Alberni Valley Bulldogs left winger Tristan Bukovec takes a hard knock from Nanaimo Clippers forward Corey Renwick during the first game of their BCHL series in Nanaimo

Bulldogs, Clippers even in playoffs

The Nanaimo Clippers beat the Alberni Valley Bulldogs in game 2 to tie their first-round B.C. Hockey League playoff series.

The Nanaimo Clippers shut down the Alberni Valley Bulldogs in Game 2 to tie their first-round B.C. Hockey League playoff series at one game apiece.

The Clips shut out the ‘Dogs 4-0 on Sunday night at Frank Crane Arena. From Clippers coach Mike Vandekamp’s perspective, “it was more like a playoff game” out there.

The Bulldogs had won game one of the playoffs the Frank Crane Arena 2-1.

Bulldog Ryan Finnegan scored twice in the first period of the opening game to give the Bulldogs the win.

Vandekamp was happier with Sunday night’s game.

“We played harder, there was more spirit to our game, we physically committed to being on the inside better, won more battles, had the puck more,” he said.

“Those were some of the things we desperately needed to do.”

Will Reilly scored the game-winning goal midway through the first period, sneaking in from the blueline on a power play. Vandekamp said scoring the first goal of the game was big for his players, who felt pressure knowing they were trailing the series at the time.

Clippers goalie Evan Johnson made 26 saves for the shutout.

Brody Claeys stopped 31 pucks at the other end of the ice for the Bulldogs.

The series now moves to Port Alberni.

“It is good to know that we have won there,” Vandekamp said. “It’s a hard building to play in and always has been, so we’ve got to dig deep.”

GAME ON … Game 3 will be Tuesday (March 8) at 7 p.m. at Port Alberni’s Weyerhaeuser Arena and Game 4 is Wednesday, also a 7 p.m. start at Alberni. Next home action for the Clippers is Game 5, which goes Friday (March 11) at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena.

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