Ty Dilello – The Niverville Citizen
The Niverville Nighthawks found themselves on the losing end of a heartbreaking 4–3 loss to the Winkler Flyers on Friday night at the CRRC. With the loss, the Nighthawks stay in fourth place in the MJHL’s East Division with a record of 21-19-4.
“It wasn’t good enough,” said head coach Kelvi Cech. “We gave them a run for our money, but our standard is higher than that at this point in the season. We didn’t play a very intelligent game and shot ourselves in the foot a lot. Full credit to them, they’re a good team and capitalized on our mistakes, but those are very tough lessons for us.”
The Nighthawks opened the scoring late in the first period with a goal by Hayden Wheddon. However, Niverville got into some trouble with sloppy play, and Winkler scored three unanswered goals to take a 3–1 lead heading into the final period.
In the third period, Niverville’s Evan Bortis capitalized on the power play for a goal to cut the deficit to 3–2. And then, with under five minutes left, Brendan Bottem scored his seventeenth of the year to tie the game.
Sadly, Winkler scored the game-winning tally with 20 seconds remaining in the contest to pull out the 4–3 victory.
Chris Fines stopped 23 shots in goal for the Nighthawks.
“We scored one on the power play early, which was big and then to tie it up was huge,” Cech said. “We were thinking that it was going to be a memorable night. And it certainly was, but for the wrong reason. So just poor judgment on the last goal. And like I’ve said before, it’s a really tough mistake, but we will learn from it.”
The Nighthawks are back in action on Sunday afternoon for a 3:00 p.m. matinee against the division-leading Portage Terriers.
“I think we need to internalize this loss and have that fierce desire. We score a lot of goals and have good goaltending. But we still give up incredible grade-A chances at the wrong times, so we have to learn from this and bring it against Portage on Sunday.”