Nico Labossiere scored the game-winner with 7:12 left in the second period as the Steinbach Pistons are now one win away from the semifinals with a 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Blues Tuesday night.
Matt Radomsky was steady as a rock in the Pistons goal, stopping 34 shots in the win. Blues goalie Jeremy Link had his best game of the series with 34 saves as well, but it came in a loss.
The Pistons jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period thanks to their two leading scorers during the regular season. Tyson McConnell gave his team the lead on the Pistons’ first power play of the night, as he backhanded a shot through the five hole of Link to make it 1-0. Troy Williams and Curtis Ireland had the assists on the captain’s 2nd goal of the playoffs at 6:24.
Then after Steinbach’s second power play expired, Brendan Martin nabbed his second of the playoffs as he jammed home a loose puck into the Blues goal to make it 2-0 Pistons, with Tanner Mole and Kyle Bettens notching the helpers with 3:01 to go.
The Blues came out swinging in the second period, and cut the lead in half two minutes in as Darren Gisti’s clapper from the blue line hit the back bar inside the goal behind Radomsky.
Winnipeg tied it up with eight minutes to go in the middle frame, as Kelton Sutherland threw a beauty pass across the grain to Sulivan Shortreed. Shortreed almost flubbed the gimme, but the puck hit Radomsky’s skate and trickled in to tie it up at 2.
But the Pistons came back determined to take the lead, and did just that 48 seconds later. Williams entered the zone and fed Martin back at the left point. He threw a shot on goal, and Labossiere directed the puck over the right shoulder of Link to give Steinbach a 3-2 lead.
For the first time all series, the Pistons outshot the Blues through two periods of play. But Winnipeg wasn’t about to go quietly as they began to crash Radomsky’s crease. Every loose puck in front saw three Blues, but Steinbach kept their cool and locked down the front of the net.
The closest call for Winnipeg came midway through the third period, as Griffin Chwaliboga’s point shot beat Radomsky, clanked off of both posts and stayed out.
Tyson McConnell, the best shot blocker in the MJHL, blocked two huge Winnipeg shots in the dying seconds to secure a 3-2 Pistons win.
ONE D-MAN SHORT
Pistons defenceman Tristan Culleton was given a game misconduct for checking from behind in the first period, which meant that Steinbach played the majority of Game #3 with five defenceman.
The Pistons went 1 for 4 on the power play, which moves their total to 4/14 in the series. The Blues went 0 for 4 on their man advantages.
UP NEXT: Steinbach goes for the series sweep on Thursday night at the BellMTS Iceplex, with puck drop slated for 7:00 pm. Catch that game on HockeyTV, or on MIX 96 and Steinbachonline.com with Dave Anthony on the call.