Tanner Mole had his best night in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, as the 20-year-old forward from Winnipeg produced a four-point game to lead the Steinbach Pistons past the Selkirk Steelers on a chilly Wednesday night in Steinbach.
Danton Belluk was also solid on this night, as he made 30 saves in his second start of the season. Steelers goalie Levi Mitchell stopped 34 of 37 shots against him in the loss.
Both teams felt each other out for the first 10 minutes of the game, and then the Pistons took control of the first period. Bryce Young would continue his great play as he walked out from the corner on a man advantage and beat Mitchell bar-down for his 6th goal of the season, and that give Steinbach the first marker with 4:23 to go. Mole and Ty Naaykens picked up the assists on the power play goal.
Mole would treat the Pistons fans to one of the goals of the season thus far for Steinbach with 43 seconds left. He made a nice tight turn to the middle of the ice while fending off three checkers, faked out Mitchell and slowly slid the puck in on his backhand to give the home team a 2-0 lead. Young and Tucker Hodgson would pick up the assists on the play.
There was no scoring in the second period, as the Steelers outshot Steinbach 11-10 in the stanza. Belluk came up big for his team as he kept it a two-goal lead late in the frame on diving paddle save off of Steelers forward Caiden Gault.
Steinbach would extend their lead to three as Ty Naaykens tipped a Mole point shot past Mitchell 3:08 into the third. Dylan Cassie picked up the extra assist on Naaykens’ 12th goal of the season.
Selkirk would make it interesting as Sheldin Howard broke Belluk’s shutout bid halfway through the final period to cut the Pistons’ lead to 3-1.
The Steelers would get to within a goal with 1:30 left in the game on a short-side wrist shot by Carter Barley. And they almost tied the game a few seconds later on a rebound at the side of the net, but Belluk shut down Riley Portner with his right toe to keep it a one-goal game.
That save would later pay off for the Pistons as Mole capped off his career-best performance as he fired the puck into an empty net with 19 seconds to play to give Steinbach a 4-2 win.
Mole now has 6 points over the last two days as he had a two-goal night yesterday against the Winnipeg Blues.
A couple of Pistons’ defencemen went down in this one. Christian Riemer left the game in the second period with an upper body injury and did not return, while Dylan Cassie left the game late in the third period also with an upper body injury and did not return.
The Pistons went 1 for 3 on the power play and killed off both penalties they faced tonight.
UP NEXT: Steinbach begins a four-game road trip on Friday night as they head to Virden for the final time this season to face the Oil Capitals. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 pm; catch that game on HockeyTV or listen on your radio to MIX 96 and Steinbachonline.com.