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Brendan Martin (10) reacts to Daniel McKitrick's first period goal versus Swan. (Photo courtesy: Adi Loewen)

McKitrick scores two to lead Pistons past Stampeders

Daniel McKitrick scored two goals, Austin Heidemann had a goal and an assist, and Mark Taraschuk and Mark Wilson both notched two helpers as the Steinbach Pistons defeated the Swan Valley Stampeders 7-3 Friday night.

Matthew Thiessen made 27 saves in the win, while Brett Evans was kept busy in the Swan goal, stopping 46 of 53 shots in the loss. With the win, the Pistons extend their consecutive games with a point streak to sixteen games. The win also gives the Pistons their 32nd straight win over the Stampeders, including playoffs. Their last loss to Swan came way back on February 24, 2013.

Coming off of a tough shootout loss to the Winnipeg Blues, the Pistons were determined to protect their home-ice advantage. McKitrick jumped up in the lineup, and centered a line between Bradley Schoonbaert and Austin Heidemann. He got the scoring started on the PP, when he snapped the puck past the glove of Evans and into the top corner at 11:46 of the first. Mark Wilson picked up the lone assist on the marker.

“(Mark) Wilson drew two defenders to the middle, and Marty (Brendan Martin) had a nice screen in front,” McKitrick said. “All lines are good on this team, so I just like to fit in where I am and get the win.”

In the second, Riese Gaber broke out of the Pistons zone, and moved forehand side to shoot. Evans caught a piece of the puck, but not enough as it trickled over the line for a 2-0 Steinbach lead. Declan Graham and Mark Taraschuk picked up the assists on Gaber’s 26th of the season at the 6:20 mark. Swan quickly responded as Quintin Sudom broke in all alone, and beat Thiessen bardown. Sudom scored his 9th of the season unassisted at 7:41.

The Pistons rebounded quickly afterwards, as they proceeded to score 3 goals in 2:49. Brady Tatro sniped one from the right face-off dot for his 18th of the year from Taraschuk at 13:51. Jack Johnson patiently outwaited Evans and banked it in off of a bad angle for his 12th of the season at 15:30 from Mark Wilson. And Austin Heidemann completed the second period scoring, as he picked the corner on the short side to give Steinbach a 5-1 lead. Gula picked up the lone assist on Heidemann’s 22nd of the season.

McKitrick notched his second of the game, as a Heidemann shot floated on the goal line before McKitrick slid it past. McKitrick’s second from Heidemann and Bradley Schoonbaert 29 seconds into the final frame gives him 24 goals on the year. Daniel Chartrand gave the Stampeders a bit of life, as he scored 2 goals in 26 seconds just 2 minutes into the period from Matt Osadick and Jaden Townsend.

Easton Bennett stopped the Swan momentum by scoring his 12th of the campaign from Jaret Lalli at 12:53, giving the Pistons fans some free pancakes as a result.

INJURY REPORT

Pistons F Drew Worrad missed Friday’s game, as he left Wednesday’s game against the Blues late in the third period. He is day-to-day with an upper body injury.

SPECIAL TEAMS

The Pistons were 1 for 3 on the power play, and killed off all 4 Swan man advantages.

UP NEXT: The Pistons face the Dauphin Kings tomorrow night at the TG Smith Centre for their second-last game at home. Puck drops at 7:30 pm, you can purchase your tickets at Steinbachpistons.ca.