September 27, 2020. Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Nanaimo Clippers jumped out to a four goal lead but had to hold off a resilient Victoria Grizzlies comeback to take game two of a two game, weekend series with a 4-3 victory on the road Saturday night at the Q-Centre in Colwood, BC.
After a 2-1 loss to the Clippers only twenty-four hours prior, the Grizzlies looked to rebound with a hopeful split in the two game, preseason series. Victoria goaltender Blake Wood would step aside for alternate Justin Easter to face Clippers Jordan Naylor in net in the Saturday rematch.
Nanaimo’s Naylor would stop fourty of fourty-three shots on net to backstop his team to the victory, while Victoria’s Easter would face 33 shots in the narrow loss.
Nanaimo would be quick to the puck much of the first fourty minutes of the game. With an aggressive forecheck the Clippers would have a decidedly upper hand over the Victoria Grizzlies, scoring two unanswered goals in the first period of play to put the Grizzlies on their heals early. Nanaimo would get their first period scoring from Brayden Boehm and Nick DeSantis to go up 2-0 at the end of the first twenty minutes of play.
The Clippers would add to their lead with two more goals in the second period to take a 4-0 lead when Nanaimo’s Tim Washe would beat Easter at the twenty-three second mark, followed by a power play marker by Sean Donaldson at the seven-minute mark.
For many teams, playing a preseason game down 4-0 would have been a white towel moment, however a resilient Grizzlies team would find some grit and pride to find that spark in their step to attempt a comeback with thirty-three minutes of game time remaining.
Victoria, skating harder for every puck possession, would be rewarded for their efforts. Grizzlies Alex DiPaolo, scoring his first of two back-to–back goals, would skate a Clipper’s puck dump-in out of his own end and skate the entire length of the rink, fending off a Nanaimo defender in front of the Clipper’s goaltender Naylor to chip the puck into the back of the net for an unassisted first goal to mark the board at 4-1.
DiPaolo, scoring his second goal of the game, would be the benefactor of a power play goal half way through the third period to make the score a respectable 4-2. Victoria’s continued pressure on the puck would result in their third unanswered goal when Victoria’s Mathew Wood would snap the puck past Nanaimo netminder Naylor glove side only a minute later to make it a 4-3 deficit for the Grizzlies.
Fortunately for the visiting Clipper’s, time was on their side despite a Victoria power play with only five seconds remaining. Time would expire without a game-tying Victoria goal, giving the Nanaimo Clippers the 4-3 victory and the bragging rights to a two-game sweep on the road.