The Steinbach Pistons played comeback for the second straight night, as Kyle Bettens had the lone goal in the shootout in a 3-2 win over the Neepawa Natives Saturday.
The win extends the Pistons’ win streak to a season best six games in a row.
Matt Lenz kept his team in the game all night with 27 saves, and was a perfect 3 for 3 in the shootout. Natives goaltender Kolby Thornton was the difference in the game, as he was excellent in the Neepawa net with 41 saves on the night.
Steinbach was playing their third game in four nights, and ran into a last place Neepawa team that has played them tough all season long.
It would be the same way again tonight, as Aidan Woodley scored his first of the season with eight minutes to play in the first period to open the scoring.
The Pistons carried play the rest of the way and outshot Neepawa 17-8 in the opening period but could not solve Thornton. Easton Bennett finally did, as he took a beauty cross-ice pass from Nico Labossiere and put the puck past the shoulder of the Natives goalie to tie it up at the 3:28 mark. Bettens picked up the other apple on Bennett’s ninth goal of the season.
But the Natives took the lead right back as Jesse Gibbons buried his tenth of the season on the powerplay seven minutes into the second period.
Steinbach ratcheted up the pressure in the third period and equalized in the third period as Bennett found Labossiere streaking down the middle of the ice. Labossiere beat Thornton on his back hand with 6:47 left in the third from Bennett and Bettens.
The Pistons then took two penalties in their own zone, and were forced to kill off an extended 5-on-3 late in the period, but Lenz and the penalty killers did their job to force overtime.
Steinbach thought they had won it in overtime as Bettens fed Labossiere on a 2-on-1 rush, but Thornton flashed the leather and robbed Labossiere’s one-time attempt with a sliding glove save.
Bettens scored the lone shootout goal, as he faked a shot and outwaited Thornton to beat him over the glove in the second round. Lenz survived a crossbar later in that round, then stopped Brad Marshall to win it for the Pistons.
The Pistons are undefeated in shootouts this season, having already beaten Swan Valley in November and Dauphin one week ago in the same fashion. The win also means a season series sweep for Steinbach over Neepawa.
The Pistons finished 0 for 4 on the power play, while the Natives were 1 for 4 on their man advantages.
UP NEXT: Steinbach heads back to the TG Smith for a date with the Selkirk Steelers on Tuesday night at 7:30 pm. NOTE: This is a makeup game, as the original scheduled date was postponed due to cold weather on January 30th. Those who have tickets for the postponed game can use them to get in for Tuesday’s game.