The N.A.C.I. Tigers dominated a visiting Hamiota Huskies squad in the opening round of the Westman High School Hockey League (WHSHL) playoffs behind a combined 10-point effort from its two Bret(t)s.
Bret Levandoski piled up six assists while Brett McKinnon had a hat trick and added one helper to help Neepawa clinch a 12-0 victory in a winner-takes-all first round game against the playoff's bottom-ranked Hamiota squad.
Travis James pitched in with five points off four assists, Dylan Link scored two goals with one assist, Tyson Lavich and Tieler Fenning-Cox put away two markers apiece, and Braedon Mitchell dished out two assists.
Wyatt Salmon had the Tigers other multi-point night with a one-goal, one-assist effort. Riley Kolesar rounded out the goalscoring, while Jeremy Hodgins and Trent Nelson each had one assist.
Grant Graham earned the shutout between N.A.C.I.'s pipes.
The win moves Neepawa into the next round of the WHSHL playoffs where eight teams remain and the Tigers will face the winner of the Virden and Deloraine/Hartney first-round matchup.
Neepawa has defeated both teams handily already this season, including a 10-3 win over Virden and a 13-2 win over Deloraine/Hartney.
The first game of the three-game series will be in Neepawa Feb. 8 at 7:15 p.m.
But Tigers coach Mike Adams said his squad is hoping to extend its season far beyond next week.
“We are focussing on a long playoff run this year and the team worked really hard to get that no. two versus no. 15 matchup (against Hamiota Wednesday),” Adams told The Neepawa Press. “We have four players out with suspensions right now and we talked about players stepping up and using this opportunity to get us closer to our goal.
The Tigers coach also noted his team is ready no matter who they face in the upcoming week.
“We don't have a preference for either team. We are only concerned with our team and we are preparing for both," Adams said last Thursday before finding out his squad would be facing Virden in the second round.