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Pistons edge Blizzard in Physical Affair

Darby Gula netted the game-winning goal 4:31 into the third period, as the Steinbach Pistons were able to survive two third period goals to win 4-3 over the OCN Blizzard Saturday night.

Playing on the second night of back-to-back games, it was a penalty filled affair for both sides as the Blizzard took 11 minor penalties on the night compared to 8 for the Pistons. Captain Braden Purtill stood out on his hockey card night, netting a goal and an assist, the only Piston to have a multi-point game. Matt Radomsky made 21 saves in a solid performance in net for Steinbach, and Dorian Laganiere made 36 saves in the loss for OCN.

Steinbach got on the board first, as Jack Lenchyshyn netted his first MJHL goal off a rebound from a Brady Tatro shot to make it 1-0 for Steinbach. Tyson McConnell scored his 12th of the year to make it 2-0 on the PP just 5:42 into the first period from Drew Worrad and Purtill. “We had a good start getting a couple of goals in the first,” McConnell said after the game. On his goal, McConnell gave credit to Worrad. “It was a nice play by him off the rush, and I was able to sneak it low blocker.”

Purtill put home his 20th of the year, with Will Koop and Daniel McKitrick picking up the helpers at the 3:34 mark of the second period. However, OCN carried much of the play in the period trying to get back into the game. Anthony Keeper put the Blizzard on the score sheet with his 11th of the season with just under 12 minutes remaining on the power play. It was initially called off because the official believed Keeper touched the puck with a high stick. After an appeal by Keeper, the ref called the goal good. It was 3-1 for Steinbach after 40 minutes of play.

The penalties picked up in the third, and there were several off-setting roughing penalties early in the period. Darby Gula notched his 9th of the year on a 5 on 3 power play with Bradley Schoonbaert picking up the assist. Gula rifled it into the back of the net before Laganiere knocked the net off trying to stop the shot. OCN did not go quietly, as former Piston Riley Bruce wired one from the point after a Piston penalty expired to make it 4-2 at the 8:38 mark. Trygve Many Guns scored 3 minutes later to get the Blizzard to within one.

The Pistons needed a response, and McConnell knew his team would be up to the task. “As the year’s gone on, we’ve gotten better in these types of situations in these one-goal games where there’s a lot of penalties,” McConnell noted. “The PK and the power play came up big tonight for us.”

The Blizzard pulled their goalie after a Lantz Hiebert interference penalty late in the third to try and tie it up, but Radomsky and the Pistons D stayed strong and held on for the win.

YOU GET A PENALTY, YOU GET A PENALTY

There was a combined total of 78 penalty minutes dished out by officials Chris Hofer and Brett Roeland. Jacob Berry of the Blizzard and Lenchyshyn dropped the gloves late in the third, both received game misconducts as a result.

SPECIAL TEAMS

The Pistons went 2 for 9 on the power play, and killed off 4 of 6 man advantages for the Blizzard.

UP NEXT: The Pistons will be at the BellMTS Iceplex on Tuesday and Wednesday for the MJHL Showcase. They will be taking on the Swan Valley Stampeders on Tuesday, which is considered a home game for Steinbach. Then on Wednesday, they will be up against the Dauphin Kings in what is a road game. Puck drop is scheduled for 4:00 pm on Tuesday, and Wednesday’s start is scheduled for 3:00 pm.