Thomson Phinney was the star of the night for the Pistons, as he made 32 saves for his second shutout as a Piston and third of the season in a 3-0 Steinbach win over the Selkirk Steelers Friday night.
With the two points, the Pistons finish the 2019-20 regular season with a record of 42-10-8 for a total of 92 points. Steelers goalie Rory Dumelie was also excellent in goal with 26 saves, but he’s tagged with the loss.
The Pistons had the opportunity to rest some key players in their lineup since they have 1st place in the standings locked up. Forwards Tanner Mole, Bryce Young, Ryan Butler, and defenceman Curtis Ireland did not suit up in this game for Steinbach.
The road team got off to a quick start as Max Neill jammed home a rebound past Dumelie off of a Christian Riemer shot to give the Pistons a 1-0 lead 4:22 into the game, and that gave Neill his 15th goal on the campaign.
The second period belonged to the goalies as both Phinney and Dumelie stole the show. Dumelie came up big on three solid chances by Steinbach to begin the middle frame, and then it was Phinney’s turn to make big save after big save the remainder of the second period.
The Pistons put themselves behind the eight-ball by cutting a path to the penalty box in the third period. However, the red-hot Steinbach penalty kill came up with four big kills to keep the lead at 1-0.
It would remain 1-0 until the 5:27 mark in the third, when Zach Purcell forced a turnover at the Steeler blueline and beat Dumelie upstairs for his 34th goal of the season to extend the Steinbach lead to two.
Phinney capped off his night with an unbelievable save off of Caiden Gault on the right wing as Selkirk had the extra attacker on the ice. The carom came right onto the stick of Rylan Bettens, who dumped it down 150 feet into the open net with 45 seconds remaining. That goal also gave Bettens his 15th marker of the season and it was 3-0 Pistons.
Some extracurricular activities would occur with under 20 seconds to play, but cooler heads would prevail before things escalated out of control as Steinbach walked away with a 3-0 win.
The Pistons went 0 for 2 on the power play and killed off all four man advantages they faced. Steinbach has been perfect on the PK over the last seven games, a great sign as they head into the postseason.
The Pistons still do not know their first round opponent, as the Winnipeg Blues picked up a point in an overtime loss to the Dauphin Kings this evening. Selkirk and Winnipeg are both tied at 53 points with the Blues holding the tiebreaker. If the Steelers lose in regulation tomorrow night against the Winkler Flyers, then Steinbach would face the Blues for a third straight postseason.
UP NEXT: The playoffs are next week! It’s expected that Game #1 of the MJHL quarterfinal will be next Friday, March 6th at the TG Smith Centre. Stay tuned to Steinbachpistons.ca and all Pistons social media outlets for upcoming playoff ticket information.