Ty Dilello – The Niverville Citizen
The Niverville Nighthawks picked up a massive 3–2 shootout win on the road against the Dauphin Kings on Friday night to improve their playoff chances. With the win, the Nighthawks move to 24–24–4 on the year.
Dauphin scored just two minutes into the game to take the early lead, but the Nighthawks tied the game late in the first period with Brendan Bottem’s twentieth counter of the year.
The Kings got the only goal in the second period, but early in the third period it was the Nighthawks who came storming back with a goal from Josh Paulhus to even the game at 2–2 and send it into overtime.
The five-minute overtime solved nothing, pushing the game into a shootout. In the three-round shootout, Josh Paulhus scored the lone goal to give the Nighthawks the victory.
Dane Couture stopped 27 shots in goal for the Nighthawks to pick up the win.
“It was a big win against a very good hockey club,” said Nighthawks head coach Kelvin Cech. “I thought we had a slow start early in the game but picked it up as the game went on. Josh Paulhus had a big goal to tie it up early in the third period, and we were able to win it in the shootout, so this one feels awesome for the guys. Dane Couture was also really solid in net, making a ton of key saves. He really helped us win this one.”
The Nighthawks had mainly played at home for the last stretch of games, so Cech was quick to point out that going out on the road might have given his team a boost.
“It’s a little bit of a different feel going on the road, getting away from all of the distractions from being at home and just focusing on the hockey,” said Cech. “We came up here to Dauphin tonight to do a job and get two points, which we did. So it makes for a very happy bus ride home to Niverville.”
The Nighthawks are back in action for the second half of their home-and-away series with Dauphin on Sunday afternoon at the CRRC. The puck drops at 3:00 p.m.
“Dauphin is going to be hungry to get us back on Sunday, so the coaches and I will look at some video tomorrow and see what we have to work on to get better for the rematch,” said Cech. “We know that our home fans will be rocking at the CRRC, so we hope to give them a good show and hopefully come away with the win.”