The Nighthawks and Kings split their weekend series with matching 5-2 scores.
The Nighthawks went into Dauphin Friday night hoping to stay in the win column and extend their points lead over the fifth-place Winnipeg Blues. Niverville was riding high after a come-from-behind win against the Waywayseecappo Wolverines but needed to start stringing together consecutive wins after only earning one victory in their last 5 contests.
Dauphin was on the opposite end of the spectrum, winning 4 of their last 5 games, and were nearing the top of the hotly contested MGEU Western Division.
Friday’s contest started off well for the Nighthawks after goals from Ethan Whillans and Luke Schaeffer and had the visitors in the lead 2-0 after the first.
Desmond Johnson scored on the power play and Brett Tataryn added his 15th goal of the year to give the visitors a 4-0 lead until Jayden Harris scored for the Kings and made it 4-1 heading into the third period.
The Kings looked to get back into the mix in the final frame and Owen Wareham provided some hope as he found the back of the net for his 3rd goal of the season on the man advantage. However, Nighthawks netminder Chris Fines made some key saves down the stretch, locking things down and Desmond Johnson iced the game on an empty-net goal with just over a minute left in the game.
Chris fines finished with 28 saves on 30 attempts while Dauphin goaltender Dmytro Kubritsky stopped 23 of 27 shots on goal.
Head Coach & GM, Kelvin Cech called the game a “compete and professional effort” and hoped it was a sign of things to come as the Nighthawks headed home for a Sunday afternoon matchup with the Kings.
On Sunday, the Kings found themselves in the top spot of the MGEU Western Conference and hoped to grab 2 points against Niverville to tighten their grip on 1st place.
The Dauphin squad was looking for some well-rounded scoring and they received that Sunday afternoon. The game started off with some back-and-forth chances but Myles Yearwood took a Jayden Harris pass and buried it, giving the Kings a 1-0 lead after the first.
Nicolas Hatton made it 2-0 early in the second, and the Kings held strong throughout the middle frame. Nolan Wickham scored a beautiful goal after weaving through the Niverville defense making it 3-0 in favour of the Kings while they continued their dominance in the period. Dane Couture tried his best to keep the Nighthawks in the contest with some miraculous saves, but Dauphin continued to press. Mason Smith added to the total, scoring his 11th on the campaign and the Kings found themselves in the lead 4-0 after 40 minutes.
The third period didn’t go as planned for the home team after Deepakaran Hans completed a nice passing play with a tap-in goal at the 3:55 mark. Cole Sheffield played stellar in net for the Kings and kept the Nighthawks at bay. Hayden Wheddon finally broke through at the midway point of the period and gave the Niverville crowd something to cheer for, scoring on an Issac Rentmeester set up on the PP. Josh Paulhus also scored on the man advantage and brought the Nighthawks within 3. Unfortunately, that would be as close as they would get, and dropped a 5-2 decision.
Niverville currently sits in 4th place (MGEU East Division), 9 points ahead of the Winnipeg Blues in 5th. Dauphin leads the western conference with 53 points, while there are 3 teams tied at 51 behind them. The stretch run is going to be fantastic!
Niverville hosts the Winkler Flyers this coming Friday and are home again to take on the Portage Terriers Sunday afternoon.