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Tyson McConnell during the September 29th game against the Dauphin Kings.

McConnell, Lenz Star as Pistons Hang On to Beat Kings

It was a much needed two points for the Steinbach Pistons after Wednesday’s night’s result, as they survived a late third period onslaught to beat the Dauphin Kings 4-3 Friday night at Credit Union Place.

Matt Lenz got the start in goal for Steinbach, and was sensational with 45 saves on the night. Kings starter Bryan Landsberger took the loss in goal stopping 30 of 34 shots.

Coming off of a 6-5 loss to Portage on Wednesday that saw the team give up a 3-0 lead, the Pistons got a big boost in the lineup with the returns of Curtis Ireland and Easton Bennett.

The Pistons got the game’s first goal on the power play, as Brendan Martin walked off the half wall and went untouched to beat Landsberger with a back hander for a 1-0 lead. Troy Williams had the assist on Martin’s 13thof the season at the 7:55 mark of the first.

34 seconds later, it was 2-0 as Marcel Berube banked in a backhand off of Landsberger and in. The goal was Berube’s 3rdof the season from Bennett and Ireland at 8:29.

“We had a good start to the game,” Pistons Head Coach Paul Dyck said to Steinbachonline.com’s Dave Anthony after the game. “It was textbook, it was like a piece of art.”

The Kings quickly responded to make it 2-1, as the aptly named George King busted down the left wing on a man advantage and beat Lenz to the blocker side with 6:34 left in the first.

“We tailed off; I thought they carried the play for a good stretch in the middle part of the game,” Dyck said.

Dauphin tied it up at 2 after some offensive zone pressure by Steinbach, as Avery Smith beat Lenz to the glove side at the 8:00 mark of the second period.

The captain Tyson McConnell led the way for the Pistons in the third period, both offensively and defensively. He wired a shot past the glove of Landsberger giving Steinbach a 3-2 lead 1:31 into the final frame. Jack Kilroy had the lone assist on McConnell’s 10thof the season. Two minutes later, Max Neill fired a shot that beat the Dauphin netminder five-hole and the Pistons were back up by two. Troy Beauchemin and Liam Anderson picked up the apples on the rookie Neill’s 3rdon the campaign.

Dauphin came back hard in the latter half of the third, and they brought the game back to within one on the power play with 9:00 minutes left. A breakout set play resulted in a clear-cut breakaway for George King off of a pass from Riley Shamray, and he snapped a wrister past Lenz to make it 4-3.

The Pistons got into late penalty problems with around two minutes to, as Tristan Culleton and Declan Graham both took penalties that prevented the Kings from scoring. With the goalie pulled, the Kings had the rarest of rare 6-on-3 advantage. But the play of McConnell, Lenz, and the Pistons PK stood through, as the captain blocked shooting lanes and the goalie making steady saves to preserve a 4-3 win.

Dyck characterized the performance as a gutsy win. “We had a better start to the third, and got our feet moving again,” Dyck said on the third period. “We brought more intensity to the game. They had some good looks, and then we found ourselves short-handed. I thought the last five minutes we had tremendous urgency, and then killing the (6-on-3) penalty at the end there was incredible. The guys just really battled through.”

SPECIAL TEAMS

The Pistons went 1 for 2 on the power play, while King’s two power play goals led to a 2/6 mark on the power play for Dauphin.

UP NEXT: The Pistons return home and have the weekend off. Steinbach hosts the Winkler Flyers this coming Tuesday; join us for our Movember game where we will be wearing and auctioning off special edition Movember jerseys. All of the proceeds from the games will go to the fight against cancer.