Hub game recap
The Niverville Nighthawks busted out the lunch pails and work boots in a solid 5-2 win over the Steinbach Pistons, who came in riding an 8-game winning streak.

It didn't take long for the Nighthawks to get the CRRC home crowd to their feet. Just 1:12 into the first, a clean faceoff win by Braden Panzer went back to defender Evan Bortis who floated a shot through traffic and in for his 5th of the season.

The 1-0 lead held through most of the period and Niverville had a chance to double that lead on the power play, but the opposite happened.

While shorthanded, Travis Hensrud and Dawson Milliken forced a turnover as the Nighthawks were trying to enter the Pistons zone. The two 20-year-old forwards burst down the ice on a two-on-one. Hensrud carried the puck in, faked as though he was going to pass it over but instead kept it and wired a perfectly placed, beautiful shot top shelf short side to tie the game 1-1.

Hensrud's 20th of the year gives him back-to-back 20-goal seasons and puts him just 4 goals off his pace from all of last year (24 goals in 48 games) while also extending his point streak to 7 games.

Less than a minute into the second, Niverville would grab a lead that they would never relinquish.

Big Ben Whitford powered his way to the front of the net and after the puck hit a of couple legs in front, Whitford smacked home his second of the season, putting the Nighthawks up 2-1 just 42 seconds into the period. Eric Martin and rookie Carter Spirig had the assists.

Later in the frame, Isaac Rentmeester showed off his electric shot as the power forward cut into the slot from the side boards and wired a wrister top shelf for his 5th of the year, extending the Nighthawks lead 3-1. Spirig picked up another assist as did goaltender Chris Fines, his first point of the year.

Niverville held onto the 3-1 lead while only allowing 4 shots in the second period.

In the third, Steinbach got a little closer as dynamic forward Davis Fry took a puck off the end boards and threaded the needle with an absolutely perfect shot, beating Fines top corner for his 15th of the year. Hensrud and Ty Paisley had the helpers.

That would be as close as Steinbach would get.

In the final minutes of the period, a strong rush into the zone by the Nighthawks saw Panzer cut towards the net and while he was stopped, Josh Paulhus was there to clean up the rebound for his 14th of the year, putting Niverville back up by two. 

Brendan Bottem was given credit for an assist on the goal which extended his point streak to an impressive 13 consecutive games.

Panzer put any doubt of a Nighthawks win away with an empty netter, his 6th of the season and third point of the night, making it 5-2.

Fines picked up the win for Niverville making 21 saves.

Steinbach's goalie Dominik Wasik was stuck with the loss, making 30 saves.

Special teams played little role in the outcome as the Pistons finished 1-3 on the power play while Niverville went 0-4 on their man advantages.

It's the second game in a row the Nighthawks have beaten the Pistons at the CRRC.

It's Steinbach's first regulation loss since November 11th.

The two teams will meet again on Saturday night, this time on Pistons ice at the TG Smith Centre. Puck drop is 7:30 pm.