The Nanaimo Clippers found a way to keep their win streak alive as they finished the regular season in style.
The Clippers came back to beat the Surrey Eagles 4-3 in double overtime on Friday at Frank Crane Arena as Jamie Collins scored both the game-tying and game-winning goals. Nanaimo has now won 10 straight in B.C. Hockey League action and will await its first-round playoff opponent.
The Shipmen had a shaky start Friday, as they couldn’t get any flow in the first period and surrendered three goals to trail 3-0 through 20 minutes.
But Brady Lynn and Josh Bourne scored second-period markers to make the game close and then Collins tied it up five minutes into the third period when he bounced a puck off the opposing goalie’s pad, up, over and across the goal line.
The Clippers had chances at the winning goal, but it didn’t come until a minute into the second OT frame when Collins was sprung on a breakaway and roofed a backhander.
“This game was like a playoff game for us,” said Collins, Clippers team captain. “We’re still battling for first place obviously and we knew that we wanted this game.”
Both teams had players ejected for fighting, so the bench was short in the third period.
“We were super tired, but the boys, they just battled…” Collins said. “We kind of dug a little deeper because we know we have a little bit of a break before playoffs, so we had to give our all and we did and we came out with a deserving win, I think.”
Bob Foglietta, Clippers assistant coach, said even trailing 3-0, the team knew it had the horses to come back and just needed to control some of its emotions.
“You can’t say enough about the composure of this team,” he said. “It’s been good, it’s been a fun ride we’re on and we want to keep it going.”
He said the Clippers went into OT with a must-win mindset, playing with three forwards in the four-on-four. If time had started to run out in double overtime, Foglietta said the Clippers were prepared to pull the goalie in a tie game to try to win it. As it turned out, they didn’t need to.
“That’s hockey,” Foglietta said. “That’s the perfect way to go into playoffs.”
Noah Featherstonhaugh Gowe earned the win in goal, stopping all 17 shots he faced in relief of starter Taz Burman.
The Eagles got goals from John Wesley, Aaron White and Jeffrey Stewart and goaltender Mario Cavaliere made 48 saves in a losing effort.
The Clippers are first in the Island Division but won’t finish in that position unless both the Victoria Grizzlies and Powell River Kings lose a game in regulation.
Playoff matchups are yet to be determined.