It was a hard-nosed, gritty game between the Pistons and the Flyers. That sound familiar?
Matt Lenz made 28 saves as Steinbach beat Winkler for the four time this season by a score of 4-2 Tuesday night.
Playing the first game back in Winkler since an ice plant malfunction relocated the Flyers to Morden for most of November, the Pistons were able to stick to their game plan and come away with the two points.
The Pistons got the scoring started as Troy Williams found defence partner Doug Johnson. Johnson fired a shot on goal and it was tipped by Boedey Vaeth to make it 1-0 Steinbach 5:46 into the first period.
Then after Steinbach went down a man, miscommunication by the Flyers resulted in a Brendan Martin breakaway. The Pistons’ leading goal scorer made no mistake, sliding the puck past Flyer starter Britt League, and it was 2-0 Pistons at the 8:23 mark. Easton Bennett picked up the lone helper on Martin’s 19thof the season.
The Flyers responded with a short handed goal of their own, as Connor Beebe took a pass from Jayden McCarthy on a 2-on-1 rush and chipped it by Lenz to give Winkler their first goal of the game with 9:35 to go in the first grame.
Steinbach responded 47 seconds later with a good shift from the Pistons’ checking line. David Queree fired the puck on goal, and Max Neill got a piece of it to restore the two goal lead at 3-1. For the rookie Neill, the goal is his 6thof the season from Queree, with Troy Beauchemin picking up the bonus apple on the play.
There wasn’t much to recap in the second period, except for the final five minutes. The turning point in the period was a unbelievable diving glove save by Britt League on Brendan Martin, and that turned the tide in favour of the home side. Winkler would draw back within one on a Pistons turnover in their own zone, and Caydon Meyer found Brody Moffatt who slid it home through the five-hole of Lenz to make it 3-2 with 3:27 left in the second period.
The Flyers would press hard on the Pistons the rest of the period, but Steinbach escaped with a 3-2 lead after 40. In the third, it was a tight checking no risk-taking period for both sides. And that was okay with the Pistons, who were able to drain out the game clock for most of the final period.
The time dwindled down to under a minute to play. With League pulled for the Winkler Flyers, Tyson McConnell would win a crucial draw and Troy Williams flipped it out of the zone. The puck would roll into the yawning cage, giving Williams his 4thgoal of the season from the captain with 39 seconds left.
HALFDANSON MAKES DEBUT
Newly acquired forward Trent Halfdanson made his Pistons debut, playing the right wing on a line with Jack Kilroy and Easton Bennett. Halfdanson, who was acquired by Steinbach from the Winkler Flyers last Friday, had a solid debut in blue and white.
Both teams went 0 for 2 in a relatively clean game.
UP NEXT: The Pistons will return home to the TG Smith Centre for one more home game before the 2018 Old Dutch MJHL Showcase next week. That game is the BSI Insurace Toy Drive game on Friday night, as Steinbach welcomes the Winnipeg Blues into town for a 7:30 pm puck drop. Catch the game live on HockeyTV, and don’t forget to bring a toy to Friday’s game where you can receive a Pistons ticket voucher for a game in the month of January.