Neepawa Natives fall to Selkirk



Neepawa's Breaden Binda circles the puck around the Selkirk net. 

By Eoin Devereux

Neepawa Banner & Press

Quality scoring chances were few and far between on Saturday, Oct. 7 at the Yellowhead Arena, in a showdown between the Neepawa Natives and Selkirk Steelers.  The difference on the night, however, was that when Selkirk had opportunities, they took advantage, catapulting them to a 4-2 victory. 

Nate Halvorsen scored the first goal of the night midway through the opening period, providing a 1-0 lead to the Steelers. Then in the second, former Natives forward Nathan Hillis came back to haunt his old squad, with his fourth goal of the year. That gave the visiting Steelers a 2-0 buffer heading into the third. 

In the final period, both teams potted a pair, as Griffin Chwaliboga and Jordan Martin each notched goals for Neepawa, while Nico Labossiere and Connor Barley replied for the Steelers. Both Barley and Hillis ended the night with three points each for Selkirk (One goal, two assists respectively), while Steelers goaltender Landon Poiron had a solid night between the pipes, registering the 25-save win. Evan Robert took the loss for the Natives, with a 17-save night. Selkirk went 0-for-2 on the power-play, while Neepawa was 1-for-6 on the night, with the man advantage.

Though the shots on goal for both sides were relatively light, Neepawa did have a few chances that they simply could not capitalize upon. Those opportunites included a pair of four minute power-plays, a breakaway late in the first period, a shot ringing off the Selkirk goal post late in the second and several close call near the Steelers' net.

After the game, Natives head coach Dustin Howden commended Selkirk on their effort. He also noted that his team needs to play a bit more loosely out there on the ice.

“Kudos to Selkirk, they played a solid game out there and played smart, executing on the chances that were provided,” stated Howden. “For us at this point of the season, we have some guys who are still getting up to speed, but just aren’t there now. It’ll come though. Our veterans, as well, are trying to do a little too much. Maybe gripping the stick a little too tight and just not pulling the trigger when there is an opportunity. It’s a confidence thing. Everybody on this team has a good shot, it’s just a matter of letting loose. This is a talented roster though, and we will get it figure out.” 

Neepawa will have that chance to ‘figure it out’ on Tuesday, Oct. 10, when they go to Waywayseecappo to play the Wolverines. The next home game for the Natives will be the following night on Oct.11, when the Steinbach Pistons come to town. Start time at the Yellowhead Centre for that game is set for 7:30 p.m.