Neepawa Natives whup Wolverines



By Eoin Devereux

Neepawa Banner & Press

After the Waywayseecappo Wolverines jumped out to an early 3-0 lead over the Neepawa Natives in their game on Wednesday, Nov. 1, I was ready to walk out of the Yellowhead Arena. I intended to leave because life is too simply too short to stand around and watch uninspired hockey.  But then something interesting happened; the Neepawa Natives got inspired. 

An eight goal output from the Natives in the second period would power the MJHL club to a 10-3 victory. Mackenzie Belinski had his best game of the season, scoring three goals for Neepawa in the second period, his first hat trick of his still young Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) career.  Belinski complimented his teammates for helping create opportunities out there on the ice.

“It was pretty exciting [to get the hat trick]. It’s nice to get it out of the way. My linemates made it easy out there, though. They were able to create chances for me and I was able to finish the play,” stressed the first year forward.

Other Neepawa players who registered goals included Braeden Binda and Zach Johnson, who both notched a pair of goals and an assist. Justin Metcalf, Ashton Anderson and Ryan Heino also all scored singles to power the Natives to the win. 

After the game had drawn to an end, Natives head coach Dustin Howden said this was a much needed result. He emphasized that he and the rest of the coaching staff weren’t happy with the team’s effort in the opening 20 minutes of play, but were proud of how they overcame it in the second.

“During the first intermission, we just talked about how that wasn’t us [in the first period] and that we were in a bit of a funk. To get out of that funk, we needed to work hard and start skating a little more. That’s what they did in the second. They pushed the pace of play and got more aggressive. We started moving the puck a little bit better and, perhaps most importantly, started putting shots on the net,” Howden said.  “Wayway does have straight line speed. If they get skating and get some space out on the ice, they can make plays. That’s what happened in the first period. We just got caught a bit flat footed. But they refocused in the second. Regrouped and as a team and [the 10-3 win] was the end of result.”

The win improved Neepawa’s regular season record to 8-8-1 on the year, good enough for 17 points and seventh place in the MJHL standings. Waywayseecappo, meanwhile, fell to 1-16-1 on the season. The next home game for the Natives will be on Friday, Nov. 3, when they host the Winnipeg Blues (5-9-3). Start time at the Yellowhead Arena is set for 7:30 p.m.