By: Ty Dilello – The Niverville Citizen
The home crowd at the CRRC were in for a treat on Friday night as the Niverville Nighthawks played their best game of the season so far in a 6–0 beatdown of the Winnipeg Freeze.
The Nighthawks were all over the Freeze from start to finish, outshooting their opponents 49 to 16 over the course of the game. With the win, the Nighthawks improve to 3–4 on the year, which is good for fifth place in the East Division.
“The last couple of weeks we doubled down on our starts, as we really wanted to make sure that we started the game well,” said Nighthawks head coach Kelvin Cech. “We worked on some video stuff all week long, and the guys were rewarded in that good defence creates good offence. So they earned that game for sure. We’ve played good hockey for stretches all year, so it’s good to be rewarded.”
Josh Paulhus opened the scoring a mere 58 seconds into the game. He then added his second goal of the night a few minutes later to make the lead 2–0.
Captain Brett Tataryn and Jack Lambert also scored for the Nighthawks in the later stages of the period to give the home team a 4–0 lead after 20 minutes.
After a scoreless second period, the Nighthawks had tallies from Josh Paulhus and Carter Spirig to put the game out of reach and give Niverville a whopping 6–0 win.
Paulhus’s third period goal gave him a hat trick on the night, much to the delight of the partisan Niverville crowd, who tried their best at tossing a few hats on the ice, over the mesh netting above the glass.
“We had a really good start,” said Paulhus. “We played them earlier this year and didn’t really have our game, so tonight we played Nighthawks hockey and came out with the win.”
Paulhus noted that he was using a brand-new stick tonight, which was undoubtedly part of the reason for the hat trick.
“We were clicking all night and getting a lot of chances. Our line was flying around out there, that’s for sure, and it’s always nice to help out on the scoreboard when you can.”
Ethan Kadatz recorded the first shutout in Nighthawks’ franchise history as he stopped all 16 shots in what was primarily a quiet night for the St. Albert product.
“Our goalie made some big saves when they started to push, so full marks for the shutout,” said Cech.
The Nighthawks are back in action on Sunday evening in a rematch on the road against the Winnipeg Freeze (6:00 p.m.).
“We just need to have another good start like we did today when we meet up again with the Freeze,” said Paulhus. “And not let up at any time of the game and play a full 60 minutes.”
“For us, it’s about the details and the habits,” added Cech. “Our skill can take over, and we can score goals. We’ve shown that. So as long as we’re doing the right things, reloading and coming back to play defence, and we’re coming up the ice as a group… if we stick to those things, the score will take care of itself.
Finally, one more programming note. On October 5, the Nighthawks made a trade with the Selkirk Steelers for a pick in the 2023 MJHL Entry Draft and a player development fee. In return, the Nighthawks received forward Hayden Wheddon of Stonewall, who was recently returned to the Steelers after attending training camp this fall with the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings.