#35 Chazz Nixon stretches across the net making one of his 33 saves.
By Malcom Cooke
On Friday, a matchup between the #1 ranked Surrey Eagles and the Nanaimo Clippers saw the Eagles leaving with a 1-0 win. Goalies Chazz Nixon and Ajeet Gundarah both stopped more than 30 shots in one of the most exciting one-goal games. Surrey finally broke the deadlock 17 minutes into the second period after a scrum in front of the Clippers net ended with the puck behind Chazz Nixon. The Clippers attacked in the 3rd period but could not solve Gundarah. Shots were 34-34 in what was a very evenly matched, potential playoff preview.
The 1st period flew by in a flash. Minimal play stoppages made for quick back-and-forth action on Friday night. The Eagles threatened to score multiple times, but swift stickwork by the Clippers' defenceman kept the Eagles off the scoreboard. The Clippers had a flurry of chances in the latter half of the 1st period but were unable to capitalize. Luke Buss nearly opened the scoring on a breakaway, shooting for the five-hole. Only a handful of whistles stopped play in the 1st, neither team was able to take control of the game. The Clippers outshot the Eagles 13-5 through one period of play.
The Clippers continued to carry momentum in the initial minutes of the 2nd period. Defenceman Andrew Brown shot the puck at the Eagles goal moments after the play was blown dead for offside, resulting in Brown going to the penalty box. On the penalty kill, the Clippers kept Surrey to the outside of the zone, not allowing their power-play unit to get any scoring chances. Chazz Nixon sprawled out to kick aside Surrey’s most dangerous chance of the night, keeping the game tied at 0-0. The teams traded chances midway through the 2nd. Surrey had a wide-open chance in front of the Clippers' net that rang off the post and safely out of play. The Clippers came back down the ice, where Conner DeTurris was beaten to the post by the Eagles netminder. The Eagles pulled ahead late in the 2nd period after a scramble in front of the Clippers net had Chazz Nixon lying on the ice, unable to stop Surrey’s attack. The Eagles took a 1-0 lead into the 2nd intermission. Surrey also outshot Nanaimo 19-12 in a back-and-forth period.
Chazz Nixon stood on his head in the early stages of the 3rd period to keep the Clippers within a single goal. The Clippers 1st power play chance came midway through the 3rd period. With the man advantage, the Clippers managed to get pucks on the net, only for them to be turned aside by Eagles netminder Ajeet Gundarah. The Clippers mounted an attack in the final minutes of the 3rd period, determined to force overtime. Unfortunately, the Clippers would come up short and lose to the league-leading Eagles.
Eagles netminder Ajeet Gundarah took home 1st star of the game. Chazz Nixon earned 2nd star of the game. Aaron Schwartz was named 3rd star. Clipper defenceman Isa Parekh won FortisBC Energy Player of the Game for his defensive efforts.
The Clippers head down over the Malahat on Saturday to face the Victoria Grizzlies before returning home to the Frank Crane Arena on Friday, February 16th in a matchup with the Langley Rivermen. Tickets can be purchased at the Frank Crane box office on game day, or at tickets.nanaimoclippers.com.
Catch all of the exciting action at a 2023-2024 Nanaimo Clippers game.
Tickets can be purchased at tickets.nanaimoclippers.com.