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Blues Stymie Pistons in Saturday Night Showdown

When it was all said and done after the final buzzer, it was the Winnipeg Blues that left the Pistons feeling a little blue in the end.

Newcomer Tony Apetagon scored the game-winner 2:50 into the third period as Winnipeg defeated Steinbach 3-1 Saturday night at Hockey Gives Blood night at the TG Smith Centre.

Jeremy Link stopped 35 shots in the win, while Pistons starter Matt Lenz had his second straight quality game with 27 saves, but will take his third loss of the season in goal.

It was an even first period as both teams had the same amount of chances but Link and Lenz kept the game scoreless through 20 minutes of play.

Steinbach took the lead 1:11 into the second period, as a Boedey Vaeth shot squeaked through the Winnipeg tender and Kyle Bettens buried the loose puck for a 1-0 lead. Easton Bennett had the other assist on Bettens’ 4th of the season.

The Blues would respond on the power play, as Darren Gisti’s blast beat Lenz to tie it up. Brayden Foreman and Braeden Binda notched the helpers on Gisti’s 5th of the season.

Winnipeg took the lead for good as a Riley Cusack shot missed everything. The puck took a fortuitous bounce right to Apetagon, who buried it on the left wing for a 2-1 Blues lead.

The team in yellow went into full lockdown move, as at some points they had four players on their side of the red line to make entry difficult for Steinbach.

With Lenz pulled for the extra attacker, Bettens through a pass that glanced off the side of the net and went through the legs of Brendan Martin and Nico Labossiere. The puck bounced right to Nathan Adrian, who fired it from his own blue line into the open cage for the 3-1 Blues victory.

The Pistons, who are the best team on home ice in the MJHL this season, lost at the TG Smith for the first time since November 7th. That ends a nine game home win streak for Steinbach, who have only lost four times in their own barn this season.

SPECIAL TEAMS

The Pistons went 0 for 2 on the power play, while the Blues went 1 for 5.

UP NEXT: Brendan Martin, Matt Radomsky, Boedey Vaeth, Tristan Culleton, Curtis Ireland, Kyle Bettens, Declan Grahams, Troy Williams, and captain Tyson McConnell will all be heading to Regina tomorrow for the 2019 MJHL/SJHL Showcase. Ireland and Bettens will be on Team Garbutt (U18) while the rest will be on Team Zajac (19/20).

The Pistons will head on the road for the second three games in three days trip next Friday through Sunday, as the OCN Blizzard and the Waywayseecappo Wolverines will be the opponents.