By: Ty Dilello – The Niverville Citizen
Gavin Gunderson scored a hat trick on a big night for the Niverville Nighthawks on the road as they defeated the Selkirk Steelers by a 5–2 score to get back into the win column. The Nighthawks improve to 2–4–0 on the season, which is good for fifth place in the MJHL’s East Division.
Gunderson opened the game’s scoring just four minutes into the game. Selkirk tied it a few minutes later, and the game stayed 1–1 after the first period.
Six minutes of play passed in the second period before Gunderson added his second goal of the evening. Selkirk tied it once again, but then it was all Niverville the rest of the period as they scored three goals in quick succession. Gunderson scored his hat trick while Nighthawks captain Brett Tataryn and Brendan Bottem each potted home their second goals of the season.
The second period ended 5–2 in the Nighthawks’ favour, and that’s how the game ended, as there was no scoring in the final frame.
“It feels great to get back on the winning side of things,” said Gavin Gunderson. “We were moving the puck really well tonight and sustained pressure in the offensive zone. Our line was clicking and moving the puck well tonight, and that led to a lot of chances for us, which led to me getting the hat trick. If we practice with a purpose and take things game by game, we’ll keep playing well.”
Ethan Kadatz made his debut in the Nighthawks goal tonight and was excellent, stopping 36 of 38 shots. The 6’5” product from St. Albert, Alberta was just traded to the team this week from the Battleford North Stars of the SJHL after the club’s incumbent starting netminder Chris Fines went out with an injury.
Things are looking positive on the Chris Fines injury front. It doesn’t seem like it’s going to be anything too significant or season-threatening, as the Nighthawks look forward to having him back in the net as soon as possible.
“Our new goalie Ethan made some huge stops as our guys settled in and realized they were in a hockey game,” said Nighthawks head coach Kelvin Cech. “But after that, the guys took over, led by Gavin Gunderson. He goes in tight, into the hard areas, and he has a great shot, too, so he can score multiple different ways. Everyone contributed tonight, and we were really strong in the middle of the ice as there wasn’t a lot of space out there.”
Going into an extended break now between games, Cech noted that it’s a great thing they were able to go into the break with a win.
“There’s winning and there’s misery, and it’s a lot more fun to win hockey games,” said Cech. “We had a strong couple days of practice, and we worked on some real specific things to be ready. And the guys executed that game plan to a tee.”
The Nighthawks now have a week off before hitting the ice again at home on October 7 (7:30 p.m.) against the Winnipeg Freeze.