The Dogs came out of the gate with their most energetic start of the season, hitting everything that moved.
They took a 1-0 lead just over three minutes in on a great set up by Tye Lewis on a 2 on 1 rush as he fed Matt Hatch.
The Clippers looked dead in the water. Not even a step behind, it seemed like several.
But then something happened - I think a combination of the Dogs letting up, and the Clippers waking up and finding their life. They tied the game on a seeing eye point shot by Tyler Mah, and it was a back and forth game after that.
The Clippers went ahead 2-1 on a typical grungy playoff goal in the second, as a mad scramble saw Frank Slubowski end up pushed right out of the net as Joe Perry managed to fight one home.
A bad turnover just over a minute later resulted in a 2 on 1 and a highlight reel goal by Cody Bremner on the cross ice feed from Teal Burns.
The Dogs then compounded what was already a big problem as they took 2 straight open ice tripping penalties resulting in a long Nanaimo 5 on 3 that they cashed in on with a Brayden Jaw wrap around for a 4-1 lead.
The Dogs pushed back in the back half of the period, but not hard enough to make it 4-2. The closest they came was a shot that clanged off the bar from in close.
The Dogs had better energy in the third, as they made it 4-2 on the powerplay as Matt Hatch scored his second of the game and his team leading third goal of the playoffs as he scored a good old fashioned hard working goal, the kind of goal the Dogs need more of, as he jammed one in from the side of the net on the powerplay to make it 4-2.
The Dogs came close to making it a one-goal game when they were down a man as Johnny Rogic drove the net on the breakaway and lost the puck. I'm not sure if Boivin lost his stick or the puck, but he wasn't even looking when Matt Hatch threw a puck from the left wing wall that hit Boivin in the pad painfully stayed out.
That would be as close as they would get.
Someone added a comment already that the Dogs looked tired...
Sorry, but I don't buy it.
How do you think Nanaimo feels, with a banged up roster (upwards of three players out including their MVP and top scorer) and a 6 game playoff series under their belts already?
As the coach said on the postgame show, its time for some soul searching as they lost the battles, and looked content to, at times.
Its simple. The Dogs need to raise their effort level, their battle level, etc. The Clippers battled to deserve the win tonight. Ok, its not "simple" to do, it takes some guts and will and determination. Everyone knows these guys have it - anyone who watched them this year knows its what got the Dogs their regular season success and the bye in the first place.
There's lots of hockey to be played, hopefully the Dogs come ready to battle.
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