Carter Loney led the way with two goals and an assist as the Steinbach Pistons defeated the Winnipeg Blues 5-1 on Sunday afternoon at the Rink Training Centre.
Tanner Mole, Ryan Butler, and Zach Purcell also had markers for the Pistons, who now have a 2-0 series lead in the best-of-7 MJHL quarterfinal.
It was the first afternoon playoff game for the Pistons since the 2018 RBC Cup, and it was a good start for both sides as the pace was quick early.
Steinbach had plenty of chances in the first period, but it would be the Blues that got on the board first as Mitchell Joss beat Matt Lenz over the glove with 2:22 left in the first. Steinbach would get a power play late in the opening period but couldn’t cash in.
The second period is where things changed in favour of the Pistons, as the road team outshot Winnipeg 15-3 in the frame and threw their weight around on the young Blues squad. Steinbach would tie things up 6:14 into the second as Rylan Bettens wrapped around the net of Cooper Hatfield, and Bettens sent the puck out in front for a tap-in goal by Tanner Mole.
The Pistons would take the lead with 7:15 to go in period 2. Christian Riemer threw a point shot that was stopped by Hatfield, and Carter Loney would pot the rebound in front of the net for his first of the playoffs.
Loney was at it again in the final minutes of the middle frame, as he dangled around two Blues defenders and beat Hatfield past his glove to give Steinbach a 3-1 lead just before the intermission break. Curtis Ireland would pick up the lone assist on the play.
Steinbach would continue the momentum in the third period. Getting an early power play, great puck movement by Kyle Bettens, Ty Naaykens, and Declan Graham gave the Pistons great chances on the man advantage. After Bettens hit the crossbar, another shot by the Bemidji State commit found its way onto the stick of Ryan Butler, who put the puck past Hatfield for a 4-1 Pistons lead. Naaykens would add the secondary helper on Butler’s first of the playoffs at 3:32.
The Pistons would conclude the scoring a minute later as Zach Purcell beat Hatfield with a one-touch wrister off a pass from Carter Loney to make it 5-1 for the road side. Tucker Hodgson would add the extra apple on Purcell’s first of the playoffs.
Steinbach would kill off five penalties in the third period, including an extended 5-on-3, with some solid play by Matt Lenz. Lenz had his best stretch of this series so far with a couple of highlight reel saves to keep the Blues hemmed at 1 goal. That would remain the score as the final buzzer sounded to give the Pistons the Game #2 victory.
Steinbach went 1 for 3 on the power play and killed off all 7 penalties they faced.
UP NEXT: Game #3 goes Tuesday night at the TG Smith Centre, with puck drop set for 7:30 pm. Get your tickets for that game online at Steinbachpistons.ca/tickets.