Coquitlam Express defeat Nanaimo Clippers, 3-2

Nanaimo, BC – The Nanaimo Clippers were at home Sunday to face the Coquitlam Express. The Clippers fell 3-2 after a late third period goal by Coquitlam. Tensions between the two potential first round opponents were high. During the pregame skate Clippers defender Andrew Noel and Express forward Christian MacDougall exchanged words at centre ice, before being separated by teammates.

The first period only saw a single goal scored. Clipper forward Keighan Gerrie zipped into the offensive zone and glided past a Coquitlam defender before wiring his 13th goal of the season. Each team mustered 9 shots in the period. It ended with a Clipper 2 on 1 chance that was denied by Express goalie Carter Woodside, shortly before time expired.

Tempers were still high at the start of the second period, that saw Tristan Fraser of the Clippers get ejected for a blow to the head penalty. Less than a minute in, the Clippers faced a five-minute penalty. The penalty kill, which included a short 5 on 3, didn’t allow Coquitlam to get anything set up. More defensive hockey ensued upon 5 on 5 play resuming. Late in the second, the Express scored to tie the game at one heading into the second intermission.

A penalty late in the second period, resulted in the Clippers starting the third on the power-play. The power-play was unsuccessful, but a few minutes after it expired Sean Donaldson scored his 36th goal of the season to take the lead with thirteen minutes left. The Express tied it at 2-2 four minutes later and added another goal shortly after to make it 3-2. The Express took another late penalty that gave the Clippers a chance to tie it, but Woodside made multiple sprawling saves to keep Coquitlam ahead.

For a 30 save effort including a few stellar saves of his own, Clippers goalie Cooper Black took home third star. Quebec born Jérémie Payant earned second star for his two-point performance. FortisBC Energy Player of the Game was awarded to Walter Erickson. The next Clipper home game is Charity Night Friday, March 25 against the 29-24 Victoria Grizzlies for our last regular season game. Tickets can be purchased at the Frank Crane Arena box office on game day or at Clippers Tickets.

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