Nighthawks Advance to Playoffs After Big Home Victory

Ty Dilello

The Niverville Nighthawks are off to the postseason for the second straight year after a convincing 5–1 victory over the Swan Valley Stampeders on the final night of the regular season. With the win, the Nighthawks finish the campaign in fourth place in the MJHL’s East Division with a record of 30–24–4.

With all the pressure on tonight’s game, the Nighthawks definitely didn’t show it, dominating Swan Valley from start to finish. After the Stampeders scored early, the Nighthawks got two back in the later stages of the first period.

In the second period, the Nighthawks exploded with a trio of goals to jump out to a 5–1 lead, and that turned out to be the final score following a scoreless third period.

Ethan Kelly led the charge for Niverville with a pair of goals, while the team’s other goals came from Michael Debrito, Alex Walicki, and Kaycee Coyle.

Raiden LeGall stopped 17 shots in the Nighthawks’ goal.

“I was very happy with the consistency of habits, recognizing what we do well, and not being worried about what the other team does in general,” said head coach Dwight Hirst. “It was a big victory for our team, and we’ll celebrate this playoff berth tonight.”

The Nighthawks quarterfinal matchup with the Steinbach Pistons will start next weekend in a best-of-seven series. The Citizen will publish a playoff preview, along with Niverville’s schedule, in the coming days.

“The playoffs are a fresh start for our team,” said Hirst. “We finished the last nine games of the year with a 7–2 record. And in the last five games, we have 19 goals for and only four against, so we’ve started playoff hockey already. This week in practice we are just going to prepare, prepare, prepare. Proper preparation prevents poor performance.”