Ty Dilello – The Niverville Citizen
The Niverville Nighthawks couldn’t find the win column again on Sunday afternoon at the CRRC as they dropped their third straight game, losing 4–2 to the Virden Oil Capitals. With the loss, the Nighthawks stay in fourth place in the MJHL’s East Division with a record of 19–17–3.
“We had a lot of chances,” said head coach Kelvin Cech. “But we’re at the point where we know a lot about our team, and things like moral victory mean nothing right now.”
Carson Reed got the Nighthawks on the board late in the first period with a power play marker. Virden scored twice in the second period to take the lead before Desmond Johnson scored again for Niverville to tie the game at 2–2.
The third period was a hard-fought battle between both sides, with neither side giving much to the other team. However, Virden was the one who broke through with a goal and empty-netter to defeat Niverville 4–2.
“I thought we did well early on in the game, and then we had an even-strength goal called back that wasn’t even close to being not a goal after looking at the video,” said Cech. “So that hurt. But those things happen, and I thought we really stuck with it. We continued getting in the other goalie’s crease and in his grill legally, but in the end, our special teams cost us, so we have more questions than answers right now.”
Dane Couture had a great night in goal for the Nighthawks in just his second game with the club, stopping 22 shots.
“We have two good goalies and want both of them to play,” Cech said. “Dane was great and didn’t have much chance on the goals he did let in. He was real strong.”
Couture had spent much of the 2022–23 campaign with the NAHL’s Minot Minotauros before being dealt to Niverville around the trade deadline.
“Niverville is awesome,” Couture said. “The guys are really including me when I first got here, and I’m really enjoying it and the program that they’ve built here. And we’re going to turn the page here from this weekend and get on a roll, hopefully.”
Although Couture knows that he’s currently the number two goalie on the depth chart behind incumbent starter Chris Fines, he is still excited at the prospect of working hard and earning more starts for the Nighthawks.
“I think my tracking ability was pretty solid today, and I felt clean and crisp out there,” he said. “If I stay true to myself out there and my game, I think I’ll see the ice more.”
The Nighthawks are back in action for a home-and-away series on Thursday and Saturday against the Waywayseecappo Wolverines. They are on the road on Thursday (7:30 p.m.) before returning home for a big Saturday night rubber match at 7:30 p.m.
“We gotta be more polished and need to move the puck better, as when we have chances, we have to bury the puck,” said Cech. “So we have some stuff to figure out and need to get better in a hurry.”