Ty Dilello – The Niverville Citizen
The fans got their money’s worth at the CRRC on Saturday night, but in the end the Niverville Nighthawks fell 6–5 in a shootout to the Neepawa Titans. With the loss, the Nighthawks stay in fourth place in the MJHL’s East Division with a record of 18–14–3.
“It was a total special teams battle, as both team’s power plays were clicking early, which amounts to the high scoring. But it was back-and-forth all the way through,” said Nighthawks head coach Kelvin Cech. “Those are just aggravating games to play for both sides.”
Both teams came out flying with plenty of offence in the first period, with the teams scored three goals apiece. For Niverville, the goals came from Brendan Bottem, Josh Paulhus, and Brett Tataryn.
Things slowed down a touch in the second period, but again the teams traded goals and many chances. Hayden Wheddon scored for the Nighthawks, and the score was 4–4 headed to the final period.
After Isaac Rentmeetster put the Nighthawks ahead 5–4 early in the third period, it looked like Niverville might get out of the game with a regulation win. However, with the goalie pulled, Neepawa scored in the final minute to tie the game and send it to overtime.
The Nighthawks failed to convert on an overtime power play, and thus the game went into a shootout. The shootout turned out to be a 12-round marathon, with neither team able to convert the winning goal.
But finally Neepawa was finally able to find the net and win the game 6–5.
Chris Fines stopped 29 shots in goal for the Nighthawks.
“I liked our game five-on-five most of the game, but it’s frustrating when you’re up with a minute left in the game, and they tie it. But that’s hockey. They’re desperate, and we’re able to push it to overtime,” said Cech. “We’re happy we got a point. We would have wanted two, but now we get a bit of a rest and then we’ll get back at it.”
The Nighthawks have made two new additions to their team via trades: defencemen Kayden Skulmoski (Moosomin, Saskatchewan) and goaltender Dane Couture (Little Falls, Minnesota).
Couture had previously been playing with the Minot Minotauros of the NAHL, while Skulmoski was with the Melville Millionaires of the SJHL.
“I had asked out from my coach in Melville, so I was pretty excited to come to Niverville and get with this team,” said Skulmoski. “The fans are great and very supportive here. Everyone seems to come along and put an effort into the community and to the team.”
The Nighthawks return to action on the road on Friday, January 13 against the Winkler Flyers. They are then back at the CRRC the following evening for a matchup with the Swan Valley Stampeders.