Howden offers no excuses for Natives' poor play



By Eoin Devereux

Neepawa Banner & Press

Neepawa Natives head coach and general manager Dustin Howden didn’t mince words when it came to why his team was humbled on Sunday, Oct. 14 by the Portage Terriers, by the score of 8-2. 

“We got outworked…The end,” stated Howden. “We’re ten games into the season here and our younger players need to start pushing harder out there and our older guys need to lead by example. You have to go out there and outwork the other guy. Quite simply, the games a competition. Every play, every possession, every scramble for the loose puck; you have to outwork [your opposition] and that’s all there is. It doesn’t matter if you're the most skilled player out on the ice or least skilled. When you’re out there, you got to go to work.”

And work is exactly what Portage did out there, with Neepawa being the ones that were worked over. Terrier forwards Kolton Shindle and Mac Walkington each had a pair of goals each, while Reilly Funk added three points to the stat-line (one goal - two assists). Brad Marshall and Drayson Skulmoski had the goals for Neepawa. 

The loss dropped the Natives record to 3-6-1 on the season, good enough for seven points and tied for tenth place in the standings with the Virden Oil Capitals. Howden said there is still time for them to turn this around, but the consistency needs to there. 

“You see it out there. We’ll have very good games against good teams and then we’ll have bad ones. Sometime, it’ll even change from period to period.  If you’re not buying in on this [gameplan] and you’re not working hard you’re not going to be here, it’s as simple as that.” 

Howden ended the conversation with the Banner & Press by throwing out the challenge to the players to respond to this adversity, adding that those who do will still be wearing the jersey this time next week.