It’s the fifth game of sixty tonight for the Steinbach Pistons as they pay their first visit to the Iceplex this season to face the Winnipeg Blues at 7:00 pm.
It will be the first matchup between these teams (not counting the preseason) since their thrilling MJHL semifinal series last March.
Both Winnipeg and Steinbach have identical records to start the year (2-2-0), and it’s been a mixed bag for both sides. The Pistons lost their first two games of the season by one goal each to Wayway and Selkirk, but have responded nicely with two solid performances and two 6-2 wins against the Winkler Flyers and the Dauphin Kings.
Amongst the notable players for the Pistons, it’s been a great start to the season for forward Tanner Mole and defenceman Curtis Ireland. Mole is tied for the MJHL lead with four goals, and Ireland has five assists to start the year (T-3 in MJHL).
The Pistons were expected to be one of the top defensive teams this season, and they haven’t disappointed so far. A committed effort to their own zone has seen them not give up more than three goals in a game thus far in the early season, and goaltending duo Matt Radomsky and Matt Lenz have put together solid performances in the first four games.
The Pistons are facing a Winnipeg team that has also had some mixed performances this season. The Blues were throttled by Portage by a score of 9-1 in their season opener, but responded the next night by beating the Terriers 3-2. Last week saw the Blues comeback in the final 5 minutes of the third period to force overtime against Winkler, and then lose 4-2 to the Kings at home.
This will be the fourth home game for the Blues this season, who are also a fairly new looking team as well. They are led by forward Codey Behun, who is second in league scoring to start the 2018-19 campaign (7 points in 4 GP) and the recent winner of the Recycle Everywhere MJHL Player of the Week.
The Blues also have veteran forwards who have produced early, including Nathan Hillis and captain Kelton Sutherland. Winnipeg also has one of the top young players in the MJHL in defenceman Michael Ladyman (’01), who was a workhorse for the Blues last year and is expected to continue to develop his game this year.
In goal for the Blues is Jeremy Link. Link was the main reason that last year’s series was so close as he stoned the Pistons in every way imaginable. He is one of the top goaltenders in the MJHL because of his quickness and agility in the crease. Expect him to get the start tonight for Winnipeg.
Catch all the action on HockeyTV tonight!