoria.
Isa Parekh, Tom Kiesewetter, and Cole Lonsdale took home the three stars of the night. Ontario-born defenceman Andrew Brown earned FortisBC Player of the Game. The Clippers look prepared for another successful season, and it kicks off on September 22. Tickets can be purchased at the Frank Crane box office on game day, or at tickets.nanaimoclippers.com.
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