The Alberni Valley Bulldogs had the jump right from puck drop and were able to get an edge in the playoffs against the Nanaimo Clippers.
Alberni held on for a 2-1 win over Nanaimo in Game 1 on Friday night at Frank Crane Arena.
Ryan Finnegan scored a pair in the first period for the Bulldogs and although Sheldon Rempal of the Clippers got one back late in the second period, the Shipmen couldn’t manage a tying goal. Nanaimo couldn’t get goalie Evan Johnson pulled until 30 seconds remained, and then immediately took a penalty that pretty much iced the game.
“We didn’t have a lot of confidence at the beginning of the game,” said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach. “We didn’t just come out and play.”
He said his team didn’t shoot enough pucks or get to the crease and said it was evident in the stats, as the Bulldogs sent 32 shots at Johnson while Nanaimo mustered 20 shots on ‘Dogs netminder Brody Claeys.
“Our team just came out hard and right off the bat we were battling and we were doing the little things, getting pucks deep and stuff, getting shots on net…” said Finnegan. “It was a huge team effort overall.”
He said his team carried the momentum from winning its way into the playoffs on the last day of the regular season.
“To get off [to] a lead, that one-game lead, I think that was huge,” Finnegan said.
Vandekamp said the Clippers didn’t really play their style of hockey on Friday, so it’s not a matter of adjusting the game plan moving forward.
“We have to simply play better, we’ve got to play harder, simpler and really, that’s the answer,” he said. “I thought that we showed improvement as the game went along, which was good, but we don’t have a lot of time … We’ve got to get better in a hurry here. You let one slip away this time of year, they’re costly.”
GAME ON … The teams play Game 2 of the best-of-seven series on Sunday (March 6) in a 7 p.m. faceoff at Frank Crane Arena.
— Greg Sakaki (@BulletinSports) March 5, 2016