A 3-1 loss to the Winkler Flyers Friday night in Winkler have put the Steinbach Pistons on the brink of elimination from the Manitoba Junior Hockey League playoffs.
Winkler leads the best of seven semi-final series 3-1 and can advance to the MJHL finals with a win Sunday night in Steinbach.
The hometown Flyers, in front of massive crowd, took the lead in the first on a goal by Tristan Keck midway through the period. The Pistons fought hard to tie the game, but three minutes into the third Kurt Sonne beat Roman Bengert to give the Flyers a 2-0 lead, which proved to be insurmountable to the Pistons.
Steinbach did narrow the Winkler lead to 2-1 on a Denis Bosc goal midway through the third but the Flyers sealed it with an empty netter by Nolan McGuire in the final minute.
The Pistons outshot the Flyers 36-30 as Nathan Warren was outstanding in net for the Flyers with 35 saves.
Attendance at the game in Winkler was 2,054, the largest crowd the MJHL has seen in years.
Game time Sunday in Steinbach is 7:30 p.m.
If the Pistons prolong the series, game six will be played Tuesday in Winkler and then a seventh and deciding game Wednesday in Steinbach.
Waiting in the wings are the defending champion Portage Terriers, who eliminated the Winnipeg Blues with a victory 6-2 last night, sweeping the Blues four straight.