The Steinbach Pistons got back on the winning track on Wednesday night as Brady Tatro scored a pair of goals in a 4-2 win over the Portage Terriers.
The Pistons hoped to get off to a better start after coming off a three-game swing that saw them finish 1-1-1 but it wasn't meant to be early in the first period as Steinbach was burned for the first goal of the game on the first shot they allowed, a breakaway with just over four minutes played.
Steinbach began to find their footing and control play and it resulted in the tying goal.
Tatro found the puck in the neutral zone and walked in, his size and speed backed off the Terriers defender and Tatro used his elite wrist shot to go top shelf for his first of the night and 7th of the season. Curtis Ireland and Troy Williams had the assists.
The always modest Tatro spoke about the goal after the game. "We were down by one, I was skating into the zone and the defender pinched weird. I took the ice in front of me and just took a shot. Got lucky, it went top right. It kind of knuckled up on me."
Steinbach had the edge in shots for that period finishing with an edge of 13-2.
Portage grabbed the lead back in the second period at the midway point to grab a 2-1 advantage.
That lead wouldn't last long.
With Steinbach on a power play, good puck retrieval and puck control got the Terriers running around in their own zone. As the dirty work was being done in the corner, Tatro used his size to work his way to the front of the net. The puck went from down below the goalie line up the wall to the waiting defender who got a hard, low shot away that was perfectly tipped by Tatro to tie the game 2-2.
It was Tatro's second of the night, 8th of the year and was assisted by Williams who again had a multi-point night and Boedey Vaeth who continued his strong play of late after being promoted to the top line and increased role on special teams.
The Pistons used another power play to grab the lead for good and again, Tatro played a pivotal role.
Again, Steinbach used solid puck control and movement to get Portage lost in their own zone. Tatro worked his way to the front of the net again, this time taking two defenders with him. It freed up space for Brendan Martin who took a nice chip pass from Declan Graham and busted his way to the net and with Tatro in front taking away the goalies line of sight, Martin put home a perfect wrister through the traffic and into the back of the net for his 8th of the year.
Even teammate and interview partner Tanner Mole marvelled at what he saw from his close friend Wednesday night. "Brady always looks good but tonight he looked extra special and he brings it every night."
Steinbach pushed in the third but was turned away by some nice saves by the Portage netminder.
But he couldn't stop every shot in the third.
After another hardworking, grind it out shift by the line of Easton Bennett, Jack Kilroy and Brendan Westbrook, they were rewarded with the game-clinching goal when Westbrook found a streaking Bennett (2) who roofed a wrister to put a dagger in the Terriers, 4-2 with less than a minute to go in the game.
Radomksy Rock Solid
While Steinbach was very strong defensively all night long. Matt Radomsky was called upon to make a number of saves and then battle to find the rebounds or deal with deflections off sticks and skates.
The shots on goal were listed as 28-15 Steinbach but after, were updated to the much closer 35-23 for the Pistons.
Tristan Culleton had one of his strongest, complete games of the year. The 19-year-old from St. Louis, MO is in his second year with the Pistons and has quickly established himself as a go-to player on the blue line in all situations.
Culleton spoke after the game about how his game and confidence has grown. "I think I've learned from last year. I've kept it simple and learned my place, keep things simple, don't' do too much and play defensively. That's where I fall."
As a left-handed shooter playing his off side, it's been an adjustment for Culleton but he's got a coach and mentor that has been through that exact same situation many times before. "Paul (Dyck) has worked on it with me. He's done it. He was a lefty playing right side. It's been cool to talk and learn from him. Little things like moving my hips or adjusting to pucks rimmed around the board. It's tough but I like the challenge."
Up Next: Revenge
Many players were upset with their own games after losing in overtime to the OCN Blizzard last Saturday. Tatro hasn't forgotten it and is looking forward to this Saturday for a little retribution. "We went up there and didn't play our greatest. This weekend, they will see a new Steinbach Pistons team."
Saturady - vs OCN Blizzard - puck drop 7:30 pm
Sunday - vs OCN Blizzard - puck drop 7:30 pm