The Nighthawks are putting things together as they near the beginning of the 2023/24 MJHL regular season.
Rookie and main camp present an opportunity for Head Coach/ GM Kelvin Cech along with Assistant GM/Head Scout – Mike McAulay to observe the talent they have at their disposal. Everyone from prospects to returning players looking to make the club are put through the paces. The pre season contests give everyone the chance to prove what they can do during in-game scenarios.
The first of the exhibition contests (Thursday Sept. 7th) was against the visiting Kam River Fighting Walleye of the SIJHL. Niverville opened the scoring on the power play on a nice three way passing play, giving newly acquired forward, Michael Tanchak his first point as a Nighthawk. The two teams battled in what was a fairly physical game, and certainly an entertaining one for those in attendance. Michael Debrito doubled the lead (2-0) for the NIghthawks early in the second period with Tanchak collecting his second point of the game with an assist on the goal. The Fighting Walleye capitalized on a bouncing puck less than a minute later while on the PP, giving the visitors a chance to get back into the game. Quin Burfoot played well in net for the Nighthawks, and the defence made good recoveries in their own end. The speed and skill showcased by the home team was evident as they used it to keep Kam River at bay for the most part. Regan Anderson scored an insurance goal for Niverville making it 3-1 midway through the second frame and that’s how it ended. The 3rd period saw some post whistle fireworks but the goaltenders kept the sheet clean.
Niverville visited Selkirk on Sunday sept 10th for the first game in a home & home series. Mighton Johnson kicked things off with a goal just 3 minutes into the game, with Nathan Brown grabbing the only assist on the play. The Nighthawks found themselves with a man advantage past the midway point in the 1st, and Bryce Warkentine capitalized, making it 2-0 heading into the second. Selkirk managed to score 2 in the second frame, but Nathan Brown found Mighton Johnson again, giving Johnson his 2nd of the game and the nighthawks a 3-2 lead. In the 3rd, it was Bryce Warkentine equaling the 2 goals of Johnson with his second of the match, while Niverville skated to a 4-2 win.
“We’ve had two competitive preseason games, we’ve encouraged by our young players. We had a lot of 07’s and 06’s in the lineup getting their first taste of junior hockey and they acquitted themselves well. We’ll start rolling more veteran players into the lineup as we balance out the rest of camp. It’s been a lot of fun so far, but we have some difficult decisions, which ultimately is a good thing for our hockey team.” – Kelvin Cech
Nighthawks will take on the Selkirk Steelers at home on Tuesday September 12th at 7pm, and on Wednesday the Steinbach Pistons will be in town for the first leg of a home & home match up.