Tonight – Nanaimo Clippers (24-26-1-0) at Alberni Valley Bulldogs (18-30-3-0)
7 p.m. at Weyerhaeuser Arena in Alberni Valley
Presented by the BCIHL
This is the eighth and final meeting of the season between these two Island Division rivals. The Clippers have a 4-3 edge in the season series. The teams met most recently on Wednesday night where the Bulldogs took a 5-2 decision on the road. Mitch Deelstra and Jackson Doucet each scored in the first 1:16 of the first period and Ryan Miotto added another before the end of the frame to give Alberni Valley a 3-0 lead after one. Marcus Mitchell got the Clippers back into things with a second-period goal, but Dawson Tritt restored the three-goal lead with a tally of his own to give the Bulldogs a 4-1 advantage heading into the third. The teams exchanged goals in third, Keaton Mastrodonato for Alberni Valley and Mitchell with his second of the game for the Clippers to make it 5-2. Ryan Miotto finished with a goal and three assists and was named first star of the game.
Clippers forward Tyler Williams is riding a five-game point streak with two goals and seven assists over that stretch. Williams is Nanaimo’s second-leading scorer with 42 points (14 goals, 28 assists) in 46 games. Ethan Scardina is the team’s top scorer with 46 points and also leads the team in goals with 24. Aiden Hansen-Bukata leads all Clippers blueliners with 31 points (five goals, 26 assists) and is tied for 13th among all BCHL defencemen. Jordan Naylor has been the busiest of Nanaimo’s goalies. He has a 16-16 record in 35 appearances and owns a .902 save percentage.
Bulldogs forward Jackson Doucet has points in five straight games. He has a goal and five assists in that span. Doucet is tied with Keaton Mastrodonato for second in Bulldogs scoring with 43 points. The team’s leading scorer is Ryan Miotto with 52 points in 49 games which ranks him in the top-20 in the BCHL. His 19 goals are also most on the team. After putting up two assists in five games with the Penticton Vees, Miotto was acquired by the Bulldogs where he took off with 50 points in 44 games. Aaron Bohlinger leads the offence from the back-end with 28 points (seven goals, 21 assists) in 48 games, which ties him for 15th-most among all BCHL defencemen. In net, John Hawthorne has a record of 14-24-3 and owns the third-best save percentage in the league at .917. His three shutouts are tied for sixth-most in the BCHL.
What’s at Stake
Alberni Valley are trying to hold off the Cowichan Valley Capitals for fourth place in the Island Division. They are four points up on the Caps with the same number of games played. With a win tonight, the Bulldogs will clinch a playoff spot.
Nanaimo is comfortably in third place in the Island Division, although the Bulldogs have an outside chance of catching the Clippers for third as they are 10 points back with seven games to go.
From the Broadcast Booth
Nanaimo Clippers play-by-play broadcaster Dan Marshall on Wednesdays’ game against the Bulldogs:
“The Bulldogs had great speed and energy off the start to get off to a 3-0 first-period lead. Ryan Miotto was very effective putting up a goal and three assists. For the Clippers, Marcus Mitchell scored two power-play goals as they were 2/2 on the power play.”
Marshall on the Clippers’ resurgence in the second half of the season:
“After a tough September, Nanaimo added some key pieces – including some veterans. Dan Gatenby and Carter Stephenson were added on defence and Sammy Steele and Gunnar Wegleitner up front. Captain Marcus Mitchell missed about six weeks early in the season which was a huge loss. Him coming back was a huge boost as well as the emergence of Tyler Williams as a first-line forward.”
Marshall on Nanaimo’s leading scorer Ethan Scardina:
“He is fast and powerful and very hard on pucks. He’s a gritty player who skates well and has a high skill level.
He also has an excellent shot and can get off a good one timer, while being hard to knock off the puck and playing with a bit of a mean streak. He was a good player in Cowichan last year and has turned into a team leader while posting career highs in goals and assists.”
Alberni Valley Bulldogs play-by-play broadcaster Evan Hammond on the Bulldogs’ first-period surge on Wednesday against the Clippers:
“Being up 1-0 just 19 seconds in is surprising. Going up 2-0 less than a minute later was even more so. It could be the earliest I’ve seen a time out used in a game. Being able to not sit back on that lead and keep pushing to build it to 3-0 was important, especially since six days earlier, the Bulldogs were up 2-0 by the 10-minute mark in Victoria, only to give up five unanswered to lose 5-2.”
Hammond on Alberni Valley’s standout goaltender John Hawthorne:
“The more the season has gone on, the more I’ve noticed his maturity and level-headedness. He’s always been a competitor and he’s always been a first to the rink/last to leave kind of guy. Through watching all the ups and downs this season and through interviews with him, I’ve continued to be impressed by how he handles hard situations and the uniqueness of being in a very individual position in a team sport.”
Hammond on Bulldogs leading scorer Ryan Miotto:
“I think he’s been able to excel offensively and fit in so well here with this team because he could fit in with any team. He’s a fiercely-competitive player who not only scores, but also plays a physical game without being a liability defensively. Winning an RBC Cup last year with Chilliwack, he has championship pedigree and experience that very few players at this level have.”
ABOUT THE BCIHL
The British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League was created with the purpose of offering a venue for competitive, high-calibre hockey that’s close to home for players beyond their junior careers. The league was launched in 2006 and now includes five member teams: Selkirk College, Simon Fraser University, Trinity Western University, the University of Victoria and Vancouver Island University. This season, 25 graduates with over 2750 games of BCHL experience are pursuing their academic and athletic goals in the BCIHL. To learn more about the BCIHL and playing opportunities for BCHL grads, visit BCIHL.ca.