It wasn't the prettiest win the Steinbach Pistons have had all season, but it was a big two points in the bank as they defeated the Winkler Flyers 4-2 on Tuesday night in Winkler.
For the Pistons, there was a hint of revenge in the air as they wanted to make a statement after having their eight game winning streak snapped by the very same Flyers last Tuesday and it showed. Steinbach roared out of the gate with three goals in the opening period.
Getting the scoring started was Danny Pion who snapped his fourth of the season over the shoulder of the Winkler goalie, off a very nifty drop pass from Wyatt Hinson. For Pion, he now has four goals in two games. Ryan Carlson, who's been a solid contributor night in and night out, added the secondary assist.
Less then a minute later, after Winkler took a penalty, it was a perfect cross ice pass from Bradley Schoonbaert which found the tape of a streaking Tyler Anderson for the defenseman's 7th of the year and a 2-0 Steinbach lead. Mack Graham added an assist on the goal.
Before the peroid ended, Braden Purtill got in on the scoring act as he and Jordan Bochinski broke in on a mini two on one. Bochinski's pass slipped right through the Flyers defender and onto the stick of Purtill who made no mistake for his 7th of the year, pushing the lead to 3-0. Vaughn Dupre (the MJHL website says it was Tyler Anderson but it was actually Dupre that started the whole play in the neutral zone) also picked up an assist on the goal.
Steinbach seemingly took their foot off the gas after that, as Winkler began to apply the pressure and the Pistons were guilty of several miscues in their own end. After walking the tightrope at different moments of the period, it was a broken play in front that gave Winkler their first goal of the game. As a loose puck had Pistons goalie Roman Bengert going left, before it hit a body and found a Flyers stick who stuffed it in the wide open net. The period ended with the score 3-1 in favour of the visitors.
In the third, it was again the Flyers controlling most of the play and it resulted in a 3-2 goal that pulled the home team close.
With the game within reach for Winkler and less then a minute remaining, Purtill took over.
The centreman won a face off outside the Pistons blueline, tied up his man and kicked the puck back to a defender. As the puck was flipped out to centre ice, Purtill skated up, and as a Flyers defender jumped up to glove the puck down, Purtill read the play, slipped in and stole the puck. He then raced down the boards and fired a shot low glove for a great individual effort to seal the win for Steinbach 4-2.
Steinbach, playing shorthanded for a second consecutive game on the blueline due to injury and suspension, began to show tired legs in the third but Paul Dyck talked about gutting out the win. "We did look tired at times but I thought our guys responded well. We talked about it in the room, conserving energy, especially with a lot of games coming up."
Roman Bengert was sensational again as he made 29 saves. Dyck commented after the game about his 20 year old goalie. "He just comes to play every night, always gives us a chance to win. He's great on the ice and off. Last year, he really seized the opportunity and became the starter and heading into this year, we knew he would have a big year for us."
The power play finished 1-4 and the penalty kill was a solid 4-4. Steinbach was out shot 31-22.
Steinbach wraps up a lenghty five game road trip Wednesday night in Portage. Purtill knows that his team may be tired, but they have a job to do. "We'll get some rest, get some fluids and we'll be ready to go."