Morning Star Staff
The Nanaimo Clippers dispatched the West Kelowna Warriors 4-1 in B.C. Hockey League playoff action before 1,327 fans Thursday night at Royal LePage Place.
It was Nanaimo’s 12th straight road win and their ninth consecutive victory overall. Both teams were 1-1 in the double round-robin which resumed Saturday night with Nanaimo hosting the 0-1 Chilliwack Chiefs.
The first two teams reaching three wins advance to the best-of-seven Fred Page Cup championship series.
Conner Sodergren of the Warriors and Sheldon Rempal of the Clippers traded first-period goals. Sodergren fired a shot from the slot that bounced off goaltender Evan Johnson, up in the air and dropped over the line. Rempal equalized on a nifty deflection.
The teams were scoreless in the second, with the highlight for the Clippers a fantastic glove save from Johnson off Garrett Forster from point-blank range.
Matt Hoover came off the left wall midway through the third period to beat Matthew Greenfield in tight on a backhand and give the Clippers their first lead.
Hoover, with 70 seconds to play, and Rempal, 14 seconds later, scored empty netters.
West Kelowna outshot Nanaimo 37-33 with the top two penalty killing teams in the playoffs doing their job with the Clippers (first) going 3-for-3 and the Warriors (second) 5-for-5.
Evan Johnson, Hoover and West Kelowna goalie Matthew Greenfield were the three stars,
Nanaimo won both meetings with Chilliwack in the regular season. The Chiefs visit the Warriors on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Coquitlam Express goalie Tyger Howat has signed a scholarship deal with the Northern Michigan Wildcats.
Howat, 20, of Newport, R.I., went 9-12-1 with a .909 save percetange this season.