Tuesday September 16, 2014

Sports in Prime Time

Natives finish home schedule on a high note


Dauphin 2 at Neepawa 3 (SO)

Matthieu Verreault led the way for Neepawa, stringing together a 38-save performance in a night where the Natives were outshot 40-28 by the Kings. Meanwhile, his teammates put together the performance needed in front of him to earn the win.

It was a former teammate who aimed to get the best of Neepawa on Friday though, as Brayden Cuthbert scored the game's opening goal to give Dauphin a 1-0 lead with 16 seconds remaining in the first period.

Neepawa responded as late-season call-up, youngster Sam Houston, notched his first MJHL goal about 15 minutes into the second period to tie it up. Sam Briscoe and Drake Lindsay assisted.

Cuthbert again had different plans though, as the Brandon native scored his second of the game two minutes later to ensure Dauphin regained a lead at 2-1.

Neepawa would respond late in the game, off a powerplay goal from the stick of Brady Bouchard – assisted by Briscoe and Heinrichs - with just over five minutes remaining, to tie it at 2-2 and force overtime.

Overtime solved nothing – and it was time for a shootout.

Verreault saved Dauphin's first attempt. Jaret Smith responded by scoring on Neepawa's first opportunity.

Dauphin's Tanner Butler then faced the same fate as his predecessor, not being able to sneak a puck by Verreault, but Neepawa's Lindsay couldn't find the net and Neepawa's 1-0 lead held through to the final round.

That's where Cuthbert had his final opportunity to play the spoiler and put the nail in the coffin against his former team – but Verreault had other plans, keeping the puck out of the net and ensuring a 3-2 shootout win for the Natives.

Neepawa 3 at OCN 6

Another former Native came to play Sunday night in OCN, but this time was able to push his squad onto victory.

Rhett Law found the net twice as his Blizzard stormed over the Natives 6-3, in Neepawa's final game of the season.

Ty Webber, Briscoe and Kyle McDonald scored for Neepawa, with Jaxon Elmes, Lindsay (2) and Bouchard assisting.

Verreault took the loss as Neepawa outshot OCN 36-31.

Playoff Picture

With the win Friday night, Neepawa topped last year's win total by one, notching 14 wins in 60 games this year, as compared to 13 last season.

Overall, the Natives again finished sixth in the Sher-Wood Division, with a 33-point total identical to last year's. The 2013-14 record finished at 14-41-5, while last year's was 13-40-7. The Natives also played more competitive hockey this year, improving their total goals for/goals against difference by 25 goals this season.

In the playoffs, OCN will face Waywayseecappo while Winkler will face Winnipeg in the opening round best-of-three survivor series.

In the Sher-wood Division, Dauphin will face the winner of the OCN/Wayway series in the divisional finals, while Virden will battle Swan Valley.

In the Addison, Selkirk will play the winner of the Winnipeg/Winkler series, with Portage and Steinbach battling in the other series.


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