Courtesy of Steinbachonline.com – Written by Dave Anthony
There was a nice mix of rookies, veterans and bubble players trying to make an impact, putting their skills on display as the Steinbach Pistons lost 3-2 in a shootout to the Winnipeg Blues on Sunday night, in the kick off of the exhibition season.
The Pistons didn’t start off the way they had hoped. Early in the first period, Steinbach failed to clear the puck a couple of times and the Blues took advantage jumping out in front 1-0 and would hold on to that lead heading into the first intermission.
In the second period, things began to get a little chippy. Players from both sides upped the physical play and the penalty minutes climbed. The Pistons capitalized on a man advantage as Mark Taraschuk fired a shot from the point and it found the back of the net, evening things up at 1-1. Sean O’Leary and Max Cavalini had the assists.
Things escalated just two minutes later when Steinbach forward Mark Sanchez came in hard on the fore check, delivering a good, hard hit on a Blues defenseman. Winnipeg’s Brock Shwaluk took exception and dropped the gloves with Sanchez. In the period, the two teams combined for 42 penalty minutes.
Mid-way through the third period, Winnipeg scored on the power play but Steinbach fought back and it was Taylor Gatto converting on a rebound to tie things up at 2. Taraschuk and Curtis Ireland were given the assists on the goal.
The period ended 2-2 and it was the first chance for Pistons fans to see the new 3-on-3 overtime the MJHL will implement for the upcoming season. Lots of ice led to lots of chances for both sides as the defensemen were very active jumping up in rushes and forwards skating hard on the back check. Overtime, while exciting, solved nothing and the game would be decided by a shootout.
Steinbach failed to score on either of their shots while Winnipeg went 2-for-3 and took home the win.
The Pistons power play had its chances, but with new players and systems it failed to really gain traction finishing 1-of-8, while the penalty kill went 4-for-5.
Matthew Thiessen started and played just over half the game making 13 saves. Jordan Elliot took over midway point of the second period and looked solid making 15 saves.
Steinbach will rest on Monday then take to the ice at home on Tuesday in a rematch against the Blues. Puck drop at the TG Smith is 7:30pm.