Neepawa Natives split weekend road swing


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By Eoin Devereux

Neepawa Banner & Press

The Neepawa Natives collected two of a possible four points on a recent road trip to Winnipeg and Steinbach. Neepawa knocked off the Winnipeg Blues on Saturday, Jan. 6, by the score of 9-4. The next night in Steinbach, the Pistons topped the Natives 5-2. These results leave Neepawa with an 18-19-3 record, good enough for 39 points and seventh place in the MJHL standings. 

For the matchup in Winnipeg, Zak Smith and Zach Johnson went wild on the stat-line, with Smith collecting a hat-trick and Johnson having a five point night (1 goal - 4 assists). Team captain Griffin Chwaliboga also helped solidify the victory by contributing a goal and three assists. Other goal scorers for Neepawa included Justin Metcalf, Mackenzie Belinski, Brett Namaka and Jordan Martin. Goaltender Spencer Eschyschyn gathered the win with 31 save performance. 

Steinbach top Neepawa: The Steinbach Pistons were able to hold off the solid start from the Neepawa Natives, to secure a 5-2 win Sunday, Jan. 7. The Natives pressed the Pistons in the early going, coming through with a power-play goal from Jordan Martin near the mid point of the first period. That was Martin’s 45th point of the year. That seemed to wake up call for Steinbach, however, as the Pistons scored three straight before the end of the first.

In the second, the Pistons added to their lead to make it 4-1, before Neepawa cut into the lead as Braden Binda potted is 13th goal of the season.

In the final period of regulation, Steinbach clamped down on defense and added one more goal to make it a 5-2 final. Darby Gula had the lone assist. Matthew Radomsky had a solid night in net for the Pistons with an 18 save night.

The next game for the Natives is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 13, when the Natives host the Winnipeg Blues (16-16-5. 37 points)