A week to forget for the Neepawa Natives


Natives silver logo

By Eoin Devereux

Neepawa Banner & Press

It’s been a simply horrible week, both on and off the ice for the Neepawa Natives. First, the organization had to deal with major technical issues with their chartered bus on Thursday, Sept. 27. This forced them to have to make last minute travel arrangements in order to even make it to Waywayseecappo to play the Wolverines. Once the Natives squad did actually arrive at the Wayway Arena Complex, they were met by a much-improved Wolverines’ club that appears to be a legitimate contender this season.

Neepawa lose to Wayway

The successful start of the MJHL season continued for the Waywayseecappo Wolverines on Thursday, Sept. 27. Unfortunately, their most recent success was at the expense of the Neepawa Natives, as Wayway claimed a 5-3 victory. 

While Neepawa took the lead early in the game, with Brad Marshall scoring just 21 seconds into the first period, the rest of the opening frame was completely controlled by the Wolverines. Riley Vautour and Tyrae Fountain would score just 16 seconds apart, giving Wayway a 2-1 lead after the first 20 minutes of action.

Both teams would score once in the second period, with Mackenzie Belinski getting the goal for Neepawa. In the third, Drayson Skulmoski notched the lone goal for the Natives, while the Wolverines tallied two more, making the final score 5-3. Waywayseecappo goaltender Isaac Labelle stopped 23 shots for the Wolverines, while Neepawa’s Nik Anderson had a 33 save performance. 

Disaster in the valley

The travel issues that impacted the Neepawa Natives on Thursday, Sept. 27, were fully resolved by the time the organization had to hit the road to Swan River on Saturday, Sept. 29. Having said that, maybe it would have been better if Neepawa had just stayed home anyway as they were annihilated by the Swan Valley Stampeders by the score of 9-0. 

Both Matthew Osadick (2 goals - 2 assists) and Josh Maucieri (4 assists) padded their stats on this night, while Stamps goaltender Michael Davis collected his first shutout of the season. It was also the coaching debut and first win for Swan Valley’s newly hired head coach and general manager Barry Wolff. For the Natives, there were very few positives takeaways from this result. 

These recent defeats have dropped Neepawa's overall record to 0-3-1 on the season. The next game for the Natives will be played on Wednesday, Oct. 3, when they host the Winnipeg Blues at the Yellowhead Centre. Start time is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.