Bennett scores two as Pistons beat Natives

Easton Bennett netted two goals on the night, and Tristan Culleton scored his first MJHL goal on what turned out to be the game-winner as the Steinbach Pistons came back from a week-long break with a 7-1 win over the Neepawa Natives.

Matthew Thiessen got the start for Steinbach, and made 19 saves to pick up his 20th win of the season. Spencer Eschyshyn and Brendan Benoit both saw time in the Native net, and they combined to stop 46 of 53 Piston shots.

It was Neepawa that got the scoring started early, as Zak Smith scored his 9th of the year to put the Natives up 1-0. Jordan Martin and Austin Friesen picked up the helpers on the Smith marker. But after that it was all Steinbach. Bennett fired one past Eschyschyn, with Luke Bellerose and Brady Tatro. Bellerose picked up his first point in his first game with the Pistons. Near the end of the first period, Culleton took a pass from Drew Worrad and wired one past Eschyschyn for a lead they would never relinquish. Darby Gula also picked up an assist on the play, and it was 2-1 after 20 minutes.

A Brett Namaka slashing penalty in the middle of the second period gave the first powerplay of the night to the Pistons, and they made no mistake only 8 seconds into the man advantage. Daniel McKitrick fired one from the right face-off dot, and the Pistons took a 3-1 lead. Mark Wilson and Riese Gaber had the helpers on McKitrick’s 18th of the year at the 9:18 mark. Two and a half minutes later, a beauty passing play in tight by Worrad and Bradley Schoonbaert left Heidemann all alone in front, and he slid the puck into the yawning cage for the fourth Piston marker, and his 17th goal of the season.

With under 4 minutes to go, Bennett added his 2nd of the game with another laser wrist shot, and his 9th of the year from Bellerose and Jaret Lalli made it 5-1. Bradley Schoonbaert added his 29th of the year from Heidemann and Mark Taraschuk to make it 6-1 after 40 minutes of play.

Riese Gaber scored his first as a Piston late in the third from Jack Johnson and Taraschuk to make the final score 7-1.


The Pistons went 1 for 6 on the power play, and killed off the only man advantage they faced.

UP NEXT: The Pistons will be back on home ice for the first time in two and a half weeks, when they take on the Winkler Flyers on Wednesday. The puck drops at 7:30, you can get your tickets online at Steinbachpistons.ca.