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(Photo: Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada)

Pistons cough up another 2-goal lead in OT loss to Jr. Senators

For a third straight game, the Pistons saw a two-goal lead evaporate as Nick Lalonde scored the overtime winner on the power-play to lift the Ottawa Jr. Senators past Steinbach 5-4 on Day 5 of the 2018 RBC Cup.

With the win, the Senators became the third team to clinch a spot in the semi-finals on Saturday, joining the Wenatchee Wild and the Chilliwack Chiefs. Connor Hicks got the win in the Ottawa despite giving up 4 goals on just 22 shots on goal. Matt Radomsky made 37 saves in the loss.

Unlike the first two games, it was a bit of a sloppy start as both sides tried to get their feet moving early in the contest.

The Pistons once again got the first goal of the game, as a great shift defending Ottawa in their zone saw Riese Gaber break out and hit Braden Purtill just over the blue line. Purtill found a cutting Brendan Martin, and Martin tucked a backhander past the left pad of Hicks for his first goal of the tournament at the 10:08 mark of the first period.

The Senators quickly tied it on a shot by Conor Smart just 2:30 later to equalize, with Griffin McGregor drawing the lone assist.

The Pistons took their two goal lead late in the first. Gaber threw a shot at Hicks, and Purtill poked it past the goalie and in. It was the captain’s first of the tournament, with Gaber and Mark Wilson picking up the helpers with 3:57 to go.

Then after Drew Worrad drew a hooking penalty with 30 seconds left, quick passing by Worrad and Bradley Schoonbaert found a wide-open Darby Gula by himself, who put in his second of the tournament on the power play with 22 seconds left.

However, the tide turned in the second as the Pistons could not stay out of the box. Four penalties were taken by Steinbach, including one to Gaber for checking from behind which resulted in his ejection from the game. Over the last two games, Gaber has been the most impactful forward for Steinbach, and had 2 points in the first period.

Before the Gaber penalty, Ottawa drew back within one as Finn Evans fired a turnaround slapshot from the high slot past Radomsky. Zach Salloum had the lone assist at the 10:51 mark of the second. The Senators fired 19 shots at Radomsky in the period, and the Pistons were up by one after 40 minutes.

Ottawa tied it up 5:45 into the third, as Gabriel Morin scored to equalize with Ethan Manderville and Pierre-Luc Veillette drawing the assists.

The Pistons went on the power play shortly after, and they retook the lead at Purtill found Austin Heidemann in the slot and he tipped it in. Mark Taraschuk had the secondary assist on Heidemann’s second of the tournament. It also gave Purtill his 3rd point on the night, and the second power play goal for Steinbach.

But all momentum that the Pistons built up after the goal was quickly snatched away, as Owen Guy put a rebound past Radomsky to make it 4-4 before the 10 minute mark of the third.

The extra session meant the second straight 4-on-4 session for Steinbach. For Ottawa, all of their prelim games have gone to OT. Just past the halfway mark, Purtill took a costly slashing penalty. On their 7th power play on the night, Zach Salloum found Lalonde who one-timed it past Radomsky to give them the extra point.

UP NEXT: The Pistons still have a shot at the semi-finals with one more game to go against the host Chiefs tomorrow at 9:00 pm CDT. They will be intently watching tomorrow afternoon’s game between the 4th place Wellington Dukes and the 1st place Wenatchee Wild.

Here are the scenarios: If the Wild win in regulation over the Dukes, the Pistons can advance with a win over Chilliwack. If Wenatchee wins in overtime or a shootout, the Pistons will need a regulation win to advance to the semi-finals. Any type of Dukes win results in elimination for Steinbach.