By: Ty Dilello – The Niverville Citizen
The Niverville Nighthawks earned their first win of the season, and first as a franchise, on Wednesday as they defeated the Winkler Flyers on the road by a dominant 5–1 score.
“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a special night,” said Nighthawks head coach Kelvin Cech. “The guys did everything right and earned two points. And to do it in a rink where 90 percent of our staff used to work is very sweet, and we’re going to enjoy this.”
The Nighthawks started the game off strong with a flurry of first period goals from Josh Paulhus, Gavin Gunderson, and Ty Kennett.
Brett Tataryn scored in the second period on the power play to extend the lead to 4–0. The Flyers would get one back, but the Nighthawks continued putting the pressure on and got a third period goal from Dayden Collier to end the game 5–1 in Niverville’s favour.
“Tonight was the first night where we really learned to play for each other,” said Cech. “We defended very well and communicated with each other in our zone. When things got chippy, we stayed smart and stayed out of the penalty box as much as we could and just worried about ourselves.”
Chris Fines was excellent in the Nighthawks’ goal. The Stonewall product stopped 27 of 28 shots on the night and made it look easy.
“Fines was fantastic,” Cech added. “He made some huge stops and made the routine ones as well. He’s so calm back there, and the guys really like playing in front of him. It seems like he’s finding his groove here, and he’s fit in well with the rest of our team.”
Nighthawks captain Brett Tataryn, who had one goal and one assist on the night, was also pleased with his team’s performance and ecstatic to get the first win of the season.
“The first win is huge, obviously. Not just for us but for the town of Niverville. The monkey is off our back now, and we’re hungry for more,” said Tataryn. “Our preparation was a huge part of playing excellent tonight, but overall every single one of the guys played all-out tonight. It felt good to contribute and get my first goal of the season, but the only points that matter to me are the two points after a win.”
The Nighthawks have a day of practice on Thursday before another home game on Friday night, a 7:30 p.m. rematch against Winkler. They then head back on the road for a game on Sunday night against the Winnipeg Freeze.
“We’ll break some video down tomorrow and have some one-on-one conversations with each individual player,” said Cech. “We go in every day to try and get better as a team and as individuals, so we’ll try and get better tomorrow and see what happens in our next game on Friday.”
“We need to keep up our preparation, stay focused, and take it one game at a time,” added Tataryn. “We need to play with the mindset of a winning team. And we need to remember what it took to win a game and continue to transfer that into our play game after game.”