Ty Dilello – Niverville Citizen
The Niverville Nighthawks kickstarted the 2023 MJHL Showcase on the right note with a 5–2 win over the Dauphin Kings on Monday afternoon at the Seven Oaks Sportsplex. This keeps the Nighthawks in third place in the MJHL’s East Division with a record of 8–3–1.
The three-day MJHL Showcase features all 13 MJHL teams playing two games. The games are played in front of an array of scouts, coaches, and managers to showcase the talent the league has to offer.
The Nighthawks got on the board first when Nathan Brown scored his fourth of the season in the final minutes of the first period.
Niverville then hit the ground running in the second period with four more unanswered goals. Two of them came from the stick of Kaycee Coyle while Ty Kennett and Michael Tanchak scored the others to give the Nighthawks an insurmountable 5–0 lead.
Dauphin did get two late goals in the third period, but when the final horn sounded it was the Nighthawks who came out on top.
Keegan Gordon stopped 42 shots in goal for the win.
“We know that Dauphin is a great team, and we wanted to see where we matched up against them,” said Nighthawks head coach Kelvin Cech. “We were good early and moved the puck really well. We had a lot of room out there because of that. And fortunately, we got rewarded in their end of the ice today.”
Cech noted that a lot of players contributed to the win, both on the scoresheet and off.
“Our penalty kill is really coming along, and that’s led by Merik Boles, who is out there first for every single penalty kill,” said Cech. “Points are nice, and guys like to score points, but it’s about winning. Whether we’re scoring or not, lots of guys are contributing in different ways.”
It was an added bonus to perform so well in front of so many hockey personnel, including scouts, coaches, and managers.
“It’s exciting, fun, and different,” Cech said. “The players get to see their buddies on other teams, and I get to see other coaches and managers around the league, and shake hands with the commissioner. It’s a fun environment playing in this MJHL Showcase.”
The Nighthawks are back in action with a 4:00 p.m. game today against the OCN Blizzard, once again at the Seven Oaks Sportsplex.
“OCN has played us really tough so far in two games, so they’re a fast team that forechecks hard. We just have to be ready for that. And it’s a game with two big points on the line for both teams.”