The Pistons have finished off a four-game road trip in style with a hard fought 4-2 win over the Portage Terriers Wednesday night at Stride Place.
The final shot tally was not something you would typically see in a junior hockey game, as Steinbach outshot the Terriers just 28-15 on the night. Starter Matt Radomsky made 13 saves in the win, while Portage netminder Miles Minor stopped 24 of 28 Pistons shots in the loss.
Head Coach Paul Dyck loved the compete in his team coming off of a disappointing road swing in Northern Manitoba. “We felt we put together a much more complete game then what we did this past weekend,” Dyck said after the game. Some of the details that we have been lacking in our game were more evident today.”
The Terriers got the scoring started on their first shot of the game 4:12 in, as Reilly Funk made a nice dangle around a Pistons defender and backhanded the puck over Radomsky to make it 1-0. Ocean Wiesblatt and Caelan McPhee had the helpers on Funk’s 5th of the season.
The Pistons turned on the heat in the first period, going to work in the corners and wearing the Terriers defense down. All of that resulted in only two Terrier shots on goal in the first. Steinbach equalized with 55 seconds left in the frame, as Brady Tatro lasered a wrist shot top shelf. Leading Pistons assisters Curtis Ireland and Troy Williams added to their total with their 11th and 10th assists respectively.
Portage responded to start the first half of the second period, and they retook the lead as Funk slipped a shot underneath Radomsky’s outstretched pad in the slot. Peyton Gorski and Wiesblatt nabbed the apples on Funk’s second of the game and 6th of the season at the 9:59 mark.
The Pistons responded soon after, as their dormant power play which had gone 1 for its last 18 came to life. Tatro tipped in a point shot from Declan Graham to tie it up at 2. Williams picked up the bonus assist on the Bemidji native’s second of the game, and 8th of the season.
Martin gave the Pistons the lead as he took a pass on the right wing from Declan Graham, walked into the slot and fired the puck through Minor’s five hole with 3:32 to go in the second. Martin tied his linemate Tatro with his 8th goal of the season to give Steinbach a 3-2 advantage after 40 minutes.
The Pistons were all over Portage in their own zone, not allowing a quality chance on Radomsky the entire way. One line that was particularly effective in keeping the puck away from the Terriers was the rookie checking line of Max Neill, Troy Beauchemin, and David Queree. Their performance was noticed by Coach Dyck.
“Beauch, Max, and DQ were really tough to play against tonight,” Dyck commented. “They kept their feet moving, finished checks, and really competed. It’s great to see them contributing and growing in confidence.”
It resulted in that young line getting crucial minutes down the stretch in a one goal game. The Terriers could not pull the goalie, but it didn’t matter because the Pistons put another goal up on the board with 15 seconds remaining. After Brendan Westbrook was denied on a breakaway, he stayed with it and found Easton Bennett in the slot who ripped it home to make it 4-2. The goal is Bennett’s 2nd of the year.
Steinbach was a perfect 2 for 2 on the power play, while Portage went 1 for 3.
UP NEXT: The Pistons come back home to play a weekend series with the OCN Blizzard, with Saturday’s puck drop scheduled for 7:30 pm and Sunday scheduled for a 7 pm start time. “I don’t believe much needs to be said leading up to the games on the weekend,” Dyck explained. “The boys were not happy with how we played in OCN, and with the results we saw (tonight) I expect a much hungrier effort this Saturday then we saw last Saturday.”