For the fourth time in their season series, the Steinbach Pistons and the Portage Terriers played to a one-goal game.
And for the third time, the Pistons would come out on top as Rylan Bettens and Kasyn Kruse scored 30 seconds apart in the second period for what would eventually end up a 2-1 Steinbach win.
For the second straight night the home team got some great goaltending by Matt Lenz, who wasn’t particularly busy in the first two periods but stopped all 12 shots he faced in the third period for 22 saves on the night.
Noah Giesbrecht was making his debut for the Terriers in goal, and was saddled with the loss stopping 30 of 32 Steinbach shots.
Steinbach would jump out of the blocks quickly and built up an 8-0 shot advantage through the first nine minutes of the game. The Terriers would get the game’s first goal on the power play on a Koby Morrisseau shot that hit some skates and get past Lenz with 3:31 to play.
The Pistons would continue to put the pressure on Portage and hem up the Terriers in their own zone during the second period. On a delayed penalty call, Bryce Young found Rylan Bettens in the slot which led to a wicked shot from Bettens that beat Giesbrecht clean to tie the game. Codey Behun nabbed the secondary assist on Rylan’s 11th goal of the season at the 9:12 mark.
Steinbach would bring the home fans to their feet a few short moments later. Troy Beauchemin found Kasyn Kruse alone in front, and the 20-year-old from Luverne, Minnesota tapped the puck through the five-hole for his first goal as a Piston thirty seconds after Bettens’ goal, with Tucker Hodgson also picking up the bonus helper on the play.
The third period would be a hard-nosed physical frame with both sides scrapping, the Pistons trying to preserve their one-goal lead whereas the Terriers were trying to equalize.
Cue the Lenz show as the Grapevine goalie came up big with huge saves on Portage’s Caelan McPhee and Joey Moffatt in the final minutes to give Steinbach the two points and their fifth straight win.
Tonight’s win puts Steinbach nine points clear of the Winkler Flyers and ten points ahead of the Terriers for top spot in the MJHL standings.
Steinbach went 0 for 2 on the power play while the Terriers went 1 for 2 with the man advantage. The Pistons did have the biggest kill of the night in the final three minutes of the third period.
UP NEXT: These two teams will lock horns for the sixth and final time this regular season Saturday night at Stride Place in Portage la Prairie. Catch the game live on HockeyTV or your radio at MIX 96 and Steinbachonline.com, with puck drop set for 7:30 pm.