Natives conquer Kings in come from behind win

Trailing 4-0 after 20 minutes of play, it would have been very easy for the Neepawa Natives to simply pack it in and call it a night against the Dauphin Kings on Wednesday, Feb. 12. But instead, the team decided to play its best, most complete two periods of hockey in quite some time, powering them to a surprising 6-4 win.
For the first period, the Dauphin Kings were simply better, scoring the game’s first four goals and holding an 18-2 shots on goal advantage. During the first intermission within the Natives’ dressing room, however, forward Brad Marshall, who ended up scoring a hat trick on the night, noted they simply had enough.
“We had some leaders step up and get a little bit emotional in the [dressing] room. They just said ‘Boys, we have nine games left here. Nine games are going to start tonight and we can’t do what we just did in that first period. Let’s go out there, pretend it’s a 0-0 game. Come out flying, hit em hard and just keep shooting.’ The bounces just started going our way after that and we didn’t give up.” said Marshall.
Marshall led by example on the ice by scoring the first two goals of the game for Neepawa in the second period. His two goals, along with one from Benoit Mowbray all happened within a 1:05 minute span, turning the Yellowhead Centre from a morgue into a madhouse. That led to a 4-3 score heading into the final 20 minutes of regulation. Neepawa ended up leading the shots on goal in the second period 14-9, a solid turnaround from the lopsidedness of the first period.
Natives head coach/general manager Ken Pearson said that was a tremendous effort from all the players.
“We were a lot more disciplined. In the first [period], we were lazy and took a few penalties that put us on our heels and got us into trouble,” said Pearson. “Second and third, though, different story. When we go on the attack, we have to attack the net and that’s what they did on a couple of those goals tonight. It’s all [the players], they worked hard out there and they turned it around. Played a smart game and were rewarded for their efforts.”
The third period was more of the same, with three more goals from Neepawa, including Marshall’s third of the night and 14th of the season. Corbin Mariash and Will Highet had the other goals for Neepawa in the period, to ensure the 6-4 win.
The Dauphin Kings ultimately ended the game with the shot advantage, by a 42-28 margin. Michael Davis collected the win in goal for Neepawa, stopping 38 shots, while Dauphin’s Matthias Smith suffered the loss between the pipes for the Kings, with 22 saves.
The victory improved Neepawa’s regular season record to 11-37-1-3. Next up for the club is four road games, starting with a trip to Selkirk to play the Steelers on Saturday, Feb. 15. Neepawa will follow that up with a pair of games in Portage la Prairie versus the Terriers. Then the Natives will wrap up their mini-road swing in Virden against the Oil Capitals on Friday, Feb. 21. The team returns to the Yellowhead Centre for their next home game on Saturday, Feb. 22, when they will once again face the Dauphin Kings. Start time will be at 7:30 p.m.