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Clippers declaw Tigers to regain division lead

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The Dauphin Clippers hockey team regained its hold on first place in the Westman High School Hockey League’s North Division with a convincing 8-3 win over the rival Swan Valley Tigers, Sunday afternoon in Dauphin.
The Tigers entered the contest with a one-point lead over the Clippers, but a five-goal third period led Dauphin to the victory.
Logan Storey paced the Clippers with two goals and two assists. Kayden Bodnar also scored twice, while Brayden Broome, Jesse Koshowski, Austin Storey and Keanu Woodhouse added singles. Ashton Hlady chipped in with three assists.
Bode Childs earned the win in goal, making 31 saves.
Trey Sauder scored twice for the Tigers and Chad Brightnose had a single. Logan Frank took the loss with 40 saves to his credit.
The win improves Dauphin’s record to 6-0-0-1 for 13 points. They moved one point ahead of the Tigers, who fall to 6-3-0-0.
Clippers coach Rick Freese said the Clippers had a couple of lapses defensively where they got into playing Swan Valley’s game instead of their own.
“Pretty soon, these guys are going to be playing 60 minute games, a full game and they won’t even realize they’re doing it. We’re getting there,” he added.
Swan Valley has the three top scorers in the league in Sauder (21 goals and 36 points), Cody Eisner (15 goals and 31 points) and Jordan Gray (seven goals and 20 points). The Clippers were able to limit that trio to Sauder’s two goals and an assist from Eisner.
Freese was pleased the Clippers were able to keep those three players in check.
“That’s why we have the old saying, ‘offence wins games and defence wins championships.’ They can win all the games they want this year, but they have to play solid D to get anywhere,” he said.
“If we keep winning these games, 3-2 or 3-1, 4-2 against the best teams in the league, because we’re solid defensively, that’s what we want to do here.”
Dauphin’s last two wins were in convincing fashion against two division rivals, Swan Valley and the Major Pratt Trojans.
But Freese pointed out both teams will be more than ready when they face the Clippers.
“They will be, that is a guarantee. Next time we meet, they’re going to be ready to play. These first games, teams test the waters a little bit and we’ve got to be ready to play next time,” he said.
Freese said the high offence is expected with the Clippers.
“Offence for us is usually a given. We’ve got some talent up front and they get creative. They start moving the puck around and cycling down low. The trick is we need to be defensively responsible, too, even away from the puck in the offensive zone. That’s what is going to take us far this year,” he said.
The Clippers will face the Roblin Raiders, Wednesday in Gilbert Plains at 7 p.m., before hosting the REMP Renegades, Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

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Doug Zywina
REPORTER
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