They aren't your Neepawa Natives of years' past.
The Natives made it through the past week with a loss, win and shootout loss to collect 3 of a possible 6 points in the standings. The team's record now sits at 1-3-1.
But, for Natives fans, the most promising sign from the past week was that Neepawa was in a position to win all three of the games but were a few finishes – and posts – away from earning the win.
Pistons 5 at Natives 2
Just over 350 people headed to the Yellowhead Arena for Neepawa's second home game of the season where the Natives went head-to-head with the Pistons but weren't able to find the win.
The Pistons led 2-1 after one period, 4-2 after 40 minutes and finished the game up 5-2 with an empty net goal for the win. The game was back-and-forth, and the shot count was 48-43 in Steinbach's favour, but it was Neepawa's inability to convert on its 5-on-3 opportunities that ultimately kept Neepawa out of the win column.
While the Natives were able to create scoring chances with the man, and two-man advantages, they only managed about a half-dozen posts and one goal on 12 power play opportunities.
Meanwhile, Neepawa's penalty kill did hold its own, keeping the Pistons scoreless on eight powerplay opportunities.
Brayden Cuthbert scored a powerplay goal, assisted by Clayton Heinrichs and Sam Briscoe, while Robby Moar scored Neepawa's other marker short-handed.
Michael Gudmandson took the loss in net.
Natives 4 at Wolverines 2
It required a bit of a drive, but the Natives grabbed their first win of the season Saturday in Waywayseecappo.
Neepawa outshot the Wolverines 30-29 and led for all but one minute of the game en rout to the win.
Hometown product Kyle McDonald opened the scoring 72 seconds into the game, while Riley Hillis and Briscoe scored within a minute of one another to extend the lead to 3-0.
Wayway scored with just over a minute left in the period to bring the score to 3-1.
The Wolverines scored again to start the second period, but Briscoe put away his second of the game with just over three minutes left in the second period to clinch a 4-2 Neepawa win.
Derrick Brooks had two assists, while Moar and Cuthbert had singles.
Gudmandson earned the win for Neepawa.
Wayway 2 at Natives 1 (SO)
Another crowd of just over 380 people headed to the Yellowhead Centre Sunday night as the Natives looked to be in the driver's seat, but weren't able to find the game-winner in another exciting game to start the season.
Neepawa outshot Wayway 42-37, but only converted 1-0f-10 powerplay opportunities and found the goalpost a few more times in the loss. Meanwhile, Neepawa's penalty kill shutdown its opponents again, keeping the Wolverines scoreless on 7 man-advantage opportunities.
The Natives and Wolverines both scored their goals in the second period, with Moar scoring two minutes in on the powerplay – assisted by Henry Berger – and Wayway scoring midway through the period.
Overtime solved nothing, and the shootout even featured some extra action, as it went to eight shooters before Waywayseecappo scored the game-winner.
Briscoe scored Neepawa's lone shootout goal as the goaltenders shut down their opponents, combining to allow only three goals on 16 shots in the shootout.
Verhelst took the loss in net for Neepawa.
The Natives have dropped veterans Craig Fournier and T.J. Sneath from the roster as they continue to find the best lineup for the squad.
Meanwhile, they completed a trade last Wednesday bringing Creston, B.C.'s Matti Jmaeff to the team from the Melfort Mustangs. Jmaeff is a '94 player who totaled 45 points in 42 games in the KIJHL last season.