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Pistons fans go wild as Braden Purtill scores the go-ahead goal in Steinbach's 3-1 win over Nipawin in the 2018 ANAVET Cup final. (Photo courtesy: Adi Loewen)

Pistons even up ANAVET Cup with big Game 2 win

Captain Braden Purtill scored two goals including the game-winner, as the Pistons used a three-goal third period to come back and beat the Nipawin Hawks 3-1, and even up the 2018 best-of-7 ANAVET Cup at 1-1.

‘Playoff’ Purtill was in full effect in the third period, as he put the Pistons on his back in the third period. “It’s a good win,” he said. “Obviously we weren’t happy with our game yesterday, and we came in tonight and wanted to tie up the series. And we did it.”

The Hawks got on the board first for the second game in a row, as a Wayde Johannesson point shot was deflected by Logan Casavant past Matthew Thiessen and in for a 1-0 lead. Brandan Arnold picked up the extra assist on the goal, which gives him 5 points already in the series.

In the second period the bounces kept going the way of the Hawks, as Steinbach hit three posts in the period. The first came early, as Brendan Martin backhanded one off the outside of the short-side post after a Purtill shot on Nipawin goalie Declan Hobbs. And then on back-to-back chances, Austin Heidemann and Drew Worrad hit the cross bar with about 4 minutes left in the second. After a furious end to the second, it remained 1-0 for Nipawin.

The Hawks got into penalty problems early in the third, and the dorment Pistons power play awoke quickly after. Mark Wilson pinched up in the middle of the ice, and chipped the puck to Bradley Schoonbaert. He fed Austin Heidemann, who picked the corner over the glove of Hobbs to tie it up 4:06 into the period.

Purtill, as he said, got the monkey off his back as he got on his horse and beat Hobbs for a loose puck that was chipped into the offensive zone by Daniel McKitrick. He whacked it past the five-hole of Hobbs and in to bring the TG Smith Centre crowd to its feet, and the Pistons were back on top 2-1.

Later on, Steinbach native Thomas Lenchyshyn received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for a blow to the head penalty on Pistons forward Riese Gaber. Midway through the major, Drew Worrad threaded a beautiful cross-ice pass to Purtill, who wired a wrist shot past a sprawling Hobbs and in. Wilson also picked up his 2nd assist of the night and it was 3-1 Steinbach with 6:16 to go.

Matthew Thiessen bounced back in Game 2, making 25 saves for the victory as the Pistons outshot the Hawks 32-26 on the night.

The Pistons will be on the road for all of next week, as Game 3 shifts to ‘The Cage’ in Nipawin, SK where there will be a raucous Hawks crowd awaiting their team. “We just have to stay close as a team,” Purtill observed. “Staying in a hotel for a week could be tough at times. (But) there’s a lot of positives that can come out of this, we can do whatever we can on our off day. But just coming to the rink everyday playing that way we can, that’s pretty much (how you do it).”

SPECIAL TEAMS

The Pistons were 2 for 5 on the power play, and killed off all 5 Nipawin man advantages.

INJURY REPORT

Pistons forward Brady Tatro did not dress for tonight’s game due to an undisclosed injury. After the dangerous hit by Thomas Lenchyshyn, Riese Gaber made his way to the bench. A few minutes later, Gaber left the ice for precautionary reasons.

UP NEXT: You can listen to all of the games in Nipawin with the voice of the Pistons, Dave Anthony, on MIX 96 and Steinbachonline.com.