Two solid periods proved to be enough for the Steinbach Pistons, as they defeated the OCN Blizzard 4-2 in their final visit to the Gordon Lathlin Memorial Centre this season on Friday night.
Matt Radomsky made his first start for Steinbach in two weeks, and was a brick wall once again by making 27 saves. Dorian Laganiere stopped 26 of 30 Pistons shots in the loss.
On their second ‘three games in three days’ road trip of the season, the Pistons got off to a fast start by taking a 2-0 lead in the first fifteen minutes of the game. Five minutes into the first, the dormant road Pistons power play rose to the occasion as Declan Graham threw a puck on net and was tipped in by Tanner Mole to make it 1-0 Pistons. Tyson McConnell picked up the bonus assist on Mole’s 17thof the season.
With just over seven minutes to go, Nico Labossiere fed a cross-ice pass onto the tape of Boedey Vaeth. The Lorette native’s quick release was lethal as it beat Laganiere over the shoulder to give Steinbach a 2-0 lead. Brendan Martin picked up his first of two helpers on the night on Vaeth’s 15thgoal on the campaign.
The second period got away from the Pistons, as OCN put on the pressure in the middle frame. Evan Herman fired one past Radomsky shortside on the power play with just over two minutes gone in the second period to pull the Blizzard within one.
Then after a couple amazing stops by the Holy Cross commit Radomsky, including one where he dove back to rob a Blizzard forward, Carson Pawlenchuk’s wrist shot two steps inside the blue line found its way to the back of the net with 1:55 to go to tie it up at 2’s.
Steinbach was outshot 24-19 through two periods, and started putting pucks to the net to get something going. It paid off, as Tristan Culleton threw a one hand pass that found the stick of Caleb Paisley in front. Paisley beat Laganiere for his first goal as a Piston in his first game back to give the Pistons a 3-2 lead with over three minutes gone in the third period. Culleton and Riley Vautour picked up the assists on Paisley’s 5thof the season, and the marker also gave Vautour his first point as a Piston in the process.
And then the power play sealed the deal for Steinbach with under thirteen minutes to go. Troy Williams threw a shot on goal, and the puck found its way through a ton of traffic to go in and restored the Pistons’ two goal lead at 4-2. Vaeth and Martin each picked up their second points of the night, as they scored the assists on Williams’ 7thgoal of the season.
Radomsky and the Pistons’ solid defence locked down the Blizzard push towards the end of the third, including killing off a 5-on-3 man advantage, to skate away with a 4-2 win.
A big point of emphasis coming into the road trip was the much maligned Pistons power play away from the TG Smith Centre. The players answered the call, as Steinbach went 2 for 4 on the power play and killed off five of six penalties they faced.
UP NEXT: Steinbach travels to Waywayseecappo tomorrow afternoon to take on the Wolverines at 7:00 pm for game two of the weekend. Catch the game live on HockeyTV, or listen to MIX 96 and Steinbachonline.com with Dave Anthony, with the pre-game show beginning at 6:45 pm.