It’s the greatest goaltending performace in the MJHL this season, and the greatest goaltending performance in Pistons franchise history. And it came at a time where Steinbach needed it most.
Matt Radomsky stopped an incredible 57 of 59 shots as the Pistons beat the Swan Valley Stampeders 3-2 on Saturday night and send the semifinal series back to Steinbach on Monday night.
Steinbach travelled into Swan River on Friday night to avoid the bus legs and be better mentally prepared. They certainly were tested in the opening minutes, as Swan Valley came on hard with 16 shots on goal in the first 11 minutes of the game. Radomsky was cool, calm, and collected as he turned away all sixteen and gave his club a momentum boost.
The Pistons struck first for just the second time in this series, as Riley Vautour tipped a Nico Labossiere wrister past Stampeders goalie Merek Pipes for a 1-0 lead with 5:41 left in the first. Troy Williams picked up the extra helper on Vautour’s third of the series and playoffs.
16 seconds later, the Stampeders quickly tied it up as Josh Tripp buried a rebound past Radomsky. But Steinbach would restore their lead on the power play, as Tyson McConnell tipped home a Williams one-timer and give the Pistons a 2-1 lead. Declan Graham had the extra assist on the captain’s fifth of the postseason with 56 seconds left in the first period.
It was much of the same in the second period. After outshooting the Pistons 20-14 in the opening period, Swan put 21 shots on goal in the second period. But Radomsky turned them all away, including a couple of goal line saves, and Steinbach was able to get their biggest lead in the series with less than a minute to play in the second.
A Stampeder defenceman turned the puck over in their own zone. Vautour went in on a 3-on-1 rush, kept the puck, and rifled the puck off the inside of the bar and in the net for his second of the night and an important 3-1 Steinbach lead.
Radomsky continued to dazzle in the final period, and robbed Swan forward Alexander Uryga with an amazing, diving save that was inches away from going over the red line and kept it a 3-1 Pistons lead. Steinbach also killed off an important 5-on-3 chance at the beginning of the third to help keep their lead.
Tripp would pull the Stampeders to within one, as he beat the Holy Cross commit with a short-side shot for his second of the game with 10:10 left in the third period.
But the Pistons defence and Radomsky held strong. As the shots and defensive zone faceoffs continued to pile up, Steinbach only got better as they avoided elimination and are now coming back to the TG Smith Centre on Monday night now down 3-2 in the semifinals.
The Pistons went 1 for 2 on the power play, and killed off all five Swan man advantage chances.
UP NEXT: The Whiteout is returning! We need our Pistons fans more than ever, as we’ve got a Game #6 Monday night at 7:30 pm! Get your tickets right now by heading online to Steinbachpistons.ca/tickets. Make sure to wear white, and let’s pack the TG Smith Centre with the and loudest fans in the MJHL!