Bradley Schoonbaert and Brady Tatro both had a goal and an assist, Mark Taraschuk notched two helpers, and Tanner Mole scored the eventual game-winning goal as the Steinbach Pistons beat the Winnipeg Blues 5-2 on Saturday night.
Matt Radomsky got the start in net and made 25 saves for his 17th win of the season. Jeremy Link was in the goal for the Blues, and he stopped 30 of 35 shots in the loss. The Pistons have now won eight straight games for the second time this season.
The matchup was touted as two of the hottest teams in the MJHL, and the Pistons once again jumped ahead early when Tatro netted his 15th goal of the season 3:48 in. Easton Bennett picked up the assist on the Tatro goal.
Another matchup to watch was the battle between the top two scorers in the MJHL, Schoonbaert and Dexter Kuczek of the Blues. It was Schoonbaert that got that edge early, when he took a puck from out behind the goal, and forced his way to the front of the net and slid a backhander under Link for the 2-0 lead. Mark Taraschuk and Austin Heidemann picked up helpers on the 31st of the season from the Brandon native with just over 9 minutes remaining in the first.
After Schoonbaert hit the post, the puck was worked around to Darby Gula and his one-time blast beat Link on the PP to make it 3-0. Taraschuk and Schoonbaert picked up assists on Gula’s 14th of the year with 1:55 remaining in the frame.
The Pistons were in cruise control, when a Tatro shot caromed off of Link and onto the stick of Mole. Mole buried the rebound into the back of the net for his 5th of the year, and gave his team a 4-0 lead in the second period.
The Blues pushed back in the period, and seemed to frustrate Steinbach as they took two penalties in a three-minute window. The Blues capitalized on a rare Drew Worrad roughing penalty, as Devon Skoleski finished off a passing play from Kuczek and Levi Cudmore to give the Blues their first goal. It was 4-1 after 40 minutes.
The Blues came out aggressive in the final frame, as Radomsky stood tall early to keep the Blues off of the scoreboard. Then on a Gula hooking minor, Brendan Bartlett fired the puck through a screen past Radomsky to give the Blues life. Skoleski picked up the lone assist on Bartlett’s 9th goal, and it was 4-2 for the Pistons with 14:36 to go.
After that the Pistons charged back, and on a power play of their own, Mark Wilson threw a beautiful pass from the right point that found the tape of Riese Gaber at the left side of the goal. Gaber tapped it in, and the Pistons restored their three-goal advantage. Daniel McKitrick picked up the secondary assist on Gaber’s 21st of the season.
15+ GOAL CLUB
With his 15th of the season, Brady Tatro makes it nine Pistons to have reached 15 or more goals this season. Brendan Martin and Darby Gula are next two that look to reach the mark, as both have 14 goals.
DYCK CLOSES IN ON 250
With the win tonight, Pistons Head Coach Paul Dyck now has 249 career regular season wins as a coach. He now has a career winning percentage of 0.664%.
The Pistons went 2 for 6 on the power play, while the Blues scored both of their goals on the man advantage as they went 2 for 4.
UP NEXT: The Pistons will play 3 home games in 4 nights, starting this Wednesday when the Virden Oil Capitals come to the TG Smith Centre for the third and final time this year. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 pm, you can get your tickets anytime at Steinbachpistons.ca.