Mack Graham scored two minutes into the overtime and gave the Steinbach Pistons a much needed win over the Virden Oil Capitals on Saturday night.
It was a bounce back game as the Pistons fell on Friday night but came out strong in the first collecting the first goal. It was Bradley Schoonbaert who notched goal 26 on the year from Mack Graham and Tyler Anderson. For Schoonbaert, he has set a new career high in goals. “It’s not just the offence he brings.” Head coach Paul Dyck said after the game. “He’s really turned into a well rounded player. We expected him to grow after a strong rookie year and he has.”
In the second, a steady stream to the penalty box for Steinbach, halted any offensive momentum. Between the first and second, it was 5 straight calls against the visitors, including a 21 second 5 on 3. The Pistons penalty killers and Roman Bengert gutted it all out and were able to shut the door on several chances by Virden
Braden Purtill scored on the power play to make it 2-0 Steinbach. Purtill, who has been one of the most consistent forwards all season long, has 13 goals on the year and goals in back to back games. Jordan Bochinski and Danny Pion had assists on the goal that put the Pistons in the drivers seat.
In the third, Virden pushed Steinbach back on their heels. Two goals in :22 seconds tied the game and stunned the Pistons bench. “I don’t think we were rattled, I think we responded well.” said Dyck. “Even when they tied it up, we had a feeling that we were going to get a chance to win the game.”
The Pistons got that chance in overtime and Mack Graham didn’t miss, but it didn’t come without a little extra drama.
Tyler Anderson had the game winner on his stick as he found a lane in the slot and fired off a wrister that clanked right off the post and stayed out. Virden came back through centre ice and looked as though they were going to have a good rush, possibly even a breakaway. But an active stick from Anderson stalled the Oil Capitals at the redline and defused the situation with good body position and stole the puck. He hit Graham at the Virden blueline and the 19 year old from Toronto ended the game with a perfect shot.
“That’s a shot that’s going in, in any league.” commented Dyck.
Roman Bengert was terrific again, making 30 saves for his 33rd victory. The power play finished 1-3 while the penalty was a perfect 5-5.
With the 3-2 win in overtime, the Pistons now have 89 points, a 10 point lead on the Winkler Flyers will still having one less game played.
The two top teams meet in Steinbach for the final time this regular season as 2:30pm on Monday afternoon.