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Tyson McConnell celebrates with teammates Jack Johnson and Jaret Lalli after scoring his 1st goal of the playoffs in Game 5 versus Virden. (Photo courtesy: Adi Loewen)

Pistons now one win away from Turnbull Cup after Game 5 victory

The Pistons are now one win away from lifting the Turnbull Cup, as they defeated the Virden Oil Capitals 7-1 on Thursday night in front of a raucous crowd in Steinbach.

Drew Worrad had 2 goals and an assist to lead the way for Steinbach, while Bradley Schoonbaert, Austin Heidemann, and Mark Taraschuk registered 2 point games as well. Matthew Thiessen was solid once again for the Pistons, making 21 saves in the win. Riley McVeigh also made 21 saves, but he allowed 6 goals through two periods and was replaced by backup Dalton Dosch to begin the third. Dosch stopped 13 of 14 shots in relief.

Worrad got the party started early as he fired home his 5th of the playoffs just 37 seconds into the game, with the assists went to Heidemann and Schoonbaert. And then Braden Purtill was in the right place at the right time, as he intercepted a Virden breakout pass right in front of McVeigh and potted home his 6th of the postseason just 11 seconds later to give the Pistons a quick 2-0.

“It was great to get the crowd in it early,” defenceman Mark Wilson said after the game. “(The start) definitely gave us a lot of energy, and we just took it to them from there.”

Worrad then was hooked from behind on a breakaway, and was awarded the second penalty shot of the series for the Pistons at 7:18 of the first. He snuck the puck through the five-hole, and it was 3-0 on Worrad’s 2nd of the game.

Virden showed signs of life early after getting into penalty problems late in the first. On a Steinbach power play, Kolten Kanaski stripped a Piston at the blue line and proceeded to score on a breakaway, cutting Steinbach’s lead to two at 3:49.

Virden had a chance to cut the lead to one, but Matthew Thiessen made his best of the playoffs as he lay sprawled out on his back and robbed a Virden player with his glove.

“He gives us a chance to win every night,” Wilson said of Thiessen. “He made that big save, and we just fed off that.”

The Pistons regained the momentum halfway through the second period, and never looked back as Tyson McConnell threw a backhand off a Virden defender and in for a 4-1 lead. The goal was McConnell’s 1st of the playoffs from Mark Taraschuk and Jaret Lalli at 10:06.

On another Steinbach power play, Schoonbaert found Austin Heidemann in front, and he buried his 5th of the playoffs at 14:54 for a 5-1 lead. Drew Worrad also picked up the secondary assist. And with time running down in the second, Easton Bennett took a pass off the boards from Taraschuk and scored on a partial break to beat the buzzer and give Steinbach a comfortable 6-1 lead.

Tanner Mole gave the fans some pancakes late in the third, as he beat Dalton Dosch in front with five seconds to go.

The Pistons are one win away, but the 20-year-old Mark Wilson knows their job is far from over.

“They say the last one is the hardest to win,” he said. “We gotta go into their barn and play fast and establish a good forecheck, and we should be good from there.”

SPECIAL TEAMS

The Oil Caps fell apart and took 54 PIM in Game 5, giving the Pistons 13 power play opportunities. The Pistons went 2 for 13, while once again not allowing Virden to score on the PP on their 4 man advantages.

UP NEXT: The Turnbull Cup will be in the building for the first time in this series, as the Pistons will look to close out the series. Game 6 will be on Saturday in Virden, with puck drop scheduled for 7:30 pm.