Ty Dilello – The Niverville Citizen
The Niverville Nighthawks struggled out of the gates against the Dauphin Kings on Sunday afternoon at the CRRC and weren’t able to come back from a three-goal deficit, eventually falling by a score of 7–4.
Merik Boles opened the scoring for the Nighthawks early in the first period. However, the Kings replied with four unanswered goals later in the period to take a 4–1 lead.
The Nighthawks were able to muster a bit of a comeback in the second period with two goals from Josh Paulhus and one from Braden Panzer to get the game to 5–4 heading into the final frame.
Unfortunately, the Kings put the game out of reach in the third period with a pair of goals to win the contest.
Dane Couture stopped 30 shots in goal for the Nighthawks in the loss.
“Dauphin was just more relentless than us today,” said Nighthawks forward Brendan Bottem. “They were winning more puck races than us and were playing with more pace than us today. The positives we can take are we were very resilient today and almost made a comeback, but a big deficit like we had today was just too much.”
Even with the loss, the Nighthawks have now won three of their last five games, so their big losing skid in the early portion of 2023 now appears to be behind them.
“It’s been great to get back in the win column lately, for sure,” said Bottom. “For a little bit there, we were losing a lot of close games, but to have won some games lately, it has been huge for us.”
The Nighthawks head out on the road next weekend for a pair of games against the OCN Blizzard and Swan Valley Stampeders.
OCN and Swan Valley are both strong teams that are going to be in the playoffs, so the Nighthawks need to be able to get off to a better start in these contests to give themselves a fighting chance.
“I think for us, we have to have good starts to our games,” said Bottem. “We can’t rely on trying to come back every game. We also got to play our game and not worry about the other team’s game as much if we’re going to be successful.”