Pistons Breakout Brooms, Sweep Nighthawks To Advance To Round 2

Content Provided By: Steinbach Online


The Steinbach Pistons have punched their ticket to round 2 of the MJHL Playoffs after defeating Niverville on Thursday night 3-2 to win their opening round series 4-0.

With their season on the line, an anxious crowd at the CRRC hoped their team could get off to a strong start and that’s exactly what they did scoring less than a minute into the game.

20-year-old Brendan Bottem came streamlining off the bench, picked off a Pistons clearing attempt, walked in and rifled a shot home for his 2nd of the post season and the building was a rocking with Niverville leading 1-0.

It was the first time in the series the Nighthawks scored first.

Steinbach would respond later in the period as Connor Paronuzzi fought for a loose puck in the Nighthawks zone. Goalie Keegan Gordon thought about coming out of his net to play the puck but decided better of it and backed off, leaving Paronuzzi with a glorious chance and the 18-year-old made no mistake notching his first of the playoffs and knotting up the game 1-1.

Niverville pushed right back trying to get the lead back but Cole Plowman made a terrific skate save, keeping things at 1-1.

Later in the period, the Pistons worked the puck around the offensive zone. As time ticked away on the man advantage, David Cote put a shot toward the net. 20-year-old Trey Sauder was battling in front with a Nighthawks defender and as Cote was shooting, Sauder managed to push off the defender and fight to find the rebound first, tucking home his first of the playoffs to put Steinbach up 2-1. Brandon Funk picked up the secondary assist.

18-year-old Brayden Berg was shaken up during the first period and went to the bench in discomfort. He did not come out for the second or third period.

Refusing to go quietly into the summer, the Nighthawks stormed out after the first intermission and scored just over a minute into the period.

Bottem started the play with a cheeky faceoff win, pushing the puck forward and then using his size to puck protect below the goal line. Bottem worked the puck around the zone and eventually found the waiting stick of Michael Debrito who tapped home is second of the playoffs, making it a 2-2 game. Ty Kennett picked up the secondary helper.

Steinbach started to tilt the ice as the period went on and just past the midway point, the Pistons entered the Nighthawks zone and refused to let them get out.

The first wave of attack was Sam Noad, who made the play to get the whole thing started after breaking up a Nighthawks pass in the neutral zone and forcing the puck in deep, along with Jamie Fuchs and Brett Kaiser who went in on the forecheck. Jack Cook showed off his elite hands and vision keeping the puck in at the blueline several times while Szabo managed to get a great look but rang a shot off the post.

Time after time the Pistons outworked and outhustled the Nighthawks as they kept the puck in, forcing the Nighthawks to start chasing. All that running around wore down the home side and Steinbach managed to get in an offensive zone change while not giving up the puck.

Paronuzzi used his great hand-eye coordination to knock down another soft clearing attempt, keeping the pressure on. Jackson Kostiuk walked from the corner to the blueline and with good support from Spencer Penner, cut into the slot before sliding a pass to Parker Jasper. Jasper walked in but he was stick checked before he could get a shot away. The 20-year-old then dove and hooked the puck over to Paronuzzi who wired home his 2nd of the game to put Steinbach up 3-2.

The official goal is Paronuzzi from Jasper and Kostiuk but it was a total team effort that restored the lead.

In the third, the Pistons went to work defending the lead.

Plowman was tested less than five minutes in as the Nighthawks executed a perfect zone entry and great chance on goal but Plowman made the original save and then fought to keep things in front of him, battling hard and doing what he needed to do. Plowman’s effort combined with a key blockĀ from Penner and clear from Cook, spoiled the Nighthawks chance and it stayed 3-2 Steinbach.

Time melted away and Niverville pushed with their season on the line. With the net empty, they put on the pressure but the Pistons defenders kept things cool and calm, keeping the Nighthawks to the outside and refusing to give them any space.

The final buzzer sounded and Steinbach picked up a 3-2 win advancing to round 2.

Plowman collected his first career playoff series win making 16 saves while Keegan Gordon finished with 33 stops.

Steinbach’s power play was 0-2 and the penalty kill was 1-1.

The Pistons will now wait to see who their second round opponent will be. There are a few teams that it could be all depending on the outcome of the other series. Possible matchups are the Portage Terriers, the Blizzard, Dauphin Kings or Neepawa Titans.