Natives beat Blues in shootout

The Neepawa Natives won in dramatic fashion on Saturday, Jan. 25, defeating the Winnipeg Blues 5-4 in a shootout. Though this night did end with an epic shootout, for the majority of the game it appeared as though Neepawa had everything well under control. The Natives had secured a 4-1 lead after 40 minutes of action, with Eli Lieffers scoring twice in the first period and Bradley Marshall and Corbin Mariash contributing one each in the second.
In the third, Winnipeg would answer back in quick succession by scoring three goals in just under four minute span at the mid-point of the period. While the remainder of regulation and the five minute overtime period remained scoreless, that doesn’t mean there were not incredible chances for both sides. Winnipeg ended up clanking up off the post less than a minute into overtime. Neepawa had its’ opportunities as well, as Lieffers and Marshall each with a pair of breakaway chances. On both occasions, Winnipeg players dragged down the Neepawa attackers, drawing penalties. Both incidents could have realistically warranted a penalty shot, but the referees decided not to go that direction, much to the chagrin of the fans at the Yellowhead Centre.
The game would end up going to the shootout, which featured five rounds before a winner was decided. Cooper Morris put away the goal that would give Neepawa the victory. Dawson Green collected the win in net for the Natives, stopping 46 shots over the course of the night.
After the game, Neepawa Natives head coach and general manager Ken Pearson said that despite what happened in the third period, he was still pleased with the team’s effort throughout the entire game.
“There was no quit out there from them tonight,” stated Pearson. “We got off to a real good start. Winnipeg pressed back in the third, but we just took a deep breath and didn’t panic. There was lots of game left be played and we knew we needed to go out and create some chances for ourselves. It was good to see the boys battled hard, [Dawson Green] came up with some big stops for us in the shootout. And the final result is what matters.”
Eli Lieffers was named the first star of the game for his two goal effort. Winnipeg’s Mitchell Joss (2 goals – 0 assists) was the second star and Copper Morris (1A, GWG in shootout) was the third star.