Ty Dilello – The Niverville Citizen
It was a game that didn’t mean anything to either team, but it still needed to be played. In the final match of the regular season on Sunday afternoon, the Niverville Nighthawks lost 6–4 to the Winkler Flyers in front of a packed home crowd at the CRRC.
After Winkler jumped out to a 2–0 lead early in the game, the Nighthawks fought back with late first period goals from Bryce Warkentine and Brett Tataryn, both of which came in quick succession.
Niverville would again trail by two goals as the Flyers scored twice in the second period.
In the final frame, the Nighthawks recovered from a two-goal deficit for the second time in the game with tallies from Kayden Skulmoski and Ben Whitford.
However, there would be no happy ending as the Flyers pulled away once again with two more goals to win 6–4.
Dane Couture made 22 saves in goal for the Nighthawks.
“It was sloppy tonight from both sides as we both had some players sitting out to rest up for the playoffs,” said Nighthawks head coach Kelvin Cech. “But it’s always a meaningful game for the guys that are playing, and I thought our guys were pretty casual in the second period. We played better in the third period and gave them a run for their money, but it just wasn’t enough.”
Cech was also pleased that his club was able to come back from two-goal deficits twice in a game, even though the game was practically meaningless and just a warmup for the postseason.
“It’s nice to see that we’re able to come back and string together some goals in games like these,” he said. “It’s a positive and definitely something for us to build on going forward.”
Before the game, the Nighthawks handed out the team awards to its players for their hard work over the course of the 2022–23 season.
“To recognize some individuals that have contributed to the team is powerful. It was cool to hand off the MVP award to Josh Paulhus and to the other award winners. So it’s a great feeling for them. Hopefully it fuels our team in the first round of the playoffs.”
The Nighthawks will start their first round best-of-seven series on Friday night versus the top-ranked Portage Terriers, alternating home and away games. Mark the dates and times in your calendar.
Round One Schedule
Friday, March 24, 7:30 p.m.—Niverville Nighthawks at Portage Terriers
Saturday, March 25, 7:30 p.m.—Portage Terriers at Niverville Nighthawks
Tuesday, March 28, 7:30 p.m.— Niverville Nighthawks at Portage Terriers
Thursday, March 30, 7:30 p.m.— Portage Terriers at Niverville Nighthawks
Friday, March 31, 7:30 p.m.— Niverville Nighthawks at Portage Terriers
Sunday, April 2, 7:30 p.m.— Portage Terriers at Niverville Nighthawks
Tuesday, April 4, 7:30 p.m.— Niverville Nighthawks at Portage Terriers