The Alberni Valley Bulldogs and Nanaimo Clippers traded home and home B.C. Hockey League wins last weekend, each snapping the other’s winning streaks in the process.
The Bulldogs beat the Clippers 3–2 on Friday night for their fifth win in a row, snapping Nanaimo’s streak. Nanaimo returned the favour with a 5–4 win Saturday in Port Alberni.
“There’s a lot of good things that are happening right now,” Bulldogs’ assistant coach Adam Hayduk said. “We’re tweaking the minor things right now. It feels like it could be a special year.”
Friday at Frank Crane Arena, the Bulldogs simply outworked the Clippers. Bulldogs’ Mike Puddifant, a former Clipper, said the teams match up well together. “We knew it was going to be a long, tough game and that’s the way it turned out to be,” he said.
“For the most part (Friday) I think we outworked them and that’s what teams need to do to win in this league,” Puddifant added. “We’ve just got to keep outworking teams.”
On Saturday the Bulldogs took a 3–0 lead after the first period and it looked like their streak was going to extend to six games. However, the Clippers scored four unanswered goals in the second period and another in the third to eventually win 5–4.
The team “kind of lost focus and lost the team aspect of the game,” Hayduk said. “Not the outcome and the effort we wanted after the 3–0 lead, but we’ve got to build on that and learn from it.”
The Bulldogs have been working with their special teams, specifically the power play, which the coaching staff would like to see perform better. “The amount of power play opportunities we’ve had over the last few games, we want better results from them,” Hayduk said.
“We want our power play to be better.”
The Bulldogs host the Coquitlam Express for the third time this season on Friday, Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. Langley Rivermen are in town on Saturday, Nov. 12, also a 7 p.m. puck drop. The weekend will give the Bulldogs a chance to start a new streak, Hayduk said.
ICE CHIPS...Defenceman Walker Hyland has committed to the Div. 1 Michigan Tech Huskies for 2012-13. The Huskies play in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association of the NCAA...Arty Kalashnikov returned to the lineup Wednesday night after missing a few games to a lower body injury...The Bulldogs lost a chippy road game to Victoria Grizzlies 3–2 Wednesday night as the News went to press.
— With files from Greg Sakaki, Nanaimo News Bulletin