The Neepawa Natives have been busy lately.
Over the last two weeks, a young Natives squad has had to battle both its opponents and the fatigue of playing seven games in nine nights.
During that stretch, Neepawa only managed to grab two wins, including one win in its five games played since last Monday.
Neepawa 1 - Steinbach 5
Sunday, Jan. 15
In its final game of the busy stretch, Neepawa found itself being outscored 5-1 by the Steinbach Pistons Sunday night in Steinbach despite only being outshot 36-34.
Steinbach opened the game's scoring with just under four minutes left in the first period before Neepawa's Robby Moar responded 23 seconds later of a marker assisted by Dylan Dock and Derrick Brooks.
The rest of the game was all Steinbach though, as they added three more in the second period and another in the final frame to win 5-1.
Alex Henry took the loss for Neepawa, allowing four goals in 40 minutes before newly acquired backup Jared Knott stepped in to save nine of the last 10 shots to finish out the game.
Neepawa went scoreless on five powerplay opportunities while Steinbach scored twice on four opportunities.
Neepawa 2 - Winkler 6
Saturday, Jan. 14
Henry and Knott shared time between the pipes for Neepawa again Saturday as the Flyers outshot Neepawa 53-25 en route to a 6-2 win in Winkler.
Winkler scored twice in the first and another in the second before Neepawa's Brooks put one away with less than four minutes left in the period. But Winkler would another goal to its tally less than two minutes later to regain its three-goal lead.
Neepawa's Shane Harrington opened the scoring in the final frame by putting one away in the powerplay about seven minutes in before Winkler knocked in two more to finish scoring at 6-2 in its favour.
Henry logged 35 minutes in net for Neepawa, saving 29 of 32 shots, while Knott saved 20 of 23 in 25 minutes of action.
The Natives had six powerplay opportunities, scoring on one, while Winkler went scoreless on its three man advantages.
Neepawa's Justin Dalebozik, Michael Butler and Harrington grabbed assists on the night.
Swan Valley 3 - Neepawa 4
Friday, Jan. 13
The Yellowhead Centre was packed Friday night with 1,001 filling the stands for the team's free game night.
The Natives were able to feed off the energy, grabbing their only win of the week by ousting the visiting Stampeders 4-3 in a thrilling game.
Dock opened the scoring for Neepawa at the 7:22 mark of the first period before Swan Valley knotted it up at one apiece just over two minutes into the second frame. Dock then put away his second of the game about eleven minutes later to give Neepawa a 2-1 advantage heading into the third.
Swan Valley scored twice early in the final frame to take its first lead at 3-2, but Neepawa wasn't about to disappoint a full house and got back-to-back markers from Carter Zalluski and Moar to clinch the game with a 4-3 score.
CJ Kort and Brooks had two assists each to help Neepawa to its first win of the week, while Craig Sigvaldason, Troy Hoban, Moar and goalie Knott added one assist apiece.
midweek action, the Natives found themselves on the wrong end of the scoresheet in back-to-back 4-2 home losses to the OCN Blizzard.
OCN 4 – Neepawa 2
Thursday, Jan. 11
OCN scored on the power play less than five minutes into Thursday night's game before Neepawa's Hoban responded with a late first period marker.
Dock put the Natives up 2-1 early in the second frame but the Blizzard responded with two of their own in the period as well as another in the third to clinch a 4-2 victory.
Hoban and Brooks each tallied an assist for Neepawa.
Both teams scored twice with the man advantage.
Henry made 35 saves in the losing effort. Neepawa posted 28 shots on OCN's net.
OCN 4 – Neepawa 2
Wednesday, Jan. 10
Tuesday night OCN jumped out to an early lead less than three minutes in before Neepawa's Justin Dalebozik scored less than three minutes later to tie it and Landon Thompson scored midway through the second to give Neepawa a 2-1 lead.
The Blizzard responded with a three-goal third period though en route to a 4-2 win.
OCN outshot Neepawa 42-32 with Riley Feser taking the loss in his last appearance for Neepawa prior to being traded. Clark Rempel and Hoy both had an assist.