By: Ty Dilello – The Niverville Citizen
The Niverville Nighthawks ventured out to the extreme western edge of the province on Sunday night and fell just a little short, losing 5–4 to the Virden Oil Capitals. With the loss, the Nighthawks move to a 4–6–0 record, which puts them in fifth place in the MJHL’s East Division.
Niverville opened the scoring early in the first period with a goal from team captain Brett Tataryn. Virden got one back later in the period, and that’s how the first frame would end.
In the second period, Virden got some powerplay time and made the Nighthawks pay by scoring three goals in quick succession. The Nighthawks got one back late in the period when Hayden Wheddon scored his first with the team to cut the deficit to 4–2.
The Nighthawks attempted to rally in the third period with goals from Ty Kennett and Brett Tataryn, who pocketed his second tally of the game. Virden got one more goal as well, so the comeback was not meant to be. Virden 5, Niverville 4.
“I really liked us at certain points, as I liked our poise when the puck was on our stick, and we had a lot of possession because of it,” said Nighthawks head coach Kelvin Cech. “We got a little panicky when they scored one, just off a mistake. We then got into penalty trouble, and the second period got away from us. But once again we showed a lot of resiliency in the third period. Now we got to put that together for 60 minutes next time, and maybe we’ll come out with a win.”
Ethan Kadatz made 38 saves on 43 shots on the night for the Nighthawks. The 6’5” netminder has been one of the team’s biggest bright spots this year, doing an admirable job in replacing the injured Chris Fines in goal for Niverville.
“Ethan was thrust into a situation he hadn’t been in before,” said Cech. “So we’re delighted with his development so far. He’s been a big part of our team, and we love having him.”
Nighthawks captain Brett Tataryn noted that his club had some good chances throughout the contest that could have changed the outcome of the game.
“We had a lot of very strong plays that just couldn’t find the back of the net,” said Tataryn. “Our neutral zone could tighten up a bit, but overall not much needs to change other than being consistent and not letting off the gas for the whole 60 minutes. It felt good to get a couple of goals tonight, and being able to capitalize on chances is very important. Our line is very fluid and is playing both ways very well to start the season.”
The Nighthawks are back in action on Wednesday evening against the first-place Portage Terriers (7:30 p.m. in Portage), who are red hot and have started the season off strong by winning ten of their first 11 games.
It will be a challenge, but it’s one that the Nighthawks believe is within their grasp.
“We’re going to go through our process and try to get better every single day,” said Cech. “Portage is rolling, and they’re a great team, so we will need our best to compete with them.”