Courtesy of Steinbachonline.com
The Steinbach Pistons had their chances and evened up the game with only two seconds left in the third period, but fell 3-2 in a shootout to the Virden Oil Capitals Tuesday night in Steinbach.
At times, the Pistons dominated play and for stretches had Virden on their heels, but were unable to find the back of the net. Head coach Paul Dyck saw positives despite the loss.
“I felt we had enough opportunities to win the hockey game and our effort was there for the most part,” Dyck said. “Early on it looked like a team that was in second place and wasn’t going anywhere. It’s not the fight and compete we’ve had recently but it’s understandable and they were resilient.”
After a scoreless first period, Virden would score goals early in the second and then again in the third to take a 2-0 lead. The top line of Cole Smith, Dan Taillefer and Quintin Lisoway would combine to cut the lead in half when Smith found goal number 28 at the midway point of the final period. Dyck talked about how Smith has grown as a player and a leader. “Cole’s just been outstanding,” he said. “He’s played with a lot of will and desire lately and playing with a lot of pace. He’s very difficult for defenders to handle.”
Smith would be key in the goal that tied the game, as the Pistons pulled their goalie and went 6 on 5. When it looked like the game was sealed, it was Smith that picked up the puck in the neutral zone, put his head down and barrelled into the offensive zone. Rookie forward Bradley Schoonbaert looked like an old veteran going to the net with his stick on the ice and deflected a perfect pass from Smith to tie the game with just 2 seconds remaining in regulation.
“It’s one of the things he does well, he finds the areas and knows how to score goals.” Dyck said of Schoonbaert. “That little detail is something we preach, going to the net with your stick on the ice. He has a nack for finding the back of the net and that’s why he’s out there in that situation.”
Both teams had 5 shooters go in the shootout and Virden would claim a 2-1 win with Lisoway being the only goal scorer for Steinbach in the breakaway challenge.
Roman Bengert was good again on Tuesday night making 22 saves. The Pistons finished 0-for-2 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill. Steinbach had 41 shots on goal through regulation and overtime.
Steinbach has one more game in the regular season and it comes at home on Friday against the Selkirk Steelers. Dyck says playing that game at home in front of a lot of fans should fuel his players.
“There’s always motivation. We’ve lost two in a row at home and we’re not happy about that, to be frank. We want to finish it off the right way and carry some momentum forward. We want to play well in front of our fans and it’s always a more fun atmosphere when we give the fans something to cheer about.”
Every Pistons game will be on AM1250 Radio and SteinbachOnline.com starting Friday night with the pre-game show at 7:15 PM and puck drop at 7:30 PM. Every playoff game will also be on the radio and streaming online. A schedule of the broadcasts will be available once the playoff schedule is set in the coming weeks.