Nighthawks Lose Slugfest with Portage

Ty Dilello – Niverville Citizen

The Niverville Nighthawks gave it a good show, but ultimately fell short in a 7–4 loss to the Portage Terriers on the road Saturday evening. With the loss, the Nighthawks move to second in the MJHL’s East Division with a record of 6–2–1.

Niverville opened the game strong with a couple of early first period goals from Carter Spirig and Caleb Lepitre. Portage them scored a couple of their own late in the period to tie the score at two apiece.

In the second frame, Adam Vigfusson put the Nighthawks up a goal before Portage once again tied it up. The next go-ahead goal came from Colin Whaley of Niverville, but once again it was the Terriers responding with the equalizer.

It was anyone’s game in the third period, but ultimately it Portage broke through with a flurry of late goals in the final five minutes of the contest to win and end the Nighthawks’ three-game winning streak.

Raiden LeGall stopped 30 shots in the loss for Niverville.

“I thought it was a sloppy game from both teams and kind of a last-goal-wins type of game,” said Nighthawks head coach Kelvin Cech. “We weren’t nearly good enough with the puck in our zone. We jumped out to a lead and thought we were going to cruise from there, but it didn’t turn out that way. They brought heavy pressure for sure, and we didn’t deal with it very well. We just didn’t manage the puck well and turned it over too much in our zone. And that’s a product of their forechecking.”

The Manitoba Junior Hockey League will be hosting their annual MJHL Showcase, which takes place October 23–25 at the Seven Oaks Sportsplex. The event will feature all 13 MJHL teams, each playing two games over the course of the three-day event.

The Nighthawks will have games on October 23 versus the Dauphin King and October 24 against the OCN Blizzard. The puck drop for both games is 4:00 p.m.

“There’s a lot of stuff we want to work on this week in practice in our zone, like getting the puck and moving up ice with it,” said Cech. “In order to do that, we have to check and defend our zone better. We’ve had a tough stretch here with three games in four nights, so we’ll get some days to recover and get back at it.”