Courtesy of Steinbachonline.com – Pictures Taken by Dantin Reimer of Golden West Radio.
For a second straight game, the Pistons needed overtime and for a second straight game, it was James Shearer that played the role of hero and it was the Winkler Flyers and their water bottle that paid the price in an extremely emotional 4-3 overtime win in Winkler on Tuesday night.
In a game that was drama filled almost from puck drop, head coach Paul Dyck was proud of the way his team showed a “no quit” attitude. “The guys stayed focused and with a lot of controversy, especially in the third period forced us to shorten our bench. There were guys who didn’t get on the ice for a few minutes but guys had to stay prepared. A few roller coasters tonight but I thought our guys stayed with it.”
Steinbach would hit the score sheet first in the opening period, it was Scott Petkau scoring his second of the season (both against Winkler) after completing a pretty passing play on a 3 on 1 rush with line mates Luke Amsbaugh and Mackenzie Graham. Dyck knows that when teams key in on the Penner and Bosc lines, other players will need to step up in scoring roles. “It was a pretty play. We were commenting before periods sometimes when you have a 3 on 1 you have too much time but this time it was great execution by the kids.”
The middle frame, which has been a problem for the Pistons so far in this young season, saw the team surrender the lead with two goals against, but it could have been a lot worse than trailing 2-1 as Jeremy Wik held the team in it while Winkler dominated play. The final shots in that period were 16-7.
Cole Smith who was snake bit in the first 3 games having multiple chances but not finding the back of the net, in the first minutes of the third period he took a beautiful stretch pass from Tyler Penner and went in on a breakaway scoring his second goal in as many games. Dyck knows that when a guy with Smith’s talent gets hot, there can be no stopping him. “Sometimes guys can really press to get the first one. They try and make it pretty and goals won’t always be pretty. Since that first goal he’s had a lot of jump in his step and these won’t be the last two for him.”
The midway point of the third period is where things really escalated.
Pistons forward and leading scorer Denis Bosc was going through the neutral zone and leading the rush with the puck. Bosc made a move to get around Winkler forward Nathan Karlowsky and when missing the check, Karlowsky stuck out his knee catching Bosc straight on in a vicious knee on knee collision. Bosc would remain on the ice and need assistance from trainer Pete Tiessen and a teammate to get back to the bench and would not return.
The usually calm Dyck let his emotions show when asked about that particular play after the game. “It’s very frustrating. It’s a play where the puck was moved and it was a late hit and a dirty hit. There’s no room in the game for that. It’s really unfortunate and he’s our leading scorer, it’s just unfortunate it still happens in today’s game.”
The call on the ice was a 5 minute major for tripping, not kneeing. That won’t stop the team from sending the video to the league office. Dyck explains the next steps the team will take on the matter. “I’m sure there’s a process that we will go through. It was clear, it was knee on knee and the video doesn’t lie. We’ll move forward.”
Defencemen Eddie Eades would stand up for Bosc dropping the gloves against Karlowsky. Both players would get 5 minutes for fighting and a game misconduct.
Not an ideal way for the Pistons to get a 5 minute power play but they used it to their advantage as Ryan Carlson ripped a shot from the point and hit the back bar with authority giving Steinbach a 3-2 lead. Dyck talks about cashing in with the man advantage. “We talk about getting pucks through and getting traffic to the net. The forwards did a great job in the lanes and the puck had eyes. Good to see him get rewarded.” It was Carlson’s first of the season with assists going to Amsbaugh and Brad Schoonbaert.
A couple of penalties would force Steinbach to be down 5 on 3 with under five minutes to play. A great job by the goalie Wik and the penalty killers would hold the fort and keep Steinbach in the lead until another penalty was called with under two minutes to go in the game putting the Pistons down 5 on 4. This time, with the Winkler net empty giving them a 6 on 4 advantage, a puck came off the end boards took a Flyer bounce hitting Wik in the back of the pad where the were Flyers would find it first and tuck it past Wik tying things up at 3-3.
Cue James Shearer.
After both teams traded chances in the early part of overtime, it was Steinbach that received a man advantage. At times the power play was guilty of looking for the perfect play, whether it is a back door tap-in or a crash to the net after a good cycle. This time it was a perfect passing play, Hayden Goderis fired it to Dan Taillefer who teed it up perfectly for Shearer who let loose a cannon of a slap shot that few players even saw. The high shot rang the back bar and sent Winkler goalie Ryan Larochelle’s water bottle 10 or so feat in the air, all remaining water in the bottle was dumped over the ice and the lid cracked laying behind the goal as Shearer was mobbed by teammates. “Power. It was an absolute bomb.” said Dyck of the goal, “some of those guys played big minutes but they executed and that’s what you want.”
Shearer gives his thoughts on the game. “I was just happy we got the win. We got the two points and that’s what we were looking for. With high emotion it’s more satisfying to get the win. At times we wern’t happy with how we were playing but we battled and got the win.” He add that he, as they say in the hockey world, got all of that shot. “I hit it pretty hard. I connected with it pretty good (laughs). It’s really great passing by Goderis and Taillefer, we wanted to get the puck moving and we did.”
Final shots on goal were 38-29 in favor of Winkler. Steinbach finished 2 for 4 on the power play and 4 for 6 on the penalty kill.
With three days off till the next game, Dyck knows that work on and off this ice will have to pick up before the puck drops on that game. “We’ve been looking for consistency for 60 minutes for the past three weeks” Dyck says with a laugh. “We’re not perfecting that quite yet. Right now we’re making games more exciting than the coaching staff would prefer. But you learn lessons along the way and I thought we changed our game after the first period, we got too cute, we wern’t getting pucks deep and our defence was under pressure for most of the period. We’re going to learn what it takes to play a consistent 60 minutes, it’s not here yet, but it will come.”
The Pistons will search for that 60 minute effort Friday night at home against the Swan Valley Stampeders. Puck drop is at 7:30pm.