It was an electric atmosphere inside the TG Smith Centre on Friday night as the Steinbach Pistons opened the regular season with a come from behind 4-2 win over the Selkirk Steelers.
After a player introduction show that was the best the Pistons have had to date, the Steelers promptly came out and rained on the parade with two goals in the opening period. Nathan Hillis and Connor Barley found the back of the net to bookend the first period and give Selkirk the advantage heading into the first intermission despite Steinbach leading in shots 14-10.
In the second period, the Pistons got on the board as newcomer Drew Worrad deflected a point shot past netminder Hayden Dola to cut the lead to 2-1. For Worrad, it was his first as a member of the Steinbach Pistons and first in the MJHL. Bradley Schoonbaert and Mark Taraschuck collected the helpers on the power play goal.
In the third, a costly turnover in the Steelers zone resulted in a tie game when Jack Johnson ripped home a wrister from the slot. Johnson’s linemates Danny Pion and Tyson McConnell had the assists. Head coach Paul Dyck praised the line after the game. “We’ve liked that line since we put them together last week. All three guys can contribute and can play (in) both ends of the rink. They really stood out.”
The highlight of the night came when Darby Gula straddled the blueline, protecting a loose puck from the Steelers forwards before slipping through the checks, making a little toe drag move before going for-hand to back-hand and then burying the shot upstairs for what will for sure be a goal of the year candidate. Pion was given the lone assist on the goal.
Bradley Schoonbaert sealed it with a one-timer, seconds later to make it a 4-2 Pistons lead.Worrad and Gula had the assists on what would be the final goal of the game as the horn sounded signaling a Pistons win.
Matt Radomsky played solid in goal making 27 saves. The power play finished 1-4 while the penalty kill was 2-2.
The same two teams meet again on Saturday, this time in Selkirk and Dyck knows his team has to be ready. “Going there for their home opener, we know we have to be ready. Our crowd tonight really helped us and hopefully, they can travel to Selkirk tomorrow. I thought we played well all night just didn’t get rewarded early but we didn’t get frustrated, we stuck with it and that’s what we need to do. Our guys showed a lot of character and that needs to happen (Saturday) on the road.”