The Niverville Nighthawks had their Hockey Fights Cancer game and cruised to a 7-4 win Wednesday night.
Players wore special jerseys that are being auctioned off with proceeds going to Cancer Care Manitoba. Details can be found on MJHLNightahwks.ca.
Going into the game, Niverville was holding strong at 4th place in the MGEU East Division, while the Freeze occupied the 7th and last-place position. The Winnipeg club has the ability to put up a good fight most nights as they proved against a good Wolverine team this past Sunday, losing a close one in OT.
As things opened up, it looked like the Nighthawks were in for a dominating evening when Brendan Bottem opened the scoring at the 3:43 mark of the first. Niverville controlled the play and kept the Freeze hemmed in for the first half of the period.
A Niverville penalty gave Winnipeg a window of opportunity and Lochlan Stefanishyn made the best of it as he tipped in a point shot from Briggs Jowett, tying the game up at 1. A minute later, Jowett beat Niverville goaltender Ethan Kadatz on his own after he walked in from the point and blasted a shot glove side.
The period ended 2-1 in favor of the visitors.
Heading into the second frame, Niverville looked to regain their offensive touch and did just that on 2 goals in 30 seconds. Just over 4 minutes into the period, Hayden Wheddon and Bryce Warkentine found the back of the net and got the home crowd on their feet. The Nighthawks found themselves in the lead in short order, and the Freeze had to call a time-out, hoping to calm things down. Brendan Bottem however loves chaos and quickly doubled the lead to 4-2 after a 2-on-1 rush with Braden Panzer. Josh Paulhus also drew an assist on the play.
Winnipeg battled back and scored a nice goal of their own as Jack Kabaluk flipped the water bottle on an off-wing shot making it 4-3 after 40 minutes of play.
Niverville benefits from hard work up and down the lineup and most nights it’s those driving moments that help fuel success. Isaac Rentmeester was relentless on his puck pursuit Wednesday night and was rewarded with a goal after Luke Schaeffer and Ben Whitford put in some good work and got him the puck. Niverville led 5-3 at that point.
Nathan Lenoski of the Freeze made things interesting on a weird bounce off the end wall, making it 5-4 with just over 5 minutes left to play.
Niverville locked things down as Desmond Johnson blasted a puck by Michael O’Sullivan of the Freeze, giving the Nighthawks a 2-goal cushion.
A short while later after some hard work along the boards, Isaac Rentmesster scored his second goal on the night into an empty net and all but sealed things for the home team. He finished with 3 points on the evening.
Brendan Bottem and Ben Whitford also added 2 points in the contest, while Ethan Kadatz made 17 saves on 21 shots, collecting his 7th win of the year.
Overall it was a good effort by the Nighthawks as they hope to continue strong play heading into a tough home & home matchup against the Waywayseecappo Wolverines this weekend.