Max Neill scored twice on the power play, including the game-winning goal late in the first period, as the Steinbach Pistons got over the early bus legs and defeated the Dauphin Kings 4-1 Friday night at Credit Union Place.
Thomson Phinney got the start and he was solid in the Steinbach goal with an 18 save win. Kings goalie Matthias Smith stopped 20 of 24 shots in the loss.
The Pistons ventured out on the road for the first time in two weeks after coming off of a five-game homestand that saw the team garner 9 of a possible 10 points. But Steinbach would start tonight’s contest slowly, taking two minor penalties in the first ten minutes of the game.
The penalty kill units came to play early, not allowing many chances for Dauphin on their early man advantages. Steinbach would register their first shot on goal with 8:13 left in period 1, and then Neill went to work on the power play.
The Portage product would tip a Declan Graham point shot past Smith for his 11th of the season with 4:14 left to give the Pistons a 1-0 lead. Then shortly after on another man advantage opportunity, the 19-year-old forward would jam a rebound home off of a Ty Naaykens shot to give Steinbach a 2-0 edge with 2:24 to go. Kyle Bettens would nab the extra assist on Neill’s 12th on the campaign.
The second period belonged to Phinney as the Halifax native turned away many quality chances by the Kings in the middle of the frame. Steinbach would come close to gaining a three-goal lead, but Rylan Bettens would put a rebound of the bottom of the right post with five seconds left in the period.
Tanner Mole would end up giving the Pistons that three-goal lead just 33 seconds into the third period. The assistant captain pounced on a rebound in the slot and beat Smith five-hole, with Caydin Cleland getting the lone assist on Mole’s 12th of the year.
Dauphin forward Baron Thompson would get the Kings on the board 32 seconds after the Mole goal as he beat Phinney bardown after a Steinbach breakdown. But the Pistons didn’t give the home team any breathing room after their lone goal and would quickly restore the three-goal cushion five minutes later.
Curtis Ireland fed Carter Loney from the right point, and Loney found the tape of a waiting Zach Purcell. The MJHL’s hottest goal scorer took the feed and almost fanned on the puck, but the disc would roll into the open net. Purcell’s ten-game point streak continues as a result of his 26th goal of the season, giving the Aurora, Colorado native his 14th goal in his past 10 games.
Phinney and the Pistons defence would shut the door the rest of the game and would skate away with the two points and a 4-1 win.
Goalie Matt Lenz did not make the trip to Dauphin as he is currently dealing with an illness.
The special teams play for Steinbach continues to trend in the right direction as the regular season winds down. The Pistons went 2 for 3 on the power play and killed off all three Dauphin man advantages.
UP NEXT: These two teams will be back at it tomorrow night at Credit Union Place, with puck drop scheduled for 7:30 pm. Catch the game live on HockeyTV or on the radio at MIX 96.7 FM with Dave Anthony on the call.