Rylan Clemons scored the game-winner with 4:51 to go in the third period to lift the Steinbach Pistons past the Portage Terriers 3-2 Wednesday night at the TG Smith Centre.
Tonight’s meeting was the fourth between Portage and Steinbach this season, and now three have resulted in one-goal finishes. Matt Lenz seemingly has the Terriers’ number this year as he stopped 37 of 39 shots for his 13th win of the season. Cole Johnston stopped 23 of 26 shots as he picked up just his 2nd loss, and both have come against the Pistons.
Steinbach was outshot by a wide margin in the first period but ended up with the game’s first goal on the power play, as Dylan Cassie fired a shot from the point that beat a screened Johnston for a 1-0 lead 8:21 into the game. Zach Purcell picked up the lone helper on Cassie’s 2nd of the season.
The Terriers would equalize late in the first period on a man advantage of their own on a rebound marker by Riley Bruce. They would take the lead early in the middle frame on their second power play of the game, as Logan Christensen jumped off the bench and roofed one past Lenz to hand Portage a 2-1 lead.
Steinbach clawed back in the second period on the shot clock as they started to tilt the ice towards the Portage end. With Lenz keeping the Pistons within striking distance, Steinbach would eventually tie the game with under six and a half to go in the second. Bryce Young fought off three Portage checks andworked his way into the slot and fired a shot that Johnston stopped, but an opportunistic Ty Naaykens pounced on the loose change in the crease and buried his 6th goal on the campaign to knot things up at 2.
The Pistons PK units stepped up in the third period, as they shut down two Portage power plays having already given up two goals of that variety to keep the game tied.
Steinbach took the lead with under five to go on one that Johnston would definitely love to have back. David Queree forced a turnover and just tried to put the puck on goal and Clemons got a piece of the disc. The puck fluttered towards Johnston’s pad and bounced up in the air, which Johnston tried to glove down. However he inadvertently knocked the puck through his own five-hole. Clemons is credited with his 2nd goal of the season assisted by Queree.
Matt Lenz made two amazing saves late to deny the Terriers the tying marker, as Steinbach defended well and skated away with a gutsy 3-2 win on Hockey Gives Blood Night.
The Pistons went 1 for 2 on the power play while the Terriers connected twice on four attempts with the man advantage.
UP NEXT: The Pistons conclude their four-game homestand with a pair of tilts this weekend, starting with the Dauphin Kings on Saturday night at 7:30 pm followed by a matchup with Waywayseecappo on Sunday at 7:00 pm. Get your tickets for that contest at Steinbachpistons.ca/tickets, or buy them one hour prior to puck drop at the ticket gate.