Courtesy of Steinbachonline.com – Written by Dave Anthony
The Steinbach Pistons showed that they can win a tight-checking, grind it out style game on Sunday night defeating the Selkirk Steelers 3-0 in their first road game of the season.
The Pistons found the back of the net first with Ryan Carlson wristing home a shot from the point for his second of the season. Landon Plett and Cody Merritt picked up the assists. At times, it was a wide open period with both teams showing off speed and getting a couple quality chances. Nothing more would be added to the scoreboard and the period would end 1-0 Steinbach.
In the middle frame, penalty’s and closer checking in the neutral zone slowed the game down quite a bit as compared to the first period. It wasn’t until almost the midway point of the frame when Sean O’Leary snapped off an absolutely perfect wrist shot over the right shoulder of Selkirk netminder Hayden Dola pushing Steinbach’s lead to 2-0. Head coach Paul Dyck was still a bit in awe after the game. “Sean’s got a great release, there is no question about it. We’re encouraging him to use it more. As he adjusts to the league, hopefully, we see more of that.” Drew Anderson and Darby Gula had the helpers on the marker.
Just before the second period would come to an end, the Pistons would make it 3-0. Troy Williams rifled the puck through a screen and went right off the post and in with 0.3 seconds left on the clock. For the Dryden product, it was his first of the year and also his first as a Pistons. Williams shows good offensive instincts, but Dyck has been more than pleased with his defensive game. “I like his game. Willy has the experience, he’s in year three as an 18 year-old. As the year goes on, it’s going to be exciting to see him grow.” Plett picked up his second assist of the night, giving the local boy from Blumenort three points in his first two games.
No scoring in the third as a steady stream to the penalty box continued for both sides. Roman Bengert wasn’t overly tested but stood tall when called upon and earned the 21 save shutout for his first goose egg of the season. Dyck talked about the strong game from the Nova Scotia native. “Roman was really seeing the puck well today. In the third period, there were a few moments that were a little more anxious than we maybe wanted to see, but Roman just settled it down. It wasn’t a huge body of work tonight, but he looked like a veteran tonight.”
The special teams may have been the difference in this game tonight as although the Pistons finished 0-for-10 on the power play, they were very strong on the penalty kill going 8-for-8.
Steinbach will have a couple days off before their next game against their heated rivals the Portage Terriers. Portage themselves coming off back to back wins to start the season and Dyck knows that even though the bodies may be different, there’s just something special playing the Terriers in Steinbach.
“We’ve run into them in the past four playoffs and we’ve split them. They have a great winning tradition there. It’s a great rivalry. It’s a different looking club from last year, they lost some key guys, but there is no question there are still some good hockey players there. So I think that if anybody believes that Portage will not be a contender this year, their a little delusional. It’s a game that both teams will get up for, for sure. But it’s also just another game and for us, it’s important we continue to develop and grow as a hockey club and hopefully that’s another step for us.”
Puck drops 7:30 pm Wednesday night at the TG Smith Centre. Catch the game online through the Steinbach Pistons page on SteinbachOnline.com with the pre-game show starting at 7:15 pm.