Natives starting to find their stride?


 Scott Mickoski-vs-Wpg


Photo by Eoin Devereux. The recent arrival of Scott Mickoski (foreground) to the Neepawa Natives’ roster has had a huge impact, as he already has five points (3 goals - 2 assists) in his first two games with the franchise, including four against the Winnipeg Blues on Wednesday, Oct. 3.


By Eoin Devereux

Neepawa Banner & Press

The slow start to the MJHL season for the Neepawa Natives appears to have taken a turn for the better, as the club has won two of their last three games. 

The first win of the season was a 7-4 decision over the Winnipeg Blues on Wednesday, Oct. 3. Newcomer Scott Mickoski, who was recently acquired from the Portage Terriers, had an immediate impact with a four-point night (2 goals - 2 assists). Other key contributors on the night included Jesse Gibbons (1G - 2A), Cam Olstad (2 goals) and Mackenzie Belinski (1G - 1A). Natives goaltender Nik Anderson picked up the win with a 28 save effort.

A few nights later, Neepawa once again put in a solid performance, topping the OCN Blizzard 3-2. Belinski, Mickoski and Brad Marshall gave the Natives a solid 3-0 lead heading into the third period. OCN bounced back with a pair of goals in the final 20 minutes of regulation but was unable to find the equalizer.  Anderson made 23 saves for his second straight victory, while OCN’s Noah Giesbrecht made 53 saves but still took the loss.


A new energy

Concluding the OCN game, Natives coach and general manager Dustin Howden noted that the recent additions of Scott Mickoski, Aidan Woodley and John Elliott has added a spark to the locker room.

“All three of these guys are new arrivals, but they’re already fitting in quite well. [Mickoski] especially seems to have hit his stride right off the bat. he had four points in his first game and followed up with another point [Sunday, Oct. 7]. He’s a big guy, but he is really quick out there on the ice, so we’re excited to have him in the line-up,” said Howden. “ Woodley and Elliott as well. Though they haven’t registered points yet, their time on the ice was productive. The entire team has a new energy to them right now. Hopefully, they’ll be able to maintain that momentum.”

A step back in Winnipeg

Unfortunately, Neepawa was unable to keep their momentum going in Winnipeg on Tuesday, Oct. 9 as they lost to the Blues by the score of 5-2. Former Natives’ forward Braeden Binda came back to haunt his former squad by scoring a hat-trick. Meanwhile, Braden Gillies of Neepawa scored his first MJHL goal. Michael Boutoussov scored the other goal for the Natives.

Next up for Neepawa are a pair of difficult tests as they’ll face the league’s top team, the Portage Terriers (6-1-0) and the MJHL’s biggest surprise, the Waywayseecappo Wolverines (5-1-1).