It was the first competitive game for the Steinbach Pistons since March 11th in the first round of the 2020 MJHL Playoffs, and it was the result the team was looking for to kick off their preseason.
Rookie forwards Owen Weihs (1 goal, 2 assists), Neo Kiemeney (2 goals), and Dominic Murano (1 goal, 1 assist) led the way as the Pistons defeated the Selkirk Steelers 9-2 Tuesday night in Selkirk.
Returning 20-year-old Thomson Phinney and 19-year-old Calgary native Simon Harkness were both solid in goal for the road team. Phinney stopped 16 of 17 shots in the first half while Harkness turned aside 14 of 15 attempts on the night.
Weihs got the Pistons on the board first with a wrist shot in tight that beat Selkirk starter William Desmarais with just over four minutes left in the opening frame, with 16-year-old d-man Sam Court picking up the assist.
The Steelers would equalize exactly a minute into the second period on a goal by Jordan Hughesman. But Steinbach would get their lead back just 14 seconds later, as a beautiful give-and-go sequence by a pair of rookie forwards Nate Goodbrandson and Neo Kiememey led to a Kiemeney tap-in.
Another newcomer, London, Ontario product Quinton Pepper, unleashed a wrist shot from the slot that beat Desmarais at the 7:53 mark of period two to double the Steinbach lead to 3-1, with Weihs notching his first of two assists. Late in the frame, Kiemeney beat Austin Deboer on a 2-on-1 rush to hand the Pistons a 4-1 lead heading into the second intermission.
Hughesman would get another quick goal to start the third period for the Steelers, scoring 27 seconds into the final period to cut the lead in half. But Dominic Murano used a brilliant individual effort to fight off a pair of Selkirk defenders and beat Deboer with a backhander just 26 seconds after the Hughesman marker. It gave Steinbach a 5-2 lead and effectively put the game out of reach.
A very chippy third period would see both teams get some power play time, and the Pistons would notch three man-advantage goals to close the game. 16-year-old defenceman Denton Mateychuk notched his first of the preseason at the 5:24 mark to make it 6-2 Steinbach with the man advantage. Rylan Bettens would get a pair of goals, the first coming on an odd-man rush at the 11:05 mark and the second was a rebound goal a man up with 3:12 remaining in regulation. And Matty Harrold concluded the scoring with a power play goal of his own to make it 9-2 Steinbach with a second left in the game.
The Pistons went 3 for 7 on their man advantage opportunities, while the Steelers went 0 for 3.
UP NEXT: Steinbach concludes their 2020 preseason schedule by hosting the Winkler Flyers on Saturday night at 7:30 pm. The first 200 fans will get into the game on a first come, first serve basis; entry at the gate is $5 for adults and $2 for ages 15 and under. Pistons masks will be on sale as well at the gate. The game can also be viewed with a subscription to HockeyTV.