It was a rough weekend for the Neepawa Natives, as the club dropped a pair of home games at the Yellowhead Centre. In the first game of the weekend, Neepawa was roughed up by the Swan Valley Stampeders on Friday, Jan. 17, falling 5-1.
Penalties proved to be a real X-factor in the end result, as Swan Valley scored twice on the power-play and added another while short-handed. Neepawa, meanwhile, went 0-for-8 with the man advantage, including a pair of 5-on-3 chances.
Natives head coach and general manger Ken Pearson said the team just couldn’t get anything going when they had the opportunity
“We were not on our game at all tonight. We weren’t prepared to battle. Swan came in here and started off with a strong 20 minutes of effort in the opening period. We just didn’t match that intensity. As the game went on, we had chances with the man advantage, multiple man advantages. We had some good looks on the power-play. We hit some posts, but those don’t count. As for the penalty kill, I don’t think we did a real good job boxing out. I think [Goaltender Dawson Green] had a tough time seeing pucks from the blue line. We have to clear the path of vision for him and that was a factor. Two power-play goals is too many to give up,” stated Pearson.
Green did make 36 saves on the night for Neepawa, but was still tagged with the loss. Cooper Morris scored the lone goal for the Natives.
Natives fall to Selkirk
It was a much more solid effort for the Neepawa Natives the following night, as the club faced the Selkirk Steelers (21-19-2-1. 45 points). Unfortunately, the end result was still a 5-4 loss in regulation. The Natives’ power-play was better over the course of 60 minutes, going 1-for-4.
Cooper Morris scored a pair of goals for Neepawa and added an assist. Rylan Gudnason and Eli Lieffers scored the other goals for the Natives on the night.
With these recent defeats, Neepawa’s regular season record has dropped to 8-32-1-3, for 20 points on the season. The next home game at the Yellowhead Centre is scheduled for . 25, when the Natives host the Winnipeg Blues. Start time is set for 7:30 p.m.