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Pistons Survive Slow Start in Comeback Win over Swan

Article Courtesy of Steinbachonline.com – Picture Courtesy of Dave Mikkola

The Steinbach Pistons arrived fashionably late to their date with the Swan Valley Stampeders on Friday night, spotting the visitors a 2-0 lead but exploded for six straight goals, five in the final period, to pick up a 6-2 win, marking the 5th straight contest with a victory.

It was a lackluster opening period for the Pistons as they didn’t garner much in the way of chances, despite having the majority of puck control. Swan notched the first marker of the game less than three minutes into the contest and carried that lead into the first intermission.

Things didn’t improve much for the Pistons in the middle period, as the Stampeders capitalized again on a good transition rush and made it 2-0.

It could have been worse if not for an outstanding save from starting goalie Matt Radomsky. With Steinbach caught running around in their own zone, Noah Basarab of Swan Valley slipped his check and headed for the slot. He was hit with a perfect pass, but the Winnipeg native Radomsky read the play, slid over and slammed the door on the one-timer. 

It was the energy boost the Pistons needed.

Will Koop cut the lead in half with less than a minute remaining in the period as Stampeders netminder Brett Evans went out to play the puck but didn’t anticipate the presence of Mack Graham. Graham was able to fish the puck away and slide it to Koop who beat Evans to make it 2-1. The Pistons would head off for intermission with momentum on their side.

In the third period, the Pistons flat out took over. 

The power play of Steinbach was stagnant in their first game of the new calendar year, but it clicked early in the third courtesy of a tip in from Bradley Schoonbaert. Darby Gula and Will Koop picked up assists on Schoonbaert’s 19th of the season. Seconds later, it was 19 year-old forward Braden Purtill getting the Pistons their first lead of the game knocking home a loose puck as Jordan Bochinski and Vaughn Dupre grabbed the helpers.

Steinbach was just getting started.

Still, in the first half of the period, Koop snapped off a perfect wrist shot that went low blocker on Evans, off the post and in. Koop grabbed goals 10 and 11 on the night and talked about continuing to work on his shot. “I try to at the end of practice, take 10 or 15 minutes just to shoot around. Just work with some guys to get my accuracy up.”

As nice as the Koop wrist shot was, the goal of the game belongs to Purtill. On another power play, the Pistons did an excellent job of keeping the puck in the offensive zone and keeping the pressure on the Stampeders penalty killers. For Purtill, he set up shop in front of the net and would not move.

At all. Even a little bit.

Purtill tracked the puck going from teammate to teammate until a point shot from Joseph Leonidas made it’s way through. The Stamps goalie made the original save, but all the hard work Purtill put into not moving from the front of the net paid off as he rifled home his second of the game. For Purtill, he collected goals 4 and 5 and now has 13 points in 14 games. Bochinski added an assist for his second point of the night.

Tyson McConnell added a little more insurance with his second goal in as many games notching his seventh of the season with assists going to Julien Koga and Landon Plett. 

The horn sounded, and the Pistons increased their lead atop the MJHL standings with win 30 on the season (30-5-1).

Steinbach outshot Swan Valley 34-14 over the second and third periods. 14-4 in the final frame alone. The power play finished 2-5 and the penalty kill was a perfect 1-1.

Matt Radomsky was not overly busy in the back half of the game but made sure he gave his team a chance to win, posting 18 saves for his 9th win of the season.

Steinbach continues their 4 game home stand as they welcome in the Winkler Flyers on Saturday night. Winkler is 3rd in the MJHL with 52 points (2 points behind the Selkirk Steelers with 2 games in hand).

It’s only the second time the Flyers and Pistons have met this season. The Pistons won the game 6-1 but it was Roman Bengert that stole the show with 24 saves in the first period alone on his way to arguably his best game of the season, making a total of 44 saves.

Game time Saturday night is 7:30 pm. The game is available online, https://www.steinbachonline.com/pistons-schedule with pre-game getting under way at 7:20 pm.