NANAIMO — The Clippers haven't had a lot of positives to talk about lately with the club losing players to injury and dropping seven games in a row.
But there was optimism after a 1-0 loss to Surrey on Sunday.
The Clippers outplayed the Eagles, and outshot them badly, but ran into a red hot goalie in Mario Cavaliere.
As this week began the news got a whole lot better for the team.
It started with the announcement that defenseman Max Crozier had been ranked 115th among North American skaters for the 2018 NHL entry draft.
The 17-year-old says at the beginning of training camp in August all he was focused on was trying to make the Clippers roster.
"For me it's just a thrill to be ranked. Just being recognized is an honour," says Crozier.
He was also recognized by the Canadian Junior Hockey League with a trip to Mississauga this week to play in the CJHL Prospects Game.
His Team West won 5-2, although Crozier didn't factor into any of the scoring.
This week will be a whirlwind for the Clippers top rookie scorer.
Going back to last Friday Crozier played in Coquitlam, then went on to Wenatchee on Saturday, and played in Surrey Sunday afternoon.
Then he took off for the Prospects Game which was played on Tuesday.
Wednesday it was back to Nanaimo to get ready for a Thursday practice and games in Victoria and Powell River on Jan 26 and Jan 27.
Crozier says fatigue won't be a factor for him.
"Really there isn't too much honestly. I think we've had a really great year and we've been working hard in the gym and on the ice. So I think that conditioning has really helped me out in the this long stretch so far and I'm ready to play Friday-Saturday," said Crozier.
Back on January 3 Nanaimo lost Jake Harris due to injury.
At that time he was the team's leading point getter and goal scorer.
It's not a coincedence that the team has struggled without one of their most dangerous weapons in the line up.
This week is special for Harris with him returning to practice, but also the team announcing that number nine has committed to Brown University for next season.
If everything goes well the Ontario native will be back on the roster for Friday's game in Victoria.
His team high 18 goals and ten power play goals will give the club a massive boost if he can play.
The NCAA commitment is an exciting opportunity for Harris who says it's been a special moment for his friends and family as well.
"I'm really excited to getting there next year and competing for a championship," said Harris. "Especially going with Tristan (Crozier) it's going to be a lot of fun."
Tristan Crozier committed to Brown for next year back in October and Harris admits his linemate played a role in his decision to commit to the school's hockey program.
The two of them have played together for the past two seasons and now they'll stay together for another four years of university hockey.
It's not just Harris who's scheduled to return to the lineup for this weekend, Vincent Millette and Taz Burman could also suit up for Nanaimo's set of divisional games.
The Clippers enter the weekend five points back of the Kings and Grizzlies for the division lead so the results are critical considering there are only eleven games left on the regular season schedule.
NOTES: Preparations continue for Nanaimo's 2018-2019 season with the announcement of two spring camps.
The team will hold a prospects camp in Delta from March 30 - April 1 and then another one in Nanaimo April 21-22.
The Clippers have also added Luc Marotte as a Quebec regional scout .
Marotte has been an independent advisor who has scouted games at different levels between Midget and the NCAA.
He's also a former Bantam AAA coach.
On twitter: @danmarshall77
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