Daniel McKitrick scored the game-winner with 3:17 left in the first period, as the Steinbach Pistons used three goals in the period to defeat the OCN Blizzard 3-2 Friday night.
The Pistons once again got a solid outing in net from Matthew Thiessen, as he stopped 28 of 30 OCN shots in the victory. Blizzard goalie Dorian Laganiere made 26 saves in defeat for the Blizzard.
Coming into the game, it looked as though Steinbach had a tough weekend ahead of them with games tonight, Saturday, and Sunday. So the Pistons did what they usually do, which is getting quick goals and jumping out to early leads in hockey games. Two early penalties by the Blizzard led to the opening goal, as Jaret Lalli scored his first MJHL goal on a 5 on 3 power play to give the Pistons a 1-0 lead. The Bemidji, Minnesota native was playing in his first game back from injury, and he had an early impact in the place of Darby Gula. Bradley Schoonbaert and Braden Purtill drew assists on the power play marker.
Austin Heidemann pounced on a rebound after a Schoonbaert shot, and he made no mistake potting his 12th of the season to make it 2-0. Mark Taraschuk drew the other assist on the play. McKitrick came in on a rush on the second 5 on 3 powerplay for Steinbach, and he fired one past Loganiere to cap off the first period scoring for the Pistons.
The tide turned in the second period, as it was all Blizzard early on. The Pistons took a string of penalties in the middle of the frame, and it cost them as Jesse Roach buried his 3rd of the season on a 2 man advantage to get OCN on the board. Byron Fobair was able to get his 6th goal of the year past Thiessen 45 seconds later on the back end of the man advantages, and all of a sudden it was 3-2. However, that as close as the Blizzard would get, as the Pistons shut them down the rest of the way with a fantastic defensive effort.
It was a chippy contest throughout, with the Pistons going 2 for 9 on the power play. The Blizzard went 2 for 6 on the man advantage.
NO GULA, KOOP, OR GABER THIS WEEKEND
The Pistons will be without Darby Gula, Will Koop, and newly acquired Riese Gaber for the three games this weekend. All three are headed to Calgary to participate in the Team Canada West Selection Camp for the World Junior A Challenge, with the tournament taking place later this month.
UP NEXT: These same two teams will go at it again tomorrow, and then the Pistons travel to Swan River to take on the Stampeders on Sunday. Puck drop is schedule for 7:00 pm tomorrow.