Brendan Martin scored a goal and added an assist while Matt Radomsky made 34 saves to grab a 3-0 series lead over the Winnipeg Blues with a 3-2 win on Tuesday at the TG Smith Centre.
Both teams came out strong and had a couple of chances in the opening minutes of the first period.
After the Blues goalie took a minor penalty for delay of game, the Pistons were able to get on the board with the all important first goal.
The Pistons controlled the play in the zone and were able to set up with Curtist Ireland feeding a pass over to Troy Williams who walked in and fired a wrister towards the goal. Tyson McConnell fought through his check and cashed in for his second of the playoffs, giving the Pistons a 1-0 lead.
Steinbach then took a pair of penalty's and were put down a defencemen after a questionable checking from behind call forced Tristan Culleton from the game.
The 5 on 3 for the Blues had excellent puck control but the killers led by McConnell, Williams, Doug Johnson and goalie Matt Radomsky held firm and were able to kil off both penalty's.
After an up and down game number 2, veteran forward Brendan Martin came into game three with a look in his eye and a style of game that would not be denied.
The 20-year-old was taking hits to make plays, using his speed and hands to create offence and his high hockey IQ to be a strong defender.
He was able to get on the board for a second consecutive game as just a penalty expired, Kyle Bettens forced a turnover in the slot and directed the puck towards the goal. Tanne Mole picked up the puck around the Winnipeg net and fired a pass out in front that deflected off a Blues defender and right to Martin who fought loose and notched his second of the post-season.
The first period came to an end with Steinbach holding on to a 2-0 lead.
Bending Not Breaking
Winnipeg was able to claw back in less than two minutes into the second period as they scored off a rocket from the point that went off the post and the back bar and out to make it a 2-1 game.
The Blues got back onto even ground when they stole the puck in the offensive zone and a perfect reverse pass found a forward standing all alone on the side of the net and he was able to find a way past Radomsky to tie the game 2-2.
Winnipeg controlled the second period for the most leading to game beind tied up.
Then, the Pistons big guns came back out to lead their team.
Williams picked up the puck in the neutral zone and drove hard into the Blues end, forcing the defender back. Williams knocked it back to a waiting Martin who held on just a second so that Nico Labossiere could make his way to the front of the net and deflect the Martin shot/pass in for his second goal of the playoffs, restoring Steinbach's lead 3-2.
The Pistons came close to expanding the lead later in the period as Brendan Westrook and Boedey Vaeth broke in on a 2 on 0 but couldn't convert and the period ended with the Pistons up 3-2.
Welcome To The Radomsky Show
Down a goal and in a 2-0 series hole, the Blues let loose and did everything they could to get back to even but ran into one problem.
That problem was Matt Radomsky.
Radomsky was stellar making several big saves through traffic and had terrific rebound control. Radomsky also bailed out his defenders a couple of times as Winnipeg forced turnovers down below the goalline but everything directed at the net was swallowed up by the 19-year-old.
Winnipeg held the edge in shots in the period 16-9 but couldn't score.
"It's Why He's The Captain"
With the clock running down and the Blues pulling the goalie giving them a 6 on 5 advantage, the Pistons were in scramble mode trying to clear the puck out of their zone.
Winnipeg was able to keep in a last ditch clearing attempet and a defender walked right in and took a hard shot that was fearlessly blocked by Tyson McConnell.
McConnell took the puck right in the mid-section which brought him to his knees. The Blues, trying to dig the puck out, stuck McConnell and as the time expired, it sparked a full on brawl in the Pistons zone as Williams, Tanner Mole, Doug Johnson and Easton Bennett all stood up for their teammate.
A Pistons player remarked after the game about the McConnell block, "it just jacks you up. You see what he does, putting his body on the line when few people in their right mind would willingly do it, and you wanna do good for that guy. That's why he's the Captain."
Both teams exchanged words as the Blues went off and the Pistons swarmed over Radomsky as they sealed up a 3-2 win to grab a 3-0 series lead.
Power play: 1-4
Penalty kill: 4-4
Shots: 37-36 Steinbach
1- Brendan Martin - 1 goal, 1 assist
2 - Troy Williams - 2 assists
3 - Jermey Link (WPG) - 34 saves
Game 4 on Thursaday night at Bell MTS Iceplex. Pre-game show on MIX 96 and SteinbachOnline.com starting at 6:45 pm and puck drop at 7:00 pm.