Neepawa Natives open 2018 with a win



By Eoin Devereux

Neepawa Banner & Press

The Neepawa Natives picked up a very important two points in the MJHL standings, in their first game of 2018, with a 5-3 win over Waywayseecappo on Wednesday, Jan. 3.

Ashton Anderson and Braeden Binda each scored a pair of goals over the course of the game to help lead Neepawa to victory. Brad Marshall picked up the other goal for the Natives, while goaltender Spencer Eschyschyn collected the win with a 34-save performance. The victory improved Neepawa’s regular season record to 17-18-3, good enough for 37 points on the season and seventh place in the MJHL standings. 

After a scoreless first period, Neepawa picked up a pair of goals in the second and another pair early in the third. After Waywayseecappo scored their first of the night, the Natives quickly replied with their fifth of the night. A late surge from Waywayseecappo, with two goals in the last 5:35 wasn’t enough to mount the comeback, as Neepawa closed out the night with the 5-3 win.

After the game, Neepawa head coach Dustin Howden noted that the first game back after an extended break is very important, because it can set the tone for the second half of the season.

“The guys came out tonight and played well. They responded well in the early part of the second period and got the two goal lead, which is important. The special teams came up big, with both a power-play and a short-handed goal tonight. The third period was what it was, but the team was able to pull out the win and the two points in the standings, which is so important for us right now,” stressed Howden.

The next game for Neepawa is on Saturday, Jan. 6, when the team travels to Winnipeg to face the Blues. The Natives will follow that up the following night with a showdown on Steinbach against the Pistons.