Linemates Kyle Bettens and Ty Naaykens both notched two goals and three assists as the Steinbach Pistons treated their fans to pancakes for the first time this season with an 8-2 win over the Winnipeg Blues.
Ryan Butler, the other winger on tonight’s lethal line, also scored a goal and added two helpers for a combined 13 points between the trio. Red hot Zach Purcell also tickled the twine twice while Carter Loney was the only other Piston with a multi-point game, as he had two assists.
Matt Lenz didn’t see much action his way but picks up the win with a 17 save performance. Blues goalie Will Gurski stopped 39 of 47 Steinbach shots in the loss.
Bettens got the scoring started just 1:08 into the game on a nice pass from Naaykens out in front for a 1-0 Pistons lead, with Butler picking up the bonus assist on the play.
The Blues would respond exactly halfway through the first period, as MJHL leading scorer Mikol Sartor’s nifty backhand feed found Mitchell Joss for the 1-1 tie.
Steinbach’s offense would catch fire in the second period. Naaykens walked in from the blue line 1:40 into the frame and wristed the puck past Gurski’s blocker, with Bettens and Butler drawing the assists. Then it was Butler’s turn to score from his other two linemates, as he fired a turnaround wrist shot that fooled the Blues netminder and it was 3-1 Steinbach 6:14 into the middle period. That goal was Butler’s 2nd as a Piston and 20th goal of the season.
Zach Purcell would continue his goal scoring rampage, taking a nice feed from Bryce Young and depositing the puck into a wide-open net for his 18th of the season at 7:21. Carter Loney would nab the secondary helper on the play.
Winnipeg would get the game back to within two on a power play goal by Carson Tiede with 1:50 to go in the middle frame. But the Pistons were just too much to handle for the Blues on this night as they lit the lamp four more times in the third period.
A nifty dangle by Bettens started off the third period right as he weaved around Blues defenders and found Naaykens in front, and Naaykens cashed in once again for a 5-2 Steinbach lead with 14 minutes to play. The goal was the 19-year-old’s 18th goal of the season, and Bettens picked up his team-high 25th assist on the play.
The Pistons would score three goals in the final four minutes of the hockey game. Bettens took a tip feed from Naaykens in the neutral zone and snapped the puck over the glove of Gurski for his 15th goal of the season, with Evan Kaufman picking up the other assist on the play.
David Queree would send the TG Smith Centre crowd into a feeding frenzy as he tipped home a Declan Graham slap-pass in front, and mimicked eating pancakes for his celebration as Steinbach took a 7-2 lead. Kasyn Kruse had the other apple on Queree’s 4th goal of the season with 1:57 left.
Purcell would retake the team-scoring lead 34 seconds after the pancake goal, taking a pass from Carter Loney and shoveling the puck into the open net for his 19th goal on the campaign to cap off the scoring.
The Pistons did not head to the power play in this game, scoring eight even-strength goals on the night. That mark is one of the team record, as Steinbach recorded nine 5-on-5 goals twice on February 13, 2016 and on October 29, 2017. Both of those came against the Neepawa Natives.
UP NEXT: Steinbach’s home-stand continues this weekend with a pair of games against the OCN Blizzard on Friday and Saturday night. Get your tickets for those games by heading online to Steinbachpistons.ca.