It can be categorized as the toughest loss of the season so far for Steinbach, as the Portage Terriers scored two late goals with under four minutes to go to stun the Pistons 6-5 Wednesday night at the TG Smith Centre.
The cliché ‘It feels like a playoff game’ rang true tonight, as both teams will not meet again until late in the season. Ethan Peterson got the win even though he stopped 23 of 28 Pistons shots. Matt Radomsky had a brilliant first period, however he takes the loss with 33 saves on the night.
The Pistons quickly jumped out to a 2-0 lead before the four minute mark of the first. First, Boedey Vaeth found Brendan Martin all alone in the slot, and the Thunder Bay native buried his 12thof the season and gave Steinbach a 1-0 lead. Troy Williams had the extra assist. And then Kyle Bettens in his first game of the season jumped on a loose puck in front and roofed it for his first MJHL goal in his 3rd MJHL game. Tanner Mole assisted on the Bettens marker at 3:49.
Although the Pistons had the lead, it felt like Portage had control of the first period. Radomsky made three highlight reel saves to keep the Terriers scoreless. Steinbach extended the lead as a Portage turnover led to Brady Tatro busting in on a breakaway, and he picked the corner and gave the Pistons a 3-0 lead with 2:25 to go in the first.
The Terriers would get on the board as Jared Roy tipped a Joey Moffatt pass past Radomsky with 21 seconds to go.
And then the second period started. An hour long second period.
The Pistons were given 5 straight minor penalties in the middle portion of the period, and the fans continuously voiced their displeasure with the calls. It sparked Portage, as Joey Moffatt scored back to back power play goals 17 seconds apart to tie it up at 3. Ocean Wiesblatt assisted on both Moffatt goals, while Owen Murray had the helper on the first one.
The Pistons killed off an extended power play, and took the lead back on a power play of their own. Boedey Vaeth took a rebound off the pads of Peterson and put the puck in the open cage for his 8thof the season, and a 4-3 lead heading into the second intermission.
Wiesblatt quickly tied it up on a deflection goal 1:27 into the third from Caelan MacPhee and Owen Murray. Steinbach retook the lead 41 seconds later, as Aiden Wagner found Jack Kilroy on a 2-on-1, and Kilroy scored his 3rd goal in three games to give the Pistons a 5-4 lead.
The Terriers controlled play late in the game, and Ocean Wiesblatt once again tied it up for Portage as he snapped a quick one over a sprawling Radomsky with 3:32 to go. 34 seconds later, Logan Calder gave the Terriers their first lead of the game as MacPhee’s shot found a wide open Calder who slid the puck home. The Pistons’ fate was sealed as Brady Tatro took a late penalty that cost his team a chance to tie the game.
The Pistons were 1 for 2 on the power play, while the Terriers were 2 for 7.
UP NEXT: Steinbach will have to reset quickly, as they head out to Dauphin for a date with the Kings on Friday night at 7:30 pm. Catch the game on your radio with Dave Anthony on the call at MIX 96, or watch it live on HockeyTV.