The Neepawa Natives played a pair of games over the weekend, first defeating the OCN Blizzard 4-1, but then falling to the Swan Valley Stampeders the next night 2-0. On Friday, Jan. 10, the Natives welcomed OCN to the Yellowhead Arena. This game was another stellar effort for Neepawa’s leading scorer Eli Lieffers. The 19-year-old from Saskatoon, contributed with a goal and a pair of assists.
After the game, Lieffers noted that the club’s recent improvement on the ice can be attributed to a renewed focus by everyone upon the fundamentals.
“In the new year, we’ve focused on playing a team game and doing the little things; Things like blocking shots and doing what a team needs to do. I thought we all played hard tonight. It was a gritty game and in those types of matchups, you can’t take a shift off,” stated Lieffers.
The go along with Lieffers’ three point effort, Benoit Mowbray (1 goal – 1 assist) and Rylan Gudnason (2 assists) also tabulated two point performances. Rhys Bremner and Corbin Mariash added goals, while Bradley Marshall and Braden Gillies rounded out the team’s stat line with assists.
Neepawa Natives head coach and general manager Ken Pearson said that while the team played OCN’s wide open style of hockey a little too much early on, they did buckle down a bit in the third and that made a big difference.
A trip to the valley
A road trip up north to Swan River on Saturday, Jan. 11, didn’t yield a positive result for Neepawa, as they were bested 2-0 by the Swan Valley Stampeders. Josh Maucieri and Ryley Lanthier lead the way for the Stamps with a goal each, while recent arrival, goaltender Parker Rey stopped 27 shots to pick up a shutout.
Neepawa had ample opportunity to make a game of it, as they had seven power-play chances, including four in the first. They were unable to make the most of it, though, leading to the loss. Final shots on goal were 27 for the Natives and 39 for the Stampeders.
The Natives are back in action Tuesday night in Winnipeg, followed by a pair of home games this weekend. Swan Valley comes to town Friday night and Selkirk making the trip Saturday night. Both game times are 7:30.