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Clippers extend winning streak


A busy stretch which saw them play eight games in nine days did not hamper the Dauphin Clippers hockey team at all.
After going 2-2 at the Piper Classic in Winnipeg, Jan. 10 to 12, the Clippers returned to Westman High School Hockey League action, last week with four straight wins.
Two days after their final game in the Piper Classic, Brayden Broome scored twice and added a pair of assists to lead the Clippers to a 9-1 win over the McCreary Mountaineers, Jan. 13 in Ste. Rose.
On Thursday in Dauphin, the Clippers began a three-games-in-three-nights span with a 10-1 win over the Roblin Raiders.
Kayden Bodnar led the way with four goals and three assists, while Ashton Hlady tallied twice and also had three helpers.
One night later, Bodnar netted three goals to lead Dauphin to a 4-2 win over the Rivers Rams in Rivers.
The busy stretch concluded with Brock Allard scoring twice to lead Dauphin past the Hamiota Huskies, 5-1, Saturday in Dauphin.
With all that hockey in a short amount of time, Clippers coach Rick Freese was pleased to see the team’s conditioning was not a factor.
“We work hard all year on that kind of stuff. We make sure early in the season that we get going conditioning wise so that later in the year, these things don’t affect us,” he said.
“Like I said to the boys, nobody, for the most part, does what we do here. So I think that’s why we’re a leg up. It didn’t surprise me. Our guys are in good shape, they’re ready to rock and roll here.”
The Clippers have now won six games in a row in league play and have allowed just 10 goals during the streak.
Freese said that is due to the team’s defensive awareness.
“Our defensive play, especially in Rivers, the neutral zone transition, guys are defensive minded away from the puck. That game is the best I’ve seen all year. And I think going forward, we’re looking to be even better than that,” he said.
“These guys are starting to buy into the systems here that we’re providing. And when you start being aware and playing solid defence in the neutral zone away from the puck, when you start doing that and you’re aware enough to do that and you care enough about your teammates enough to start playing well away from the puck like that, then we’re getting somewhere. It’s really nice to see.”
Dauphin now sits at 16-1-1-1 for 34 points. They are first overall in the league and are eight points up on the Swan Valley Tigers in the North Division.
Freese hopes to see that strong defensive play continue down the stretch.
On Friday, the Clippers host the Sandy Bay Badgers at 7:30 p.m. On Sunday, the Crocus Plains Plainsmen are in town for a 2:30 p.m. contest.
“We’re looking forward to finishing up the regular season and moving into playoffs. These guys have something that they want to accomplish and they’re working towards that. I think they deserve to have an honest chance just the way that they’ve played and the way that they’ve worked. And their commitment level shows that we should be okay going forward,” Freese said.

Doug Zywina