The Nanaimo Clippers good start to the season has been undone.
After opening the B.C. Hockey League campaign with three straight wins, they have now dropped five of their last six, including three in a row with Saturday's 4-2 defeat at home to the West Kelowna Warriors.
The Clippers got goals from Anthony Sabitsky and Korey Morgan, while Jayson Argue made 36 saves in the loss.
Tyson Dallman, Ambrose Firkus, Liam Blackburn and David Pope replied for the Warriors and Andy Desautels made 28 saves.
Still, Nanaimo head coach and general manager is preaching patience with his young group of players.
"We're not too worried about the standings right now, we're just worried about the process and trying to be a good team in the second half," he said. "We're a young club, and if you're going to go through the process of building with a young club then you have to go through the growing pains of doing so."
On Saturday night they were done in by an uneven performance, though improved on Friday's 3-1 home loss to the Cowichan Valley Capitals.
They were particularly hurt by their penalty kill, which allowed two Warriors goals on seven opportunities and now sits 11th in the BCHL with an 82 per cent kill rate.
But Vandekamp makes it clear, while he wants disciplined play, he does not want tentative play.
"You can't play if you're afraid to take a penalty, it's we've got to work on our penalty kill," said Vandekamp. "We have to be able to kill a penalty in a key situation."
Dallman opened the scoring for West Kelowna at 15:00 of the first period and Firkus made 2-0 on the power play at 19:14.
Nanaimo fought back to tie it in the second period with Sabitsky's marker at 13:41 and Morgan shorthanded at 16:25.
But the Warriors took back control in the third period with Blackburn scoring at 8:07 and then Pope adding the insurance with a power-play goal at 10:27.
Jacob Hanlon took a fiveminute boarding penalty and received a game misconduct at 15:03, basically ending Nanaimo's chances to come back.
As a whole, Vandekamp was not too upset with the performance; he's just looking for a complete game out of his players. "We need more consistency in our effort," he said. "I certainly liked our effort (Saturday), we had lots of energy and enthusiasm, it was a pretty good game, but that has to be there all the time."
Up next for Nanaimo is a trip to Bear Mountain to play the Victoria Grizzlies on Friday at 7:15 p.m.
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