Tanner Mole and Boedey Vaeth each had two goals, and Matt Radomsky put together a sparkling third period as the Steinbach Pistons defeated the Winnipeg Blues 4-3 in Game #1 of the MJHL Quarterfinals Friday night.
The Pistons lead the best-of-7 opening round series 1-0.
Radomsky faced 21 Winnipeg shots through two periods, but dazzled in an Blues barrage in the last frame as 23 shots came his way. He finishes with 41 saves in the win, while Blues goalie Jeremy Link made 32 saves in the loss.
It was a charged up first period, as both teams established their physicality early on in this contest. The Blues grabbed the first two goals of the game after the first 10 minutes of the game. Nathan Adrian wrapped around the Pistons goal and beat Radomsky at 10:57 of the first period for a 1-0 Winnipeg lead. And then Adrian came out of the corner four minutes later and fed Blues captain Kelton Sutherland for a tap-in at the side of the net to make it 2-0 Winnipeg.
Steinbach got the next goal, as Vaeth threw the puck out in front of the Blues net. The shot went off of Link’s goal stick and in to cut the lead in half. Easton Bennett picked up the assist on Vaeth’s first of the playoffs.
The second period was owned by the home team. Two and a half minutes into the middle frame, Bennett threw a puck on goal in which Bettens tipped onto Link. The rebound got away from Bettens, but the Lorette native Vaeth was in the right place at the right time and put home his second of the night at the 2:34 mark of the second.
The Pistons came back to take the lead on the power play, as Tanner Mole pumped home his first of the playoffs with a slick move in tight to beat Link with 3:39 left in the second. Bettens picked up his second assist on the night, and Tyson McConnell had the other helper on Mole’s first of the playoffs.
The Blues flipped the script in the third period, and controlled play right from the start. Defenceman Darren Gisti ripped home a one-timer on the power play 1:38 into the third period to tie the game up.
Steinbach was caught on their heels throughout much of the first 10 minutes, but their goaltender kept them tied with some unbelievable play in goal. Radomsky robbed a Blues forward with a diving paddle save that had the TG Smith Centre crowd buzzing for the next few minutes.
The Pistons found their legs again, and caught a break in the Blues zone. Link pushed the puck up the middle of the ice right onto the stick of Mole. The Winnipeg native, who was second on the Pistons with 21 goals during the regular season, beat Link to the glove side to bring the Steinbach crowd to its feet and give the Pistons a 4-3 lead with 6:45 to play.
Radomsky and the Pistons had to survive a late power play from the Blues, but kept Winnipeg off of the board and came away with a 4-3 win.
HOMETOWN HOCKEY INVADES THE TG SMITH
Tara Slone, co-host of Rogers Hometown Hockey, dropped the ceremonial puck before the game to commemorate the two-day hockey festival this weekend in Steinbach.
Both teams went 1 for 3 on the power play.
UP NEXT: Game #2 goes Sunday night at 6:30 pm at the BellMTS Iceplex. Catch the game live on MIX 96 and Steinbachonline.com, or live on HockeyTV as Steinbach looks to gain a 2-0 series advantage.