With the 2018-19 season completed, it’s time to look back at the year that was with our picks for the Top 10 Pistons on-ice moments from this past season.
Honourable Mentions (The moments that just missed getting on our list)
Pistons pull off three games in three days sweep (Jan 18-20)
Steinbach had two instances during the regular season where they would have to endure a three games in three days trip. During the first trip, they took three of a possible six points. But the second trip, it came together for the Pistons as they defeated OCN 4-2, and then beat the Wayway Wolverines 4-1 on Saturday and 2-0 on Sunday for the rare three-day sweep.
Call-up Loney’s Two Goals in 17 Seconds vs Wolverines
Carter Loney was called up for ten games during the regular season from the RHA Nationals Midget Prep team, and made quite the impression back on January 25th. Steinbach was down 4-0 to Waywayseecappo, but the 16-year-old sent the TG Smith Centre crowd into a frenzy as he scored a Pistons record two goals in seventeen seconds.
Although Steinbach couldn’t get another goal, Loney showed that the future of the Pistons looks bright for years to come.
#10 – First ever Steinbach Pistons Alumni Classic (March 2nd)
During the 10th anniversary season of the Pistons, it was fitting to bring back some former Pistons to the TG Smith Centre for the first ever Steinbach Pistons Alumni Classic.
There were players from the first ever Pistons team back in 2009-10, and even some guys from the 2017-18 championship team playing. For all who have been involved with the Pistons organization over the years, it was good to catch up with former players, billets, and the volunteers as well. The game was a huge success, and the players are already looking forward to next year’s Pistons Alumni Classic.
#9 – Pistons Raise Turnbull and ANAVET Cup Banners during Home Opener (September 21st)
It was a day of celebration to kick off the 2018-19 regular season, as the Steinbach Pistons unveilled their Turnbull and ANAVET Cup banners that will hang inside their rink forever.
For the 10 players on the 2018-19 Pistons that were on the championship team the year previous, it was a surreal night to celebrate all of their hard work and to get the chance to do it all again and repeat as MJHL Champions during the 2018-19 season.
#8 – Troy Williams Plays 250th Junior A Game (January 19th)
Defenceman Troy Williams hit a big milestone on Saturday, January 19 in Waywayseecappo, as he played in his 250th career Junior A game.
The fifth year defenceman put together his best season in junior hockey with eight goals and thirty-six assists in 54 games, and was named the Pistons Playoff MVP with one goal and nine assists during the postseason.
But it was on that night where each of the Pistons players, support staff, and the coaches congratulated Williams after the game, a 4-1 Steinbach victory, on his outstanding achievement. He also received the game puck to commemorate the night, a game in which he had an assist as well.
#7 – Pistons Beat Steelers with ANAVET Cup Champs in building (December 22nd)
It was a special night for the Steinbach Pistons on December 22nd, the final game before the Christmas break. The organization welcomed back several members of the ANAVET Cup championship team, as team captain Braden Purtill dropped the puck before the game to get things going.
Tanner Mole had a goal and two assists, and Troy Williams had three helpers as the Pistons dominated Selkirk both on the ice and on the shot clock. But the Steelers clawed back in the third period to tie it up at 3.
On the 50th shot of the game for Steinbach, Brendan Westbrook powered a one-timer in the slot past Steelers goalie Zach Bennett with 1:23 to go and gave Steinbach a 4-3 lead and eventual win.
#6 – Pistons defeat OCN on Ring Night (October 20th)
October 20th was Ring Night at the TG Smith Centre, where the Pistons took on the OCN Blizzard that night. The home side won 6-0, with Matt Radomsky picking up his first of six shutouts of the season. Boedey Vaeth scored twice while rookie forward David Queree notched his first career MJHL goal in the win.
After the game, the members from last year’s team each received their championship ring for them to keep forever. Engraved on each ring is the player’s name, position, and each series it took to get to the National Junior A Championship. It was a special experience that those players won’t forget any time soon.
#5 – Comeback Kids – Pistons Comeback Four Times in 11 Days (February 1-12)
In the final month of the season, Steinbach put together with a season-best seven game win streak. This included four come-from-behind wins, three at home and one on the road, in a span of a couple of weeks.
It started with a 5-4 shootout victory over the Dauphin Kings on February 1st, as Troy Williams scored with just under two minutes to go in the third period to tie it up and Tanner Mole buried the winner in the 5th round after a fast-paced overtime.
