Weekend sports wrap: Natives defeat Flyers; Krzyzaniak, UND women's hockey team upset No. 1 ranked Gophers



The following is a recap of what transpired in local sports over the weekend . . .

Natives edge Flyers in shootout; club releases Gudmandson, Summers

It was a battle of the goaltenders on Friday night at the Yellowhead Centre in Neepawa.

Davy Fisher made a whopping 59 saves between the pipes for the Neepawa Natives en route to a 1-0 shootout win over the Winkler Flyers. Natives forward Riley Hillis wound up scoring the lone goal of the contest in the fifth round of the shootout on netminder Mitchell Maraschiello, who stopped all 40 shots directed his way for the Flyers.

"Obviously both goaltenders were the stars of the game," said Natives head coach Dwayne Kirkup. "It's unfortunate that someone has to lose a game like this, but I'm pretty happy that we were able to come out on top.

"The room believes in Davy [Fisher]," he continued. He was terrific tonight. He gave us an opportunity to win."

The game had its ebbs and flows as both clubs had several scoring opportunities but neither team could find the back of the net during regulation and overtime. A key point in the contest came in the second period where the Natives, who went 0-for-3 with the man advantage on the night, were able to withstand a barrage of shots -- 24 to be exact -- from the Flyers, keeping the game scoreless.

"We really have been working hard on our defensive zone coverage," said Kirkup. "We're trying to simplify the game. We're trying to get in [shooting] lanes. We're just doing all the little things that maybe make a difference. I think the results are starting to show."

Kirkup says Hillis, the Manitoba Junior Hockey League's rookie of the month for October, made sure to let him know that he wanted a chance to win the game for his team during the shootout.

"He [Hillis] gave me a little wink on the bench that he wanted to be the shooter. Good on him. He wants the puck and we got the result because of it."

Natives news and notes

- The Natives released 20-year-old goaltender Michael Gudmandson and 20-year-old blueliner Buddy Summers. Gudmandson, from Sherwood Park, Alta., played in nine games for the Natives, going 1-8 with a 3.67 goals against average and a .911 save percentage. Gudmandson was acquired by the Natives in a trade with the SJHL's Humboldt Broncos in June. Summers meanwhile, was an import player from West Chester, PA, who was added to the squad during the offseason. He had one assist in 14 games with Neepawa. At this point roster-wise, the club currently sits with seven defencemen, 15 forwards and two goaltenders.

- Natives captain Ryley Pace has been out of the lineup since mid October when he tore his MCL in a game against the Waywayseecappo Wolverines. Kirkup says the 20-year-old blueliner has begun skating and could return to the lineup with the next couple of weeks. Kirkup also confirmed that forward Landon Thomson, who has a shoulder injury, will miss the rest of the season.

Pearson returns to Neepawa

It was a return home for Ken Pearson, the head coach and general manager for the Winkler Flyers on Friday night. Pearson, from Neepawa, says it's always nice to come home to see family and familiar faces in the crowd. He had some positive words to say about the Natives program and where it's headed.

"I think they're very similar to us in that they work hard," said Pearson. "They're solid between the pipes. I think Dwayne [Kirkup] has done a great job. He's got some good structure here and some good leadership on his part and he's held guys accountable."

Pearson began his coaching career in Neepawa in 1994 as an assistant coach helping the Natives clinch the Allard Division title.

Here are the rest of the scores from around the MJHL over the weekend . . .

Portage 5 OCN 1
Dauphin 6  Virden 5 (SO)
Swan Valley 5 Winnipeg 3

OCN 4 Winnipeg 2
Portage 5 Swan Valley 1
Selkirk 4 Steinbach 0
Dauphin 4 Wayway 1

Selkirk 5 Portage 3
Steinbach 4 Winkler 3


Wheat Kings defeat Blades; make major trade

The Brandon Wheat Kings completed a home and home series sweep of the Saskatoon Blades at Westman Communications Group Place on Friday night.

Two days after scoring a 5-2 victory in Saskatoon, the Wheat Kings outshot the Blades 50-19 en route to a 6-2 win. Tim McGauley scored twice and captain Ryan Pulock had a goal and three points for the Wheat Kings, who ran their winning streak to three games and improved to 12-11-0 on the season.

Prior to Friday's game, the Wheat Kings observed a moment of silence for Keith McCallum, the former club executive and part owner of the Western Hockey League franchise who passed away last weekend at the age of 75.

On Saturday, the Wheat Kings acquired highly touted defenceman Ryan Pilon from the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

In exchange for the 17-year old blueliner, who was the third overall selection in the 2011 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft, the Hurricanes receive veterans Nick Walters and Taylor Cooper as well as the rights to 16-year old defenceman Tanner Browne.

As part of the deal, the Wheat Kings also receive the playing rights to forward Colt Conrad, who is currently skating with Shattucks St. Marys midget program and has seven goals and 18 points in 16 games. As a Pembina Valley AAA Hawk last season, he finished tied for the league scoring lead with 25 goals and 67 points. He was a third round bantam draft pick of the 'Canes in 2012.

At 6-foot-2, 212 pounds, Pilon is eligible for the 2015 National Hockey League Entry Draft and is currently in his second WHL season. In 17 games with the Hurricanes this season, the Duck Lake, Sask. product has three goals, seven points and 25 minutes in penalties.

During his rookie season in 2012-13 he had 28 points, including five goals in 57 games. In 76 career WHL games, Pilon, who was a member of the Canadian gold medal winning team with Jayce Hawryluk at this past summer’s U18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in the Czech Republic, has scored eight goals and 35 points while accumulating 88 penalty minutes.

