Courtesy of Dave Anthony of Steinbachonline.com
Bradley Schoonbaert scored two goals and added an assist in the Steinbach Pistons 8-3 victory over the Selkirk Steelers on Saturday night.
It was the second straight night the two teams locked horns, this time in Selkirk for their home opener. The party was short lived for the Steelers hometown fans as Drew Worrad scored just 28 seconds into the game, showing off some slick stick handling before deking out a helpless Hayden Dola to make it 1-0. It’s Worrad’s second goal in as many games. Schoonbaert and Darby Gula were credited with the assists.
The scoring party continued for the Pistons as Brady Tatro scored his first as a member of the team. “It felt unreal,” a smiling Tatro said after the game. “Very special moment. At first, I didn’t think it went in but got a couple lucky bounces and a goals a goal.” Declan Graham was given the lone assist on the 2-0 marker.
Less than a minute later, Braden Purtill deflected a shot past Dola to make it 3-0. It ended the night for Dola who was pulled after allowing 3 goals on 5 shots. Austin Heidemann picked up the helper along with Gula, giving the defender 4 points in 2 games.
Selkirk battled back to make a game of it as Kyle Schneider and Colby Dudek scored to make it a 3-2 game but a seeing-eye wrist shot from Mark Taraschuk hit off a Steeler player in front of new goalie Landon Poiron and gave Steinbach a two-goal lead heading into the first intermission up 4-2.
In the second, while the Pistons were on the penalty kill, Selkirk’s Poiron came out to play the puck but didn’t make the best play. “I was actually going off for a change,” Schoonbaert said post-game. “I looked and said ‘this guy’s gonna give it right to me, and sure enough, he put it right on my tape.” Schoonbaert’s shorthanded goal was the first of its kind for the Pistons and pushed the lead to 5-2 heading into the final period of regulation.
In the third, it was Schoonbaert again showing off some good hands in the slot before putting a wrist shot top shelf for his second of the night. Worrad capped off a three-point night as he added the lone assist. Jack Johnson scored in his second straight game, an assisted marker to make it a 7-2 lead before the Steelers Eric Lavoie scored to make it 7-3.
Late in the game, during a battle in the corner, Drew Worrad was speared by Selkirk’s Mark Wilson. Worrad stayed down on the ice for several minutes while being attended to by trainer Jeff Eidse. Worrad was able to eventually make his way to the bench under his own power while Wilson was given 4-minute spearing penalty.
Purtill scored his second of the night while on that man advantage to make it 8-3. Heidemann nabbed his second helper on the night while Curtis Ireland also was credited with an assist.
Rookie goalie Matthew Thiessen got the start for the Pistons and picked up his first win in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League making 29 saves on the night. “I thought he really settled in as the game went on,’ said assistant coach Joey Moggach, “he battled hard and looked like a really good goaltender here for the future.”
Moggach also praised his team for not panicking when their lead began to shrink. “I think it’s tough in these games where you get a lead, teams can end up sitting back a bit. These are the games we need to learn how to win. They had a late surge, but we had to make sure we stayed in front. Last night it was good to come from behind, but we also have to learn to close these games out, and we did.”
The power play finished the night 1 for 7, and the penalty kill was 4-4. Steinbach had the edge in shots 39-32.