A week later, the Pistons were down two against the Virden Oil Caps in one of the games of the year at the TG Smith. They quickly tied it in the third period with goals by Williams and Brendan Martin. After a controversial goal went the way of the Oil Caps, Steinbach didn’t let it get them down as Jack Kilroy tipped in the equalizer with just over five minutes remaining. And then Martin sent the fans home happy as he netted the OT winner for a 4-3 Steinbach OT comeback victory.
A day later, Steinbach would face a 2-1 deficit in Neepawa. Nico Labossiere tied it up with under seven minutes to play, but the Pistons would face a barrage from a desperate Natives team. Matt Lenz withstood the test the rest of the third period and overtime. Kyle Bettens notched the only goal in the shootout as Steinbach walked away with two consecutive comeback wins.
It would happen again for the third straight game on February 12th against the Steelers, as Troy Williams tied the game up with a point shot with 21 seconds to play. Tanner Mole buried the OT winner to give Steinbach its third straight comeback victory, and fourth in eleven days.
#4 – Matt Radomsky Represents Pistons at World Junior A Challenge
It was a banner season for goalie Matt Radomsky, but it got better when he cracked the roster for Team Canada West at the 2018 World Junior A Challenge in December. Manitoba knew how good he was, but it was time for all of Canada to see how good he was. In four games, Rads put up a 1.64 GAA and a .951 SV% during the tournament.
And in front of a national audience for the bronze medal game, the Pistons goalie stood on his head with 46 saves in a Player of the Game performance as he led Canada West to a 3-1 win over the Czech Republic. That game put him on the map all across North America, made him a hot commodity amongst NCAA Division I schools, and ultimately led him to choosing Holy Cross in the process.
#3 – Family Day with the Pistons – Steinbach Comes Back To Beat Rival Flyers (February 18th)
With Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck in the building to announce the starting lineups to the team, drop the ceremonial puck before the game, and meet with some minor hockey goalies, the Pistons hosted the Winkler Flyers on a Monday afternoon in front of the biggest crowd at the TG Smith Centre this season on Louis Riel Day. It didn’t start all jovial, as the Flyers got on the board first just seconds into the game to silence the home fans.
Winkler made it 2-0 halfway through the third period, but the Pistons pushed on the gas and caught a break. Caydin Cleland scored his first MJHL goal as his shot hit a Flyer defenceman’s skate and in from a weird angle to make it 2-1. Declan Graham brought the crowd to its feet as his wrister on the power play beat the Flyers goalie to tie it up with 2:10 to go.
And then in an overtime where Winkler controlled the puck for much of the session, the Pistons broke in on a 2-on-1 and Easton Bennett buried the winner with 17 seconds left to send Steinbach fans into a frenzy. The Pistons won 3-2 in a truly exciting finish.
#2 – Matt Radomsky’s Record 57 Save Performance (Round 2, Game 5)
The Pistons went back to Swan River for Game #5 with their backs against the wall. They were down 3-1 in the series and travelled into Swan the night before instead of the usual day trip to be better physically and mentally prepared.
It seemed to work, as the Pistons defeated the Stampeders 3-2 in regulation to send the series back to Steinbach for a Game #6. But what will be most remembered from that game was the incredible 57 saves made by Matt Radomsky.
He was everywhere in the crease; making goal line and diving saves, and set a Pistons playoff record in the process. The previous playoff franchise high was 49 saves by Corey Koop in 2013, and that came in a double overtime game. His outing that night in Swan River will be talked about for a long time to come and gave Steinbach some life heading back to the TG Smith.
#1 – Round 1, Game #6 – Kilroy’s Double OT Winner Sends Steinbach to Semis
The first round series between the Pistons and the Winnipeg Blues was expected to be a tight series, with the third seeded Pistons struggling towards the end of the regular season and the sixth seeded Blues coming in as the hottest team in the MJHL.
Steinbach didn’t follow the series script, as they won the first three games of the series to push Winnipeg to the brink. However, the Blues didn’t go away, as they scored convincing wins in Games #4 and #5 to push the series back to the Iceplex for a sixth game.
Game #6 was the closest game of the series, as each team exchanged a goal in all three periods to send the contest into extra time. The Pistons killed off a huge penalty in the first overtime, and the game went into a second session.
Halfway into double overtime, Troy Beauchemin beat his man to the puck behind the net, and threw a centering pass for Jack Kilroy. The Denver, CO native went top shelf and sent the Pistons fans bezerk inside the Iceplex.
Kilroy scored the third series winning overtime goal in Pistons history, with Cole Smith (2016 first round, Game #4 vs Swan) and Mark Taraschuk (2018 first round, Game #4 vs Swan) getting the other two. But more importantly, it kept Steinbach’s first round streak alive with seven straight opening round series win, and sent them onto the second round versus the Stampeders.