Tyson McConnell, Darby Gula, Will Koop, and Bradley Schoonbaert scored for the Pistons, as they were able to beat the OCN Blizzard 4-1 Saturday night at the Gordon Lathlin Memorial Centre.
Matthew Thiessen got the start in goal, and he rebounded back from a tough loss on Tuesday in Winkler with a solid performance making 28 saves. Emilien Boily got the start for OCN, and he stopped 22 of 26 Piston shots in the loss.
The Pistons got the scoring started at the 9:10 mark of the first, as Riese Gaber chipped the puck up the boards to McConnell to start a 2-on-1 rush. McConnell kept the puck and snapped a shot past the blocker of Boily for the 1-0 lead. The Pilot Mound native scored his 16th of the season, which is a career high for him. His previous high was 13 goals last season with Steinbach.
With a minute to go in the first, Tavis Roch took a high-sticking penalty. With 25 seconds left, Brendan Martin was drilled from behind by Riley Bruce well after the puck left his stick. Bruce received a major penalty for cross-checking and a game misconduct. This gave Steinbach a 5-on-3 power play, and Gula fired one home from the left point to give the Pistons a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes. Gaber picked up his second assist on the night on Gula’s 11th of the season.
The Pistons began the second period with 4:25 worth of power play time, and they made no mistake early on. Great passes by Daniel McKitrick and Mark Wilson set up Will Koop for a tap-in goal at the side of the net. Koop netted his 18th of the season at the 1:50 mark of the second, and Steinbach went up 3-0.
The top line struck for the Pistons in the third as Drew Worrad and Austin Heidemann combined to set up Schoonbaert’s tap-in goal that gave them a 4-0 lead. With his 28th of the season, Schoonbaert extends his MJHL leading point total to 65 points on the season. With the game sealed, the question would be could Thiessen make it back-to-back shutouts for the Pistons goaltending tandem. Unfortunately, he could not as Trygve Many Guns scored a late goal from Daylon Campbell and Jesse Roach at the 15:38 mark of the third for OCN.
The Pistons were able to win their 33rd game of the season, bringing their point total up to 68 points.
The Pistons went 2/3 on the powerplay, and killed off all 3 penalties on the night.
The Pistons will send 13 players to the MJHL/SJHL Showcase being held this coming Tuesday and Wednesday in Regina, while Head Coach Paul Dyck and trainer Jeff Eidse will be heading to Regina as well. Matthew Thiessen, Matt Radomsky, Declan Graham, Darby Gula, Jaret Lalli, Mark Wilson, Austin Heidemann, Riese Gaber, Bradley Schoonbaert, Will Koop, Tyson McConnell, Daniel McKitrick, and Drew Worrad will all be playing 2 games this weekend.
UP NEXT: The Pistons will be back in action next Saturday in Neepawa to take on the Natives. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 pm.