It was a spirited effort from the Niverville Nighthawks on Saturday night, but in the end they fell to the Steinbach Pistons 5–3 in the rematch from the previous night’s festivities. With the loss, the Nighthawks stay in fourth place in the MJHL’s East Division with a 15–12–1 record.
The Nighthawks and Pistons persevered through a tight and scoreless first period before play opened up the rest of the way.
Carter Spirig scored the first goal two minutes into the second period, and Evan Bortis made it 2–0 just a few minutes later. The Pistons recovered with two goals later in the period to tie the game at 2–2.
Spirig scored his second goal of the game early in the third period to give the Nighthawks a lead once again, as it started to look like Niverville was on the verge of knocking off the top-ranked Steinbach club for the second straight night.
However, Steinbach was able to pull it together by scoring twice later in the final frame and adding an empty netter to win the game 5–3.
“It’s a little bittersweet, because we were four minutes away from overtime, and we just made a mistake that cost us the game,” said Nighthawks head coach Kelvin Cech. “So we’ll learn from that and move on. It was a strong effort. But man, it just sucks to lose.”
Chris Fines was spectacular in the Nighthawks’ goal tonight, making 48 saves on 52 shots.
“Fines was busy tonight,” Cech said. “We didn’t have the same gas in the tank as the previous night, and that showed. They came out really strong, but Fines stopped some quality chances all night and gave us a chance to win. He was fantastic.”
The Nighthawks have some time off now before returning to the ice next Saturday for a three-game road trip before Christmas, where they will play three times in four nights.
“At this point, our systems are pretty set, and everyone on the team knows how we want to play and what makes us successful,” added Cech. “The guys have really bought into it, so for the next week we want to exaggerate those good things that we do and bring that into these next stretch of games before Christmas.”