By: Clarence Braun
The Nighthawks took to the ice for another home preseason game on the evening Wednesday, September 7. The hometown heroes jumped to an early lead and held on for a big victory against the Selkirk Steelers.
More than 250 fans were on hand to enjoy the team’s second consecutive preseason home win.
The Steelers opened the scoring at 11:47 in the first period on a play by Peyton Hinkel-Lysak, but a few minutes later the Nighthawks struck back when Aidan Ballance found the back of the goal at 14:44, notching an exciting shorthanded goal.
Brendan Bottem added to the lead at 16:42, then Lane Janssen again at 17:41, putting the Nighthawks up 3–1 at the end of the opening frame. Both goals came on the power play.
In the rough-and-tumble first period, the referees called six penalties, with the Nighthawks taking two of those penalties. The Steelers were shorthanded four times.
Both teams settled into a more grinding defensive mode in the second period. The Nighthawks found themselves on the penalty kill three times, but the period ended with no goals being scored by either side.
The only goal in the third period was an empty net goal scored by Coletyn Boyarsi for the Nighthawks, producing a final score of 4–1.
“I am happy with our progress, and we have had to make some very difficult decisions in our commitment to build the best team possible,” says Nighthawks head coach Kelvin Cech after the game.
He added that the game was quick and very physical. He felt the team adapted well after the high-scoring first period and were able to stay clear of penalty trouble.
“I’m encouraged by the team’s effort,” says Cech. “We’re now looking at getting more veterans in the line-up in anticipation of the last two road preseason games.”
The next game will be a return match against Selkirk on Friday, this time in Selkirk. The preseason will wrap up Saturday evening in Steinbach.