The Nanaimo Clippers can’t afford any more losses in the BCHL finals.
The Clippers trail the Penticton Vees three games to none in the best-of-seven series after the Vees won Game 3 by a 3-2 score in overtime on Tuesday, May 17, at Frank Crane Arena.
The game was close all the way through, with the teams trading leads in the second period and Nanaimo tying things up midway through the third.
In overtime, the Clippers came close on their very first shift, but it was the Vees that prevailed soon after as Stefano Bottini scored the game-winner three minutes in.
“We played more of a complete game, full 60 and then some, but not quite there and they got the best of us at the end,” said Michael Craig, Clippers captain. “When we’re playing our game we’re right there with them, we’re going shot for shot, so it’s just a matter of capitalizing on our chances and keeping them away from our net.
Jérémie Payant and Keighan Gerrie scored for the Clippers and Cooper Black made 36 saves as shots ended up 39-21 in favour of the visitors. Frank Djurasevic, Josh Nadeau and Bottini scored for the Vees and Kaeden Lane was the winning goalie.
More than 2,300 fans filled Frank Crane Arena.
Craig said “there’s no quit” in the Clippers’ locker room and nobody thinks the series is out of reach. He said all along, the Clippers have been separating hockey games into chunks and will keep that perspective as they try to claw back into the series.
“We’re going to come out the same way, the same game plan, tweak some things here and there, but we know what we’ve got to do and take care of things, shift by shift,” he said.
GAME ON … The Clippers and Vees play Game 4 on Wednesday, May 18, at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena. For ticket information, visit www.nanaimoclippers.com.