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Purtill leads Pistons past Natives

Captain Braden Purtill scored twice and added an assist, as the Pistons were victorious in their return to the TG Smith Centre with a 8-2 win over the Neepawa Natives.

Playing their first game back home in almost two weeks, many Pistons had multi point games on the night. Drew Worrad had 3 assists, and Darby Gula, Mark Taraschuk, Austin Heidemann, Bradley Schoonbaert, and Will Koop all had 2 points during the game. Matthew Thiessen got the start in net for Steinbach, and he made 18 saves for his 14th victory in his rookie season. Native netminders Jake McLennan and Ryland Medwick combined to stop 26 of 34 shots in the loss.

Austin Heidemann got the Pistons off to a fast start, notching his 14th of the season on a highlight reel feed from Drew Worrad 1:48 into the first period. Purtill continued his hot play lately by scoring  the scoring 4 minutes into the period. His 18th of the year gave the Pistons the boost they needed to take control of the game. “We started off with his line tonight, and they set the tone,” Head Coach Paul Dyck said after the game. “Purts plays hard in all 3 zones, and he’s prepared every night. He’s been bothered with a couple of injuries lately, but they don’t seem to be slowing him down.”

Will Koop returned to the lineup, and also got his 14th on the power play with just over 13 minutes to play. And Brady Tatro concluded the early barrage with his 7th goal of the season with exactly 11 minutes remaining in the period.

Darby Gula also was back in the lineup after attending the Team Canada West camp in Calgary, and his wrist shot from the point on the power play made it 5-0 for the Pistons halfway through the second period. Mark Taraschuk snapped home his 6th of the season, also on the power play, just 51 seconds later to give the Pistons their 6th goal of the game.

Mackenzie Belinski and Justin Metcalf replied for the Pistons in the third period with their 8th and 16th goals on the campaign. But Schoonbaert and Purtill cancelled those goals out late in the third to send Pistons fans home with free pancakes. For Schoonbaert, his 2 points on the night bring his MJHL leading point total to 52. Purtill notched his 19th goal with his late third period marker.

SPECIAL TEAMS

The Pistons were 3 for 6 on the power play, and killed off all 5 penalties they took on the night.

UP NEXT: The Pistons are back in action tomorrow night on YFC Hockey Card Night, when they take on the OCN Blizzard. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 pm.