The Neepawa Natives returned to the ice on Sunday, Dec. 13 to face the Swan Valley Stampeders at the Yellowhead Arena. Neepawa was able to take advantage of their early scoring opportunities and jumped out to a quick two goal lead. Jordan Martin scored at the 2:35 mark of the first period, with Kyle McDonald and Reigan Buchanan assisting. McDonald added a goal of his own just a few minutes later, to make it 2-0.
This early scoring barrage forced Swan Valley to get a bit more aggressive with its offensive efforts. That would pay off quickly for the Stamps, as they replied with a pair of goals before the end of the first, to tie things at 2-2. Neepawa bounced back however, as Nathan Hillis reclaiming the lead for the home side before the end of the first 20 minutes. An action packed first period closed out with Neepawa holding on to a one-goal cushion.
Unfortunately, that advantage did not last long into the second, as Swan Valley tied the game once again just 20 seconds into the period. Cody Ellington was credited with the power-play goal. Swan Valley kept consistent pressure on the Neepawa defence and goaltender Troy Pierce for the remainder of the period, peppering 15 shots on goal in the middle frame. That work eventually paid off, as Gavin Froese netted Swan Valley’s fourth of the evening, with less than two minutes remaining in the second, to make it 4-3.
There would be a few quality opportunities for both clubs in the third period, including a strong effort by Neepawa in the final few minutes to tie the game, but no goals registered. After 60 minutes, it would be the Swan Valley Stampeders who would escape the Yellowhead Centre with a 4-3 win. Jordan Martin ended the evening with three points (1-2), while Kyle McDonald (1-1) and Reigan Buchanan (0-2) each garnered two point nights.
The next home game for Neepawa is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 15, against the Waywayseecappo Wolverines. Puck drop is set for 7:30 pm.