Courtesy of Steinbachonline.com
The Steinbach Pistons and Portage Terriers went toe-to-toe for 65 minutes of hockey and 7 rounds of the shootout, but when the dust settled it was the Terriers walking away with a 2-1 victory.
A back and forth tilt saw brilliant saves from both goaltenders, hard checks and the edge of your seat kind of play that you’d expect from two of the top teams in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. Head coach Paul Dyck, although not pleased with the final score, was very encouraged by the effort of his club. “There’s nights when you lose the hockey game and you’re not happy but tonight, our guys were pretty solid for 60 minutes, I thought our focus was there and that was one thing we talked about. You just can’t take shifts off against Portage. For the most part we did a really good job defensively as well and Roman (Bengert) was really good between the pipes too.”
Saying Bengert was really good may be an understatement. Bengert faced 44 shots in regulation and overtime and at times was called upon to make a couple huge, 10 bell saves that had the crowd inside the TG Smith Centre standing with appreciation of what they were witnessing. “I feel great, it be much better with a win” Bengert said after the game, “but, at least we got one point out of it.”
The game was scoreless through the first 58 minutes of the contest but in the final two minutes, after Portage broke the deadlock with a goal, it was Jordan Bochinski finding the back of the net after a beautiful, hard and low point shot from Eddie Eades rebounded off the pads of Nathan Park and Bochinski made no mistake burying the tying goal sending the crowd into a frenzy. Matthieu Gomercic would pick up a secondary assist. “That line has been on a roll the last three weeks,” Dyck says about the line of Bochinski, Gomercic and Julien Koga, “They’ve been our most dependable and that’s not to take away from anyone else, but they’ve been playing extremely well. Gomercic is really growing as a hockey player, Bochinski is playing maybe his best hockey as a Piston and Koga keeps his feet moving and is a work horse. These are guys that are friends off the ice and you can really see it gelling on the ice. I can trust them in different situations and it’s nice to look down the bench and know we have options.”
The power play for Steinbach went 0-3 while the penalty kill went a solid 4-4. Steinbach finished the night with 38 shots in regulation and overtime.
After Bochinski tied the game, the two teams went back and forth in overtime but Portage carried the play with good offensive zone time but Bengert stood tall turning away all shots before heading to the 7 round shootout where Portage would emerge victorious.
A three game winning streak has come to an end but 7 points out of 8 in the last four games is encouraging as the Pistons look to gain traction on home ice after 22 days of being away from the comforts of the TG Smith. “It’s great to be back here, we are gone for 10 of the first 13 games,” Dyck responds after being asked if he remembered the last time he stood on the home bench, “it’s just great to come back and play in front of the best fans in the MJHL.”
The Pistons wore special pink jerseys in support of cancer awareness on Wednesday night and then presented their sweaters to fans who bid on them. Proceeds from the event will be going to the Canadian Cancer Society.
The Pistons have a rare Friday and Saturday off before they welcome in the OCN Blizzard on Sunday night. The Blizzard boast the top three scorers in the MJHL, Logan Harland (10 goals, 21 assists), Jeremy Dumont (10 goals, 16 assists) and Devin Muir (8 goals 18 assists). Puck drop is at 7:00pm.