Ty Dilello

Nighthawks Get Back in the Win Column

Ty Dilello – The Niverville Citizen


It was billed as the biggest game of the season, and the Nighthawks delivered to a full barn at the CRRC with a massive 7–2 win over the Selkirk Steelers.

With the win, the Nighthawks put to bed an extended losing streak that has dogged them for most of February. They also improve to 21–22–4 on the season, which is good enough to extend their lead for fourth place in the MJHL’s East Division, going up three points on the Steelers with a game in hand.

The Nighthawks did everything better than the Steelers right from puck drop. A couple of early Nighthawks goals in the first five minutes from Gavin Gunderson and Carter Spirig set the tone for the rest of the game.

After the teams traded goals in the second period, with Ethan Whillans scoring for Niverville, the third period was all Nighthawks as they scored four times. Spirig and Whillans each scored their second goal of the game, while Evan Bortis and Braden Panzer scored the other tallies.

Chris Fines stopped 23 shots in goal to get the win for the Nighthawks.

“We had a really clear game plan, and we were disciplined, which helped give us some creativity,” said Nighthawks head coach Kelvin Cech. “Each line had a responsibility, and everyone came and played their part well. Selkirk is a good, skilled team and has some dangerous players, so it was good to shut them down. We had lost a bunch in a row, so it feels very nice to win this one. I’m really proud of the guys.”

Cech noted that his club had worked on their special teams throughout the week in practice, as it was an area where the team needed to improve.

“We changed some things around, and we worked on some key individual details that we wanted to take care of, from faceoffs to forechecks, personnel, the way we wanted to play, etc. It was a good week of practice, and we were well prepared for tonight’s game.”

It’s a quick turnaround for the Nighthawks as they’re back in action this afternoon at the CRRC for a matinee against the Winnipeg Blues. The puck drops at 3:00 p.m.

“This group just needs to be steady at the rutter like we were today, and we’ll see what happens when we play the Blues,” said Cech. “It’s another big two points up for grabs, and we want to take it to them and hopefully come away with the victory.”