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Baliotti the hero again as Clippers fend off Grizzlies

The Nanaimo Clippers have crease swapped one big ­American goaltender for another. Six-foot-three Jed ­Baliotti of New Canaan, ­Connecticut, made 51 saves Thursday night in backstopping the Clippers to a 4-3 B.C.
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Grizzlies forward Connor Eddy breaks in past Clippers defenceman Skyler Cameron at The Q Centre on Thursday. (DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST)

The Nanaimo Clippers have crease swapped one big ­American goaltender for another. Six-foot-three Jed ­Baliotti of New Canaan, ­Connecticut, made 51 saves Thursday night in backstopping the Clippers to a 4-3 B.C. Hockey League victory over the Victoria Grizzlies at The Q Centre.

Clippers starter Cooper Black, the six-foot-eight and 217 pounder from Alpena, Michigan, headed to the Ivy League in NCAA Division 1 at Dartmouth, is injured. But the Clippers give nothing away with Baliotti, who was named third star in facing 40 shots in Nanaimo’s 7-2 win over the Grizzlies on Sunday in the Harbour City. Baliotti is committed to the University of New Hampshire of NCAA Div. 1 and was the 24th-ranked North American goalie for the 2021 NHL draft although not selected. He was clearly the first star Thursday.

The Grizzlies unloaded 94 shots on Baliotti in the two games but it’s the Clippers who came away with the victories to move to 21-11-2 while Victoria fell to 17-16.

Nanaimo led 3-0 on goals by Keighan Gerrie, Tristan Fraser and Max Itagaki. Victoria rallied on two goals by Andrew Amousse and rookie blue-liner Nathan King’s first career BCHL goal. Gerrie’s second goal of the night won it for Nanaimo at 18:35 of the third period.

Kyle Kelsey made 26 saves in goal for the Grizzlies.

Victoria had plenty of power-play opportunities but went 1-7. Nanaimo was 0-3.

The Grizzlies host the Powell River Kings (10-18-4) at The Q Centre on Saturday night and in a Sunday matinee. The Kings are in Nanaimo tonight.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com