Round #2 gets underway Friday night, as the Steinbach Pistons travel to Swan River to take on the Swan Valley Stampeders for a place in the Turnbull Cup final.
These two teams haven’t played each other in a long time, with the last meeting coming on December 16th. Here’s a breakdown of the season series, players to watch, and a preview of both teams.
Steinbach Pistons – 39-17-4 (3rd) – Defeated the Winnipeg Blues 4-2 in first round.
Kyle Bettens (6 GP – 2 G, 6 A = 8 P)
Tanner Mole (6 GP – 3 G, 2 A = 5 P)
Easton Bennett (6 GP – 1 G, 4 A = 5 P)
Matt Radomsky – 6 GP – 3.40 GAA, .908 SV%
Swan Valley Stampeders – 42-13-5 (2nd) – Defeated the Dauphin Kings 4-0 in first round
Quintin Sudom (4 GP – 0 G, 7 A = 7 P)
Kasyn Kruse (4 GP – 5 G, 1 A = 6 P)
Bradly Goethals (4 GP – 3 G, 3 A = 6 P)
2 others with 6 P
Merek Pipes – 4 GP – 3.00 GAA, .913% SV%
SEASON SERIES – Tied 3-3
First Meeting: October 6th – Pistons win 5-2 at TG Smith
Brendan Martin and Brady Tatro each had a goal and two assists as the Pistons beat Swan Valley 5-2. Matt Radomsky made 33 saves in goal for Steinbach, who got back to .500 in the early portion of the season after a slow start. (W) – Radomsky, (L) – Davis
Second Meeting: October 14th – Stampeders win 3-2 in Swan River
Playing their third game in three days, the Pistons came out slow and the Stampeders made them pay with two goals in the first two minutes. Steinbach battled back to tie the game in the second period with goals by Brendan Martin and Tanner Mole, but Matt Osadick scored the winning goal on a 5-on-3 power play in the third to give Swan the win. (W) – Davis, (L) Radomsky
Third Meeting – November 17th – Pistons win 2-1 in a shootout at TG Smith
The two teams went back and forth with great scoring chances, however it only resulted in one goal each; Josh Tripp for Swan and Brady Tatro for Steinbach. Tatro eventually won the game for the Pistons with a third-round goal in the shootout. (W) – Radomsky, (L) Pipes
Fourth Meeting – November 18th – Stampeders win 4-2 at TG Smith
The Stampeders got a measure of revenge a day after the Pistons’ shootout win, as Swan beat Steinbach 4-2. The visitors scored three goals in a span of 3:50 between the second and third periods to win, with Matt Osadick potting the winner with 1:22 left in the middle period. (W) Pipes, (L) Radomsky
Fifth Meeting – December 15th – Stampeders win 3-0 in Swan River
The Pistons outshot Swan Valley 32-26 but the Stampeders scored once in each period, two of those on the man advantage, and blanked Steinbach 3-0. Merek Pipes notched his second shutout of the season. (W) Pipes, (L) Lenz
Sixth Meeting – December 16th – Pistons win 4-3 in Swan River
Steinbach came out flying the next day and jumped out to a 4-0 lead. The Pistons chased Pipes from the goal thanks to two goals by Brady Tatro, and markers from Tanner Mole and David Queree. But Swan didn’t go down without a fight, and cut the lead to one goal with three minutes to go in the game. The Pistons held on to gain a season series split with the Stampeders. (W) Lenz, (L) Pipes
The Pistons won the first three games of their first round series against the Blues before losing the next two games 6-1 and 4-1. But Steinbach battled hard in Game #6, and Jack Kilroy scored the double OT winner to send his team to the second round.
Kyle Bettens led the way for the Pistons with two goals and six assists in a breakout series for him. It was also a good series for Minot native Easton Bennett. Bennett spent the first four games up front, but shifted back to defence for the final two games of the series due to injury problems on the back end for Steinbach and continued his solid play. He notched one goal and four assists during the first round.
Matt Radomsky outdueled Jeremy Link in the first round, and put together his best performance with some critical, game saving stops to help Steinbach secure the series win over Winnipeg. He’ll need to be at his best to stop a Swan offence that put up 23 goals in their four-game sweep over Dauphin.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Troy Beauchemin
Another player that saw a breakout performance for Steinbach was Troy Beauchemin. He played with a physical edge and had big time energy all series long and made arguably the two biggest plays of Game #6. He broke up a cross-ice pass while shorthanded that could have given the Blues a win in the first overtime, and then made the beauty pass on the double OT winner by Kilroy. With three points in six games, look for him to continue his solid play in the second round.
KEY FACTOR: Establish physical play.
One of the keys for Steinbach in the first three wins over the Blues was their physicality. Players like Tyson McConnell, Tanner Mole, Brendan Westbrook, Tristan Culleton, and Troy Beauchemin set the tone during that time by establishing a hard forecheck and throwing big hits in the neutral and defensive zone.
The Pistons shied away from that play a bit in the final three games, so it will be critical to be aggressive and establish a physical tone throughout the series against the offensive weapons of the Stampeders.
The Swan Valley Stampeders were in the top three of the MJHL standings for much of the regular season, finishing in second place at the end. Swan has a dynamic trio of scorers that were all in the top five in MJHL scoring. MJHL MVP Josh Tripp led the way with 84 points during the regular season, Bradly Goethals was behind him with 79 points, and Matt Osadick was 5th in league scoring with 63 points.
Quintin Sudom led all defencemen in the MJHL with 55 points during the regular season, and Dane Hirst had 40 points to place him 7th amongst league d-men.
In goal, the aptly named Merek Pipes was acquired from the La Ronge Ice Wolves of the SJHL early in the season to be the man between the pipes for the Stampeders. The Union Dutchmen Div I commit had a .924 SV% in the regular season with a 2.45 GAA and four shutouts as well.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Kasyn Kruse
Much of the focus for the Swan Valley Stampeders will be on their main offensive threats in Tripp, Goethals, Osadick, and Sudom. But the Luverne, Minnesota native Kruse put up five goals in their series against Dauphin playing predominantly on the third or fourth line. The Pistons can’t overlook Swan’s depth players having a scoring impact on this series, and Kruse is a prime example.
KEY FACTOR: Stay out of the box.
Even though they only played four games, the Stampeders led the way with 28 penalties in the first round against Dauphin. It didn’t effect their offence in that series, but spending frequent time shorthanded prevents players like Tripp and Goethals from getting out on the rush to get some offensive zone time.
The Stampeders will need to stay out of the box to have a chance to win the series.
SPECIAL TEAMS (Through First Round)
Pistons PP 17.4% (5th), PK 87% (2nd)
Stampeders PP 16.7% (6th), PK 75% (6th)
FULL SERIES SCHEDULE
Friday, March 22nd – Pistons @ Stampeders – 7:30 pm
Saturday, March 23rd – Pistons @ Stampeders – 7:30 pm
Wednesday, March 27th – Stampeders @ Pistons – 7:30 pm
Thursday, March 28th – Stampeders @ Pistons – 7:30 pm
Saturday, March 30th – Pistons @ Stampeders – 7:30 pm***
Monday, April 1st – Stampeders @ Pistons – 7:30 pm***
Wednesday, April 3rd – Pistons @ Stampeders – 7:30 pm***