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Clippers hit the win column in a big way

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The Dauphin Clippers hockey team got off to an unexpected slow start to the Westman High School Hockey League season.
After losing their home opener, Oct. 28, the Clippers fell to 0-2 with a 5-2 loss to Russell’s Major Pratt Trojans, last Wednesday.
Cadence Mentuck, Ethan Woitas, Christian Gambler, Wyatt Tweet and Carter Mushumanski had the goals for Major Pratt, while Vaughn Zimmer picked up the win in goal.
Alex Iwanchysko and Kayden Bodnar scored for Dauphin and Blake Zamrykut took the loss.
The Clippers rebounded to pick up their first two wins of the season on the weekend to even their record at 2-2.
On Friday in Ste. Rose, Zamrykut stopped every shot he faced and Bodnar and Riley Hammond had two goals each to lead Dauphin to a 7-0 win over the McCreary Mountaineers.
Noah Wiens, Wade Kopytko and Logan Storey had the other goals for Dauphin.
Bradley Roncin took the loss in goal for McCreary.
Sunday night in Dauphin, Brayden Broome scored four goals and had one assist and Hammond had three goals and two assists to lead the Clippers past the Sandy Bay Badgers, 14-2.
Kopytko had two goals and two assists and Keanu Woodhouse also scored twice, while Logan Storey contributed a goal and five helpers. Singles were added by Wiens and Logan Conrad. Austin Storey added seven assists.
Bode Childs earned the shutout in goal.
Rueben Houle and Karl Beaulieu had the Sandy Bay goals, while the loss went to Keecan Beaulieu.
Dauphin’s first six goals came on the power play and they had seven overall with the man advantage.
Clippers coach Trevor Robak said not having Kopytko for the first two games, because of a suspension really hurt the Clippers.
“That really put our hockey club in disarray in the home opener and against Major Pratt. With him back in the lineup, he’s a big, big part of our hockey club this year. He’s one of our leaders on the blueline and logs a lot of minutes,” he said.
“When he’s doing good things and creating stuff on the ice, the confidence builds for the hockey team. We just weren’t getting that the first two games.”
That changed when the veteran defenceman returned to the lineup on the weekend.
“Just getting those pucks moving down the ice properly and good defensive zone stuff. It just helps the hockey team get that confidence,” he said.
Robak feels the Clippers are heading in the right direction now.
“We’re starting to get some stuff figured out as far as lines, too,” he said.
When the score gets lopsided as it did in the two weekend games, there is a concern players will get away from the game plan to pad their stats. That was not the case with the Clippers in either game, because the coaching staff stayed on them to keep playing a certain way.
“And that will keep getting them points. Not to be selfish, but to keep playing that way. Where we need to shoot pucks from, where we need to be making plays from. We can’t just think we can go stand there in front of the net and we’re just going to bang in pucks all day,” Robak said.
“There’s certain areas we want them to score from. And they’re actually starting to get it.”
Although the score was one sided, one area where the Badgers dominated the Clippers was in the physical play.
“If you were to go to the hit department, they out hit us big time. They were playing with a little fire in their stomach, for sure. A lot of our guys didn’t back down, which was nice to see,” he said.
“At times, you can get a little intimidated. But I don’t think (Sandy Bay) has been on the ice much, so I can expect them to improve quite a bit, as they get skating a little bit more.”
The Clippers are on the road for three games this week, beginning Wednesday in Roblin, where they hope to fend off the Raiders at 8 p.m.
On Saturday, they hope to dull the blades of the Souris Sabres in Souris at 5:30 p.m. On Sunday at 2:30 p.m., the Clippers will look to tame the Hamiota Huskies.
Robak said the Clippers have to stick to their game to have success.
“Our defence doing their job first. Skating and passing and if they keep that up and our forwards can get out of our end with speed and be attacking with speed. Because that’s the hardest thing to defend, is speed,” he said.
“So that’s our goal right now, is to continue with that speed and I think that’s what we jumped on these last two games.”
Robak added the coaching staff is focusing on the game against Hamiota, which he said will be a good test for the Clippers.
“As a coaching staff, we’re building towards that game to make sure we’re playing the best hockey we can going in,” he said.

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Doug Zywina
REPORTER
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