After falling to the Winkler Flyers 5-2 on Friday, Sept. 9, the Neepawa Natives bounced back quickly the following night, by taking the second game of a home and home by the score of 3-1.
Justin Metcalf, Reigan Buchanan and Sam Stewart scored for the Natives, while Ryan Burton notched the lone goal for the visiting Flyers. Goaltenders Tyler Gutenberg and Ryan Bezan combined for the win, as Winkler outshot Neepawa 32-26 over the course of the game. Neepawa head coach Dustin Howden said the coaching staff was pleased with the effort they saw out there on the ice.
“The team chemistry is starting to come together. With so many returning players from last season there is already a level of comfort out there. They’ll still working hard in practice though to improve on that familiarity and be able to execute during games. [The coaching staff] has been working really hard with them, as well. We’ve been driving home the point that puck possession is very important and you can see the players are taking those lessons to heart and using the information in game. There are still little things that need to improve, but it’s the start of the year and that’s to be expected. Overall, I’m pleased with how things have progressed,” noted Howden.
With the win, Neepawa improved to 2-1 on the exhibition season. The next game for the Natives will be on Tuesday, Sept. 13 in Waywayseecappo, against the Wolverines. Following that, Neepawa will play a home and home against the Dauphin Kings this weekend, to close out the pre-season schedule.