Courtesy of Dave Anthony of Steinbachonline.com
The Steinbach Pistons were dealt their first loss of the season on Wednesday night in Portage as they fell 5-2 to the Terriers.
The opening period was what fans on both sides expected, a hard checking, back and forth tilt where both goalies were forced to make some pretty good saves. Steinbach got the first power play of the game but failed to convert then managed to kill off back to back penalty’s leading into the intermission with neither team scoring.
In the second, things continued to be neck and neck until the midway point when Daniel McKitrick scored on the power play for the Terriers to give the home side a 1-0 lead.
Steinbach responded on their own man advantage as after a couple of frustrating shifts, Darby Gula retrieved the puck down in his own zone and ripped a pass up the middle of the ice, a tape to tape laser that hit Braden Purtill in stride after the captain jumped off the bench on a change and he made no mistake on the breakaway to tie the game at one. For Purtill, it’s his third goal of the season while Gula already has four assists.
The period finished in a 1-1 deadlock.
In the third, Will Koop scored his first of the year to give the Pistons a 2-1 lead. Bradley Schoonbaert had the lone assist on the marker and pushed Schoonbaerts point streak to three games.
Then the wheels fell off.
Portage quickly answered with goals from Joey Moffat (his first in the MJHL) followed by two from Terrier captain Chase Brakel including one on the power play and James McIssac finished off the scoring party.
Pistons forward Easton Bennett dropped the gloves with Turner Santin late in the game for Bennett’s first fight as a member of the Steinbach Pistons.
The game would finish with no more fireworks, a 5-2 loss for Steinbach.
“I thought we played well for 48 minutes.” Head coach Paul Dyck said after the game. “There are positives to take away but there’s things we need to clean up. I think our guys learned something out there tonight and it’s important for a young team.”
Pistons starter Matt Radomsky had a solid night between the pipes making 23 saves and kept the team in the game through most of the night making a couple sterling saves, most notably on the Terriers power play.
The team finished 1 for 4 on the power play while ending the night 4 of 6 on the penalty kill.
Steinbach will be on the ice Thursday for practice as they get ready to host the winless Dauphin Kings on Friday night before playing host to the OCN Blizzard on Sunday.
When it comes to the Kings, Dyck knows what a win can do for a struggling team like Dauphin. “It doesn’t take much to get up for those games and it can do a lot for their locker room. We’ll have to be ready. We know they’ll be hungry so we have to push the intensity, push the pace and play our game.”
Friday night’s contest can be heard on Mix 96 and SteinbachOnline.com starting at 7:15 pm.