After being held in check for Games 2 and 3, Brandan Arnold led the way for Nipawin with 2 goals and 2 assists as the Hawks evened up the 2018 ANAVET Cup best-of-7 at twos with a 5-2 win over the Steinbach Pistons Wednesday night.
Declan Hobbs had a bounceback night for Nipawin, as he made 25 saves in the win. It was not a good night for Matthew Thiessen, as he let in 5 goals on 20 shots before giving way to Matt Radomsky in the third period.
The Pistons got some bad news before the contest, as defenceman Mark Taraschuk was ruled out for the game with an undisclosed injury. Curtis Ireland took his place in the Pistons defence corp.
The Hawks got off to a good start, and got the game’s first goal as the SJHL playoff MVP Arnold scored in the slot to give Nipawin a 1-0 lead 6:29 into the first period.
The Pistons pushed back after Arnold’s first, and prematurely thought that they had tied it up on a 3-on-1 rush goal by Drew Worrad. However, it was deemed that the net was untentionally knocked off its moorings before the puck crossed the line. It remained 1-0 for the Hawks, who scored with 18 seconds left in the period. Brett Harasymuk jumped over a rebound at the side of the net to make it 2-0, with Grant Baetsen picking up the assist.
After Brendan Martin took a double-minor high sticking penalty on the Hawks’ Logan Casavant, Michael Grant scored on the first half of the power play of the game for Nipawin to make it 3-0. Josh McDougall and Arnold picked up the helpers 1:58 into the second period. Shortly after, Brady Tatro took a charging penalty and Steinbach went down two men for a lengthy period. But they killed both off, and it gave them life.
Darby Gula went end-to-end on a rush, and his wrist shot from the blue line got past Hobbs to make it 3-1 at the 5:55 mark of the second. Then on a Steinbach power play shortly after, Gula scored again from Drew Worrad and Mark Wilson to make it 3-2 before the halfway mark of the period.
The Hawks zapped the momentum of the Pistons before the end of the period. On an power play courtesy of a slash by Austin Heidemann, Josh McDougall scored from Arnold and Baetsen with 2:02 to go in the second. Then Arnold went in on a short-handed rush by himself with time ticking down. He chipped the puck past Gula into the far right wing corner, and threw a shot on Thiessen that he got a piece of but not enough as it went in.
Radomsky relieved Thiessen in goal for the third period, and was a positive for the Pistons as he stopped all 7 shots he faced. But Steinbach could not solve Hobbs in the third, as the Hawks locked down the defensive zone in the third as they killed off 3 penalties early in the third to help them win it and tie the series.
The Pistons went 1 for 8 on the power play, while the Hawks went 2 for 6.
UP NEXT: Game 5 will be on Friday in Nipawin at the Centennial Arena, with puck drop scheduled for 7:30 pm Saskatchewan time (8:30 Manitoba time). Game 6 will be back in Steinbach on Monday May 7 at 7:30 pm. You can get your tickets already for Game 6 online at Steinbachpistons.ca!