It was a great start for the Express jumping out to a 3-0 lead on their first four shots on goals by Malcom Mckninney, Massimo Lamacchia and Mitch Pacey. The fast start chased Clippers goaltender Charles-Andre Pelletier by the 5:34 mark after Mitch Pacey's shot went right through the Clippers goaltender.
In came Charles-Alexy Premont and he was welcomed to the game by a Jake Charles partial breakaway and he put his backhand wide. That was the first of a number great chances the Express had in this game.
It wasn't a great bounce back start for Nanaimo after being blanked 7-0 by Victoria the night before.
Finally Nanaimo woke up and began the comeback. Zach Martin and Mike Domsodi scored less than two minutes apart to quickly pull Nanaimo back within one. Then on the powerplay Jesse Ursic's screened point shot got past Khaleed Devji and another Express lead had slipped away.
It was the 4th time in the last 5 games that the Express had allowed a lead of some form to slip through their hands.
Khaleed Devji was replaced by Billy McGadrey for the start of the second period.
In the opening minutes of the second period came another great Express chance that wasn't converted. Massimo Lamachia was set up in front of the Clipper goal and had gaping net for what appeared to be an easy tap in. Easier said than done I guess because the shot was put into the feet of Premont to keep the game tied.
Nanaimo then took their first lead when Brayden Jaw converted Colton Cyr's feed on a 2 on 1 break.
Former Express Ryan Stanimir extended Nanaimo's lead in the third period when he scored from behind the Express net banking the puck off McGadrey and in.
For a second straight game the Express rallied to pull even. Malcom Mckinney's second of the game at 7:17 was followed 1:35 later by Destry Straight's powerplay goal firing a wrist shot top shelf to tie the game at 5.
Just 36 seconds later the Clippers took re-stored their lead when Myles Fitzgerald went to the front of the Express net and found a loose puck for a tap in seconds after Fitzgerald was hit hard into the end boards behind the Express net.
The Fitzgerald triplets of Myles, Leo and Gerry playing on the same line had a solid game. They had some great energy shifts and were buzzing most of the game.
As the Express pressed for the equalizer they were left shaking their heads at more great chances they couldn't finish.
First, Massimo Lamacchia was robbed when he was set up by Alex Petan on a 2 on 1 and Premont came to his left to dive and rob the Express' top scorer.
That was followed by a solid chance for Destry Straight on a quick shot from the left circle and Premont turned it aside.
Then in the dying seconds Alex Petan had his sights set on scoring the game tying goal in the final minute for the second straight game. He had the puck on his stick at the lip of the crease but lifted the puck too high and Nanaimo held on for the victory.
The loss leaves the Express on the wrong side of the score in all 5 games since they've returned from the Christmas break.
The Express remain 2 points back of Cowichan Valley for 7th place, 3 points back of Alberni Valley for 6th after they tied Quesnel at 2, and Nanaimo is now 7 points clear of the Express. There's 17 games remaining in the Express schedule.
They return to action Wednesday night in Langley.