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ROAD REPORT – @ Winnipeg December 10

The Pistons continue their busy month of December tonight as they begin a back-to-back tonight at the Rink Training Centre against the Winnipeg Blues.

Steinbach is coming off a weekend that saw them split a pair of games with the Swan Valley Stampeders. Swan Valley scored four power play goals en route to a 5-2 win over the Pistons on Friday, but Saturday saw the Pistons come from behind to win 3-2 in overtime with Kyle Bettens netting the winner 34 seconds in.

Danton Belluk made his first start with the Pistons on Saturday night after being returned from the Regina Pats, and didn’t allow a goal after the first period to pick up the win with a 36 save performance.

Codey Behun tied the game up with 1:15 to go on Saturday night, which gives him a team-high 13 goals on the season. He’s become Mr. Clutch for Steinbach this season as 9 of his 13 goals have come in the third period or overtime.

The Pistons and Blues have met once this season, and that came all the way back on October 15th. Down 1-0 heading into the third period, Steinbach scored four times in a span of 7:36 to beat the Blues 4-2 in Winnipeg.

Dante Giannuzzi made 31 saves during that game and was excellent in goal…. for the Winnipeg Blues. He’s been solid ever since coming to the Pistons, as he has a 4-2 record in seven games with a 3.00 GAA and a .902 SV%. Matt Lenz picked up the win for Steinbach with 18 saves on the night.

The Blues enter tonight’s game four points out of the eighth spot in the standings, and they’ve been trending upwards as of late. Winnipeg has lost its last two games, but before that won eight out of their previous 10 games to get back in the thick of things.

They are led by a quartet of young stars in forwards Mikol Sartor (39 pts), Braden Fischer (31 pts), Rhys Raeside (29 pts), and Mitchell Joss (28 pts). Carson Tiede leads the Blues back end in scoring with 3 goals and 12 points this season.

Cooper Hatfield has been the workhorse for the Blues in goal this season, as he’s posted a solid 10-8-2 record with a .905 SV% and a 3.35 GAA in 21 games this season. He did not play this past Sunday against Swan Valley, so expect him to get the nod in goal tonight against a Pistons team that he hasn’t seen yet this season.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Pistons PP 19.8% (7th), PK 76.6% (T-8th)

Blues PP 13.3% (11th), PK 83.6% (2nd)

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Pistons: Bryce Young

Young has been the hottest player on the Pistons lately as the 20-year-old has put together a six-game point streak, with 3 goals and 6 assists in that span. In 13 games with Steinbach, Young has 4 goals and 15 points and has been playing with Ty Naaykens and Tanner Mole on the Pistons’ top line. He’s dangerous 5-on-5 and on the power play, look for him to continue making an impact.

Blues: Logan Danis

The former Pistons prospect recently made his debut for the Blues last week after spending most of the season with the Winnipeg ICE, and has put up 2 goals and 3 assists in 4 games this season. Danis was included in the huge deal over the summer that brought Codey Behun, Ty Naaykens, and Dylan Cassie to the Pistons, so he will definitely be motivated against Steinbach tonight.

WHERE TO WATCH/LISTEN 

Puck drop for tomorrow night’s game is scheduled for 7:30 pm. Catch the game live on HockeyTV, or listen live at this link: http://winnipegblues.leanplayer.com/.