Natives Stun Pistons in Opener

Article Courtesy of Terry Fry at TheCarillon.com

Whoops. And that’s why they call it a second season.

In what can only be described as a shocker, the eighth ranked Neepawa Natives, who only qualified for the MJHL playoffs on the final game of the regular season, pulled off a massive upset Friday night in Steinbach as they defeated the heavily favoured Steinbach Pistons 4-1 in the opening game of the MJHL quarter-finals.

Neepawa came into the game as the heavy underdogs, as they only had 48 points on the season compared to 99 for the vaunted Pistons. But on the other hand, Neepawa was the hottest team in the MJHL the last month of the regular season and did beat the Pistons in the final week, although it was their only victory in six meetings with the Pistons this season.

The Pistons came out tight in last night’s game, and it showed, as clearly there is more pressure on the Pistons to succeed in these playoffs.

Things went off the rails early for the Pistons as uncharacteristically, Roman Bengert let in a soft one on a weak shot from Braeden Binda, the former Eastman Select, just three minutes after the opening faceoff.

Later in the period the Pistons ran into penalty trouble and Reigan Buchanan made it 2-0 Neepawa as he scored on a two-man advantage. Nick Schultze made it 3-0 Neepawa late in the second scoring on another powerplay.

Not done yet, the Natives stunned the Pistons’ faithful as Buchanan scored again early in the third giving the Natives an insurmountable 4-0 lead. Danny Pion scored Steinbach’s lone goal with three minutes left in the game.

Tyler Gutenberg was outstanding in net for the Natives making 32 saves as the Pistons outshot the Natives 33-24.

The other three quarter-final series also kicked off last night and all three were decided by one goal as OCN edged Winnipeg 3-2,  Portage downed Selkirk 3-2 in overtime and Winkler also needed overtime to get by Virden in a 5-4 final.

The Pistons travel to Neepawa on Sunday for game two of their best of seven series with the Natives. Puck drop at the Yellowhead Centre is 6:30 p.m. Then it’s back to Steinbach for game three Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at the T.G. Smith Centre.

HIghlight Video Courtesy of Steinbachonline.com