“This is a significant trade for our organization," said Wheat Kings coach and general manager Kelly McCrimmon in a release. “Ryan is an elite player in our league and at 17 years of age will make us better now and in the future.  He was the third selection in his draft player, a young player that is very highly regarded.”

“In Conrad, we add a gifted offensive player who has excelled at all levels,” McCrimmon continued.

A 19-year old veteran of spruce Grove Alberta, Walters was in his second season with the Wheat Kings after being acquired from Everett at last year’s WHL Trade Deadline in exchange for Ayrton Nikkel. In 21 games with Brandon this season, the St. Louis Blues’ draft choice has two assists and 24 minutes in penalties. During his four-year WHL career, Walters has seven goals, 43 points and 277 penalty minutes in 195 career games.

Chosen by the Wheat Kings in the sixth round (131st overall) in the 2010 WHL bantam draft, Cooper is also in his second WHL season. After scoring nine goals and 25 points in 64 games as a rookie in 2012-13, the Sherwood Park, Alberta product has ten points, including seven goals in 22 games this season.

Browne meanwhile was Brandon’s second selection (35th overall) in the 2012 draft and is currently playing for the Okanagan Rocket of the British Columbia Major Midget Hockey League.

Pilon is expected to join the Wheat Kings on Monday and should be in the lineup on Tuesday night when Brandon kicks off a four-game western road swing in Swift Current against the Broncos.


Krzyzaniak, UND women's hockey team defeat No. 1 seeded Gophers

The University of North Dakota women's hockey team, which includes Neepawa's Halli Krzyzaniak, picked up a big win over the weekend.

After falling 6-1 to the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Saturday, UND rebounded on Sunday, defeating the No. 1 seed Gophers 3-2, ending the club's 62-game winning streak.

Krzyzaniak, a blueliner, picked up an assist in the win and currently has a goal and five points in 10 games this season.

UND, ranked No. 4 in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, now sit with a 8-1-1 record overall and are 6-1-1 in conference play.

This is Krzyzaniak's first season with the UND women's hockey team. She spent the previous five years with the Pursuit of Excellence women's hockey program.


Farmers fall to Plainsmen

The Neepawa Farmers dropped a 5-3 decision to the Carberry Plainsmen in Tiger Hills Hockey League action on Saturday night at the Yellowhead Centre.

Devon Epp, Eric Jury and Bret Levandoski scored for the Farmers in the loss.

The Farmers now sit with a 1-4 record and are tied for last place in the East Division.


BU review: Bobcats men's b-ball team picks up first win of season

The Brandon University Bobcats men's basketball team picked up their first win of the season on Saturday night at the Healthy Living Centre.

After dropping an 83-60 decision to Alberta on Friday, the Bobcats rebounded with a tightly-contested 71-70 win over the No. 2 ranked Golden Bears.

Emerick Ravier scored the game winning basket on a turn-around jumper with 5.7 seconds left.
The Bobcats now sit with a 1-5 record.

The Lady 'Cats basketball team meanwhile, dropped both of their games and remain winless on the season.

Turning to volleyball action, the BU men's volleyball squad lost both of their games to the University of Manitoba and currently sit with a 4-4 record. Meanwhile, the BU women's team went 1-1 over the weekend against Manitoba and currently sit with a 5-2 mark.


Doering wins Sun Life Financial Junior Challenge

Kyle Doering defeated Cole Peters 6-5 in an extra end to win the men's title at the Sun Life Financial Junior Challenge at the Brandon Curling Club on Sunday.

Doering and his curling team earned $2,500 with the victory.

Meanwhile, Cory Christensen won the women's title, defeating Shannon Birchard 6-2 in the final.


Koe wins Canadian Open

Kevin Koe's curling team, which includes Brandon's Nolan Thiessen, defeated Brad Gushue 5-4 in the final of the Grand Slam of Curling Canadian Open in Medicine Hat on Sunday.


Roughriders, Tiger-Cats to meet in CFL final

The Saskatchewan Roughriders and Hamilton Tiger-Cats will be facing off against each other in the 101st edition of the CFL's Grey Cup championship.

The Roughriders defeated the Calgary Stampeders 35-13 in the CFL's West Division final on Sunday, while the Tiger-Cats beat the Toronto Argonauts 36-24 in the East Division final.


Chiefs defeat Capitals, Selects

The Yellowhead Chiefs had a successful weekend in the Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League.

On Saturday, the Chiefs doubled up on the Central Plains Capitals by a score of 6-3 at the Shoal Lake Communiplex.

Morgan Geekie scored four goals for the Chiefs in the win.

On Sunday, the Chiefs defeated the Eastman Selects 5-3 in Shoal Lake.

Logan Robinson, Brody Smith, Morgan Geekie, Josh Martin and Tyler Dereniwski scored for the Chiefs, who improved to 8-7 on the season.

For the rest of the scores from the weekend, click here.


Jets go 1-1

The NHL's Winnipeg Jets went 1-1 over the weekend. On Friday night, the Jets were able to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 in a shootout. Dustin Byfuglien scored both goals in regulation before Bryan Little netted the game winner in the shootout.

On Sunday, the Jets dropped a 2-1 decision to the Minnesota Wild. Byfuglien again scored what would be the Jets lone goal on the night.

The Jets now sit with a 10-10-2 record.

With files from Wheat Kings release


Top photo: Natives players salute the fans after defeating the Winkler Flyers 1-0 in a shootout on Friday night at the Yellowhead Centre. Photo by Lanny Stewart.

Bottom photo: Halli Krzyzaniak of the UND Huskies.

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