Forward Nathan Carl scored the overtime winner 1:37 into the extra session as the Swan Valley Stampeders used a late comeback to beat the Steinbach Pistons 3-2 at the Swan River Centennial Arena.
Carl’s goal didn’t come without some contention as the Pistons argued that goaltender Thomson Phinney’s mask was knocked off just before the puck crossed the line, but after a lengthy discussion, the goal stood as called.
Mikael Foucher picked up the win with 32 saves on the night, while Phinney stopped 21 of 24 shots in the overtime loss.
The Pistons were coming off of a 7-2 win on Friday over the OCN Blizzard and travelled to Swan River this afternoon. Once the puck dropped, both teams got to a slow start as neither side could cleanly connect passes consistently through the neutral zone.
Steinbach would outshoot Swan 6-4 in the opening frame, but it would be the Stampeders that got the game’s first goal. Carter Cockburn tipped a Brendan Saether point shot past the glove of Phinney for a 1-0 lead with 2:33 left in the first.
The road Pistons would rev things up in the second period, putting pressure on the Stampeders with 17 shots on goal. Steinbach would finally break through with just under eight minutes to play in the middle frame, catching the Stampeders on a poor line change. Bryce Young entered the zone and dropped the puck for Kyle Bettens, who found Ty Naaykens streaking down the left wing and the Winnipeg forward one-timed the disc into the back of the net for his 23rd goal on the season.
Steinbach continued to push the play and at one point were outshooting Swan Valley 28-13 in the third period. The Pistons would get a chance to go on a four-minute power play midway through the final frame and would cash in almost immediately, as Ryan Butler deflected a Declan Graham shot past Foucher for a 2-1 Steinbach lead. Carter Loney would pick up the extra apple on Butler’s 24th goal of the season.
The road team would get one more opportunity on the power play late in the third, however it was the Stampeders that found the best chance to score. Trevor Schroeder stripped a rushing Kyle Bettens and went in on a breakaway, but Phinney stoned him to keep the lead for Steinbach.
After killing off a late penalty, Swan would find the equalizer as Daunte Fortner deflected a point shot past Phinney with 53 seconds left in regulation. And then in overtime Tommy Cardinal stormed in and fired a shot that the Pistons goalie stopped, however the rebound popped right out to Carl and he poked the puck home to send the Swan River faithful home happy.
It’s not all bad news for the Pistons as they picked up an important point, giving them a five-point lead over the Portage Terriers for first place in the MJHL standings. Portage does have a game in hand but the Pistons can clinch first place in the standings with a win combined with a Terrier loss.
PISTONS PLAYERS WIN YEARLY AWARDS
Before the game the MJHL announced that Matt Lenz, Carter Loney and Ty Naaykens had all won year-end MJHL awards. Lenz was announced as the Goaltender of the Year, Loney was named as the Rookie of the Year, while Naaykens received the award for Hockey Ability and Sportmanship.
The Pistons organization congratulates all three on their awards! They will be presented to the players during the last home game of the season on February 26th.
Steinbach went 1 for 7 on the power play and killed off all 6 man advantages they faced.
UP NEXT: The Pistons will look to gain a measure of revenge over the Stampeders tomorrow night as the two teams face off again at 6:00 pm. Catch that game live on HockeyTV or live on your radio at MIX 96.7 FM.