Ty Dilello – The Niverville Citizen
The Niverville Nighthawks continued their losing streak on Saturday night at the CRRC with a 5–3 loss to the Swan Valley Stampeders. With each loss, the Nighthawks’s grip on the final playoff spot loosens just a little more. They currently sit in fourth place in the MJHL’s East Division with a record of 21–22–4, but their tenuous lead on the fifth-place Selkirk Steelers is now down to one point.
Gavin Gunderson got the Nighthawks on the board early in the contest. However, it was Swan Valley that scored four times unanswered over the first two periods to lead 4–1.
In the final frame, the Nighthawks got one back from Gunderson, who scored his second. It was too little too late once again, as the teams split goals with the Niverville net empty in the dying minutes.
The game ended 5–3 in Swan Valley’s favour, with Isaac Rentmeester scoring for Niverville.
Chris Fines stopped 37 shots in goal for the Nighthawks in a losing effort.
“We had a pretty good process for certain parts of the game,” said Nighthawks head coach Kelvin Cech. “They’re a desperate side, and we are too, but they just won the little battles that add up over the course of a game. And they did that more than us.”
Over the past few contests, the Nighthawks have struggled to score. They’ve also had trouble creating high-quality scoring chances. It’s something that will need to improve if the team is going to climb out of this hole that seems to get bigger with each loss.
“We’ve ran into some teams with very strong defensive cores that make it very tough to get through,” Cech said. “It’s hard to get to those difficult areas. Gunderson got a couple from the top of the crease today, which is great, but you got to play the right way all game long to get more chances like that throughout the game.”
The Nighthawks are back in action with a road game on Monday afternoon against the red-hot Steinbach Pistons. The puck drops at 2:30 p.m.