Weekend Recap: Pistons Take First Two Games In Series vs Nighthawks

Content Provided By: Steinbach Online


The Steinbach Pistons have won the first two games of their series against the Niverville Nighthawks, winning 5-2 on Friday night and following it up with another 5-2 win on Sunday.

Fuchs, Mullen and Funk Shine

In game one on Friday night, the line of Jamie Fuchs, Kirk Mullen and Brandon Funk combined for 8 points helping Steinbach take the opener 5-2.

Early in the first, both teams took some time to work out the butterflies and find their skating legs. As the period went along, both teams picked up the pace but it was Steinbach that took over in the shots department.

With under five minutes to go, Funk broke into the zone, put a puck to an area for Mullen who whipped it up to Fuchs who did an amazing job kicking the puck up from his feet to his stick while cutting across the goal mouth before sliding it into the open net, putting Steinbach up 1-0.

Shots in the first were 17-5 Steinbach but the game was closer than the shots indicate as the Nighthawks went stride for stride with the top team in the MJHL, refusing to give much time and space.

In the second period, shots evened out a bit as both Steinbach’s Cole Plowman and Niverville’s Raiden Legall were tested time and time again, but both stood tall.

A terrible turnover in the Nighthawks defensive zone with under two minutes to go in the frame led to a 2 on 0 for Steinbach. Fuchs fought the puck over to Mullen who buried his first of the playoffs and put Steinbach ahead 2-0.

Niverville pushed right back and earned a power play which resulted in a goal from Brendan Bottem. After a shot from Debrito went wide, the puck hit off the end boards and came to Bottem who stuffed it home with just 1 second left in the period. Ty Kennett picked up the other assist on the goal.

The 2-1 score gave the Nighthawks some more life heading into the third.

It would be Kennett who would score the equalizer under two minutes into the period off a wicked shot as he and Debrito went in on a two-on-one. Kennett’s first of the playoffs from Debrito and Bottem had things all squared at 2-2.

That score did not last long.

Steinbach answered right back as after Legall made a sparkling save on a Pistons two-on-one, Jack Cook kept the play alive and put a shot through traffic and in to restore Steinbach’s lead, 3-2. Leo Chambers and Grady Hoffman had the assists on the go ahead marker.

Some insurance for Steinbach came after a great shift by Jackson Kostiuk, Bryaden Berg and Brett Kaiser, all three battling in the offensive zone, hemming in the Nighthawks and forcing some tired decisions resulting in a turnover where Hunter Degelman cashed in with a beautiful backhand to put Steinbach up 4-2. Liam Doyle and Kaiser had the assists.

Funk would put the game away with his second point of the night and first playoff goal from Fuchs and Mullen to seal a 5-2 victory.

Plowman notched his first career MJHL playoff win making 18 saves.

Steinbach’s power play was 0-4 while the Nighthawks power play was 1-1.

Hard Work Pays Of Sunday

Steinbach used a strong second period to run away from the Nighthawks in game two, leading to a 2-0 series lead following a 5-2 win at the CRRC.

In the first, the Nighthawks used the crowd to their advantage, carrying the pace of play but Steinbach did a good job to meet them head on and force some issues themselves.

Kirk Mullen picked up his second goal in as many games as the 20-year-old cashed in less than five minutes into the first. Brandon Funk and Jamie Fuchs had the assists on the 1-0 goal.

Ethan Kelly for Niverville squared things up later in the frame as after a faceoff after an icing, the Nighthawks defender drove the net and batted home a loose puck that sent the CRRC roof into space. Caleb Lepitre and Luke McCrady had the helpers.

The party was short lived as just 9 seconds later, Jackson Kostiuk and Brett Kaiser tore off on a two-on-one with Kostiuk flipping a pass over to Kaiser who buried a beauty up under the crossbar for his first ever playoff goal, giving Steinbach a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes.

Cole Plowman was tested a fair amount in the first, making 12 saves in the frame.

In the second, the lead would grow thanks to a shorthanded goal by Sam Noad. After some determined checking of a Niverville defender forced the puck away, Noad slid home his first of the playoffs to put Steinbach up 3-1.

20-year-old Parker Jasper extended the lead further as he filtered a shot through from the point that missed all the bodies in front of the net and made it a 4-1 game.

Just 1:01 after the Jasper goal, it was Kaiser striking again as he whipped a puck in front from the corner, banked it off a Nighthawk defender in front and in for his second of the game. David Cote and Plowman had the assists, giving the 20-year-old goalie his first ever MJHL playoff point.

Niverville managed to get a little closer in the third when Nathan Brown buried in after a scramble in front from Bryce Warkentine and Avery Laliberte, bringing the Nighthawks to within three.

That would be as close as they would get.

Steinbch clamped down and after giving up 13 shots in the first, allowed just 11 over the final two periods.

Steinbach’s power play was better than in game one but still went 0-4 while the penatly kill was strong going 3-3.

Up Next

Game 3 goes Tuesday night at the HyLife Centre. Game 4 is Thursday in Niverville.