Neepawa Natives win in spectacular fashion over Winkler



Riley Hillis (17) scores in the shootout for Neepawa

By Eoin Devereux

The Neepawa Banner

Neepawa Natives head coach Dwayne Kirkup has been stressing to his players recently the importance of playing a full and consistent 60 minutes of hockey. On Friday night, he received the effort he was looking for and then some, as Neepawa ended its five game losing streak, with a 5-4 shootout win over the Winkler Flyers.

Drake Lindsay, Steven Phillips, Brady Bouchard and Kyle McDonald scored for Neepawa in the victory, while Alex Henry stopped 44 of the 48 shots he faced. Riley Hillis also contributed for the Natives, as he garnered a pair of assists in regulation and scored the game winner during the shootout.

Coach Kirkup said this was a complete game by the team, which showed exactly how competitive this roster can be.

“I’m proud of the team and the way they battled.” said Kirkup. “I liked our compete level. We played a strong 60 [minutes]. Not 50. We played better, it seems against the better teams in the league. We seemed like we were up for the challenge.”

Kirkup noted that power play and penalty kill, which have been an issue for the team recently, were in fine form, as Neepawa scored two goals with the man advantage. As for the penalty kill, the Natives did give up one short handed goal, but was able to kill off the other five penalties it received, including a two man disadvantage late in the third period.

The game also seemed to have the feel of a playoff game, as 542 fan filled the Yellowhead Centre and were extremely vocal throughout the night. Kirkup said that type of home crowd gave the team a bit more energy when they needed it.

“I really liked how the fans got involved and there was a lot of energy in the building. A bit of excitement and it ended up being a great game for everybody to watch.” said Kirkup.

The next game for Neepawa is on Thursday, Nov. 13, in Virden against the Oil Capitals.