The undermanned Steinbach Pistons couldn’t finish the job against the first place team in the MJHL, as the Portage Terriers scored two goals in the final five minutes and the OT winner in the dying seconds to beat the Pistons 4-3 Wednesday night.
Matt Lenz had a valiant performance in the Pistons goal with 48 saves in the game, as the Terriers outshot the Pistons 52-20. Ethan Peterson made 17 saves in the win.
Steinbach came into the game dressing only 10 forwards and 7 defenceman due to various injuries from the regulars in the lineup. However, they took a 1-0 lead at the 7:09 mark as Tanner Mole found Troy Beauchemin at the side of the net for a tap-in. Boedey Vaeth picked up the bonus assist on Beauchemin’s third goal of the season.
Portage responded 59 seconds later on the power play as Sam Huston let go a heavy wrist shot that beat Lenz from the left point to tie things up at 1.
Beauchemin got his second of the night to put Steinbach back up by a goal, as he one-handed the puck through the five-hole of Peterson in front with 2:32 to go in the opening frame. The returning David Queree and Max Neill picked up the assists on the Ile Des Chenes native’s fourth goal on the campaign.
The Pistons went up by two midway through the second period on their first shot, as Boedey Vaeth ripped a wrist shot from the slot into the back of the net for a 3-1 lead. Caydin Cleland picked up the assist on the power play marker by Vaeth, which is his 17th of the season and his first goal in ten games.
Although Steinbach was being heavily outshot by Portage, they didn’t give up very many quality scoring chances through fifty-five minutes of the game. Steinbach was in a similar spot in their last meeting, as Portage scored twice in the final few minutes to win it in regulation back in November at the TG Smith Centre.
The same scenario happened again, as Chase Brakel ripped a shot past the blocker of Lenz with 4:48 remaining in the third to make it 3-2. Then with the goalie pulled for the extra attacker with under two minutes to play, Ocean Wiesblatt pounced on a rebound in front of the net and buried home the equalizing goal to knot things up at three.
Steinbach nursed the game in overtime, where they got a glorious chance to win the game. Heading down on a 2-on-1 rush, Kyle Bettens found Tyson McConnell and the captain’s shot was turned away by the left pad of Peterson.
In the closing seconds, Portage regrouped off of an offensive zone faceoff and Owen Murray fed Wiesblatt and drove hard to the net. With Murray providing the screen, Wiesblatt scored with eight seconds left as the Terriers picked up the win over the Pistons.
Pistons defenceman Declan Graham did not come out onto the ice at the start of the second period due to an upper body injury. He did not return to the game.
LOSING SKID REACHES THREE
Steinbach now has a three-game losing streak, something that hasn’t happened all season long. The longest win streak for the Pistons this year was seven games from January 26th to February 12th.
The Pistons went 1 for 2 on the power play, while Portage went 1 for 3 on their man advantages.
UP NEXT: It’s Game 60 of 60 on Saturday night, as Steinbach hosts the Selkirk Steelers in the final game before the playoffs begin. The puck drops at 7:30 pm as the Pistons honour some of their alumni during the game. Catch it live on MIX 96 and Steinbachonline.com with Dave Anthony, or watch it live on HockeyTV.