Mark Taraschuk stripped a Swan defender, and scored on the ensuing breakaway 8:15 into the second overtime, as the Steinbach Pistons came from behind to beat the Swan Valley Stampders 6-5.
With the win, the Pistons sweep the Stampeders in the first round to become the first team to advance to the MJHL semifinals.
Taraschuk had a huge night offensively once again for the Pistons, scoring the game winner in OT and dishing out three assists including two crucial ones in the third period. Matt Radomsky stopped 39 of 44 Swan shots, while counterpart Ethan Peterson made 49 saves in the loss.
The Pistons got on the board first in the opening frame by scoring two goals in 19 seconds. The first went to Bradley Schoonbaert, as he potted a rebound in front to give Steinbach a 1-0 lead. Drew Worrad and Taraschuk picked up assists on Schoonbaert’s 2nd of the playoffs at 4:53 of the first. Then a Swan turnover led to Will Koop feeding Riese Gaber all alone in the slot, and Gaber moved in and snapped a shot under the glove of Peterson for a 2-0 lead at 5:11.
Swan scored their second goal of the series with 6:44 left in the first, as Matt Osadick beat Radomsky for his first of the playoffs from Josh Tripp and Daniel Chartrand. The Pistons quickly got that goal back on the PP when Darby Gula and Drew Worrad combined to set up Austin Heidemann in front, and rifled it past Peterson for a 3-1 lead with just over 3 minutes to go.
The second period was all Swan Valley, as they stunned the Pistons with four goals in the second to take a 5-3 lead after 40 minutes. Dane Hirst scored 3:04 into the period, as Radomsky fell in the crease which allowed Hirst to shoot the puck into an open cage. Tripp and Chartrand added assists on the goal. Hirst tied it up for the Stamps, as he beat Radomsky from the left face-off dot. Osadick and Chartrand notched assists at 8:30 of the second period. 22 seconds later, Chartrand came in on a rush and threw a shot past the blocker of Radomsky for the lead with Tripp and Osadick picking up assists.
The Pistons got a huge opportunity to tie it up, when Swan took 2 straight penalties late in the second frame. But the Pistons could not cash in, and Josh Tripp split 2 Pistons to go on a breakaway and snapped the puck past Radomsky for the 5-3 lead with 24 seconds left. Tripp and Daniel Chartrand both had 4 points on the night, with linemate Matt Osadick tallying 3 points as well.
The Pistons needed two goals to tie it in the third, and got off on the right foot as Daniel McKitrick blasted a slap-shot from the left side past Peterson to bring Steinbach within one. Will Koop and Taraschuk picked up the assists on McKitrick’s 2nd of the playoffs. Then with 2:11 to go, Taraschuk, who was all over the ice tonight for Steinbach, got the puck at the left point. He threw it towards a growing crowd in front, and Jack Johnson got his stick on it and deflected it home to tie it up. The goal is Johnson’s 1st of the playoffs from Taraschuk and Braden Purtill.
Swan would get the majority of chances late in the third and overtime, but Radomsky stood on his head and kept the series from coming back to the TG Smith Centre. That allowed Taraschuk to grab the puck in the Pistons zone, blow by two Swan defenders, and snipe one past Peterson on the 55th shot of the game.
The Pistons PP broke out at the right time tonight, going 2 for 4 on the game. Swan went 0 for 5 on their man advantages.
TARASCHUK ON FIRE
With 4 points tonight, Mark Taraschuk now has 7 points in his last 2 games (2 G, 5 A). He now has 8 total points in the playoffs, which is a league-high.
UP NEXT: The Pistons await their second round opponent, as Head Coach Paul Dyck noted that their next series looks like it will begin next week. Stay tuned to Steinbachpistons.ca, as well as all Pistons social media pages for updates on the second round schedule.