Grizzles battle Clippers
Good riddance, see you in February.
That sums up the sentiments of both the Victoria Grizzlies and Nanaimo Clippers as they met for the sixth time in 32 days on Tuesday night at Bear Mountain Arena.
This time the Clippers used goals 1:26 apart from Trevor Fitzgerald and Kyle Kramer late in the second period to help hand the Grizzlies a 7-3 loss. Fitzgerald and Kramer both recorded two on the night, while David Iacono, Brendan Taylor and Colton Dahlen also scored for Nanaimo, who are now 4-2 against their B.C. Hockey League rivals.
“We let them off the hook and it wasn’t that good of an effort in the second and third periods,” said Wade Murphy, who along with Mike Moran scored 2:11 apart in the first seven minutes of the game to open up a 2-0 Victoria lead.
“We’ve played them a lot, so we know them well and they know us. A nice break would be good for us. We haven’t played some teams yet and we’ve played them six times. It’s a crazy schedule.”
Michael Sandor, with his first of the season, also scored for the Grizzlies. Starting netminder Jamie Tucker was pulled after the second Nanaimo goal, replaced by Garrett Rockafellow.
Billy Faust allowed three goals on the first eight shots he faced in the Nanaimo net, then shut out the Grizz the rest of the way, stopping 21 shots.
“It looked good at the start, we got up 2-0 and I think we thought it was going to be an easy game,” said Grizzlies’ general manager and assistant coach Victor Gervais. “That team came out and played 60 minutes; hard right to the end of the game. They outworked us all over the ice.”
The two teams don’t meet again until Feb. 25, 2012, the second last week of the schedule.
“Just an aberration in the schedule, I guess. Quirky, for sure,” said Nanaimo head coach Mike Vandekamp. “It’s become a bit of a rivalry though. The games have been exciting and close.
“The games have been very tight and in our division, the standings are so tight it makes the games that much more important. With only four teams mak- ing the playoffs, it makes every game critical and playing them so much, it’s enhanced the rivalry a bit.”
Which, for now, will take an expanded break.
“See ya again in February,” said Vandekamp. “I don’t know if it’s an advan- tage or disadvantage, but it’s over with for a while.”
Victoria will travel to Surrey, Langley and Coquitlam for games Friday, Saturday and Sunday, respectively.