Tanner Mole scored 2 goals, and Braden Purtill scored a goal in his return to the lineup as the Steinbach Pistons kicked off the playoffs with a 4-0 win over the Swan Valley Stampeders.
Matthew Thiessen made 17 saves in his first career playoff game, and got his first MJHL playoff shutout. Ethan Peterson got the start for Swan, and made 33 saves in the loss. With the win, the Pistons lead the best-of-7 series 1-0.
The Pistons got their big guns back in the lineup tonight, as captain Braden Purtill and Drew Worrad returned to the lineup for game 1. Purtill missed the last month of the season, while Worrad did not play in the final four games of the regular season. Both were out due to upper body injuries.
The Pistons brought the crowd to life in the first, as Mole worked out in front of Peterson and shot the puck at his pads. The rebound popped up in the air, and Mole swatted it out of the air and into the net to give the Pistons the lead. The lone assist went to Easton Bennett at the 7:15 mark of the first. Then Purtill took a pass from Tyson McConnell and one-timed the puck on goal. The puck slipped through Peterson’s pads, and just crept over the goal line to give the Pistons a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes of play.
Austin Heidemann, also playing in his first playoff game, scored his first playoff goal in the second period, as he fired a rebound through the five-hole of Peterson and in. Bradley Schoonbaert and Jaret Lalli picked up the assists at the 12:11 mark.
The Pistons defense was suffocating, only allowing 11 shots on Thiessen in the last two periods combined. Swan had one glorious chance to get on the board at the end of the second period, when a rebound popped right to forward Trevor Mann. His shot hit off of the inside of the post past a sprawlingMole was able to seal the deal on the PK with 5 minutes left, as Swan pulled Peterson for the extra attacker. He poked the puck past the Swan defender and cruised in for his second goal of the game on an empty net.
The Pistons went 0 for 5 on the PP, and killed off all 4 penalties they faced.
UP NEXT: Game 2 goes tomorrow night at the TG Smith Centre, with puck drop scheduled for 7:30 pm. Get your tickets for game 2 online at Steinbachpistons.ca.