Martin’s Gordie Howe Hat Trick Leads Pistons in Route of Natives

Courtesy of Steinbachonline.com

Saturday night was a pretty special at the T.G. Smith Centre as the Steinbach Pistons steamrolled the Neepawa Natives 9-1 with Connor Martin putting on a show that won’t soon be forgotten. 

After Darby Gula (6) made it 1-0, with Martin and Cole Smith getting the assists, the long awaited goal from Martin finally happened. Fans rose to their feet as teammates jumped up from the bench, even the coaching staff couldn’t help but smile seeing Martin score his long awaited first regulation goal. Mack Graham and Tyson McConnell were credited with the assists. Martin knew it was a special moment, but to see the support from his teammates is something he really cherished. “It’s great, it shows we’re such a tight knit group and we’ve got a really great group of guys. It’s a testament to the group of guys and I really appreciate it. I couldn’t ask for a better group.”

After the first period ended it was 2-0, but assistant coach Rob Smith feels the start could have been a bit better. “We liked our first and we wanted a better start, we’ve been struggling with that lately. Tonight we gave up 10 or 11 shots in the first and we thought we could get better and we did as the game went on.”

In the second period Scott Petkau (4) and Denis Bosc (12) each scored to put Steinbach up 4-0 with assists going to Anthony Kapelke, Martin and Dan Taillefer. At the midway point of the second period, Taillefer was honored for becoming the Pistons single season scoring leader. 

In the third, the flood gates really opened up, Quintin Lisoway scored a pair (14,15), Ryan Carlson (4), Julien Koga (7) and Bradley Schoonbaert (22) all found the score sheet with Kapelke picking up his third assist, Cole Smith, Matthieu Gomercic (2), Schoonbaert and Petkau also picking up helpers.

The defence pairing of Kapelke and Martin combined for 6 points on the night. “Not bad point for our shut down pair, eh?” Smith joked after the game. “We’re in a pretty good spot when you get that from them. You don’t have a night like that every night; it’s a special night for both guys. To get rewarded like that it’s huge.”

Roman Bengert wasn’t overly tested but did make some big saves with the glove, making 20 saves on the night. The Pistons Power play went 0-for-4 while the penalty kill went 2-for-2.

Monday brings an afternoon game against the Winnipeg Blues and Smith knows it’s going to be fun. “It’s something new for us, we’re going to see some of our prospects there and it’ll be good. You change your routine a little bit but it’s going to be fun. They (Winnipeg) play us hard, they took two points from us and we owe them. They have confidence playing against us and we’re going to take that away.” 

*A Gordie Howe Hat Trick is when a player scores a goal, gets an assist and has a fight in the same game.