In what could be a first round playoff match up, the final regular season meeting between the Steinbach Pistons and Swan Valley Stampeders went to the home team in a 4-1 Steinbach win.
It was a bit of a slow start for both teams but as the period progressed, the teams traded chances before the Pistons began to get the upper hand. They peppered the Swan Valley goalie with 15 total shots in the period but only one found the back of the net.
Seconds after a power play expired and during a delayed call, Tyler Anderson slipped down off the point and converted a pass from Braden Purtill for the Winnipeg native's 9th goal of the year. It was the second consecutive game the Pistons scored while during a delayed penalty. For Anderson, he now has 36 points on the year and is the team leader in points from a defenceman.
Will Koop also collected an assist on the goal, pushing the rookie scoring leader to 47 points, nine more then the next closest first year MJHL player.
In the second period, Steinbach failed to capitalize on a couple of power play chances and actually surrendered a short handed goal that tied the game up at one, just before the midway point.
The Pistons would grab the lead back a few minutes later as Jordan Bochinski headed out into the slot and rifled home a wrist shot for the captains 17th of the year to make it 2-1. Purtill picked up his second assist on the night while Landon Plett also chipped in with a helper.
Still in the middle frame, it was Danny Pion tapping home a loose puck for the forwards 6th goal and second in as many games to push the lead to 3-1. Tyson McConnell and Mark Taraschuk picked up the assists.
The horn sounded with the Pistons in control, 3-1.
In the third, it was uneventful in the fist half until Riley Bruce dropped the gloves with Cody Ellingson. It was a back and forth tilt as the 20 year old Ellingson and the 17 year old Bruce went toe-to-toe, firing up both benches. Both players received 5 minutes for fighting and a game misconduct.
Taraschuk would put the game away moments after the scrap with a bullet shot that went cross bar down for his 7th of the year. The 19 year old talked through his goal after the game. "I had a chance in the second period and I missed high and wide. (This time) I got the puck high and wide, it was a beautiful pass from Scoobs (Bradley Schoonbaert), and it just went in. Luckily, I didn't think and it found the back of the net. It was good." Schoonbaert and Ryan Carlson were credited with the assists.
That's all the scoring the game would see, as Steinbach picked up their second win in a row and now have a record of 42-7-1 for 85 points. The Pistons have an 8 point lead on the second place Winkler Flyers with the Flyers having played three more games.
Defensive breakdowns have plagued the Pistons as times of late, but head coach Paul Dyck feels it was a bounce back game for his team in that department. "I think today was a fairly complete effort." Dyck said post game. "We wanted to address a few things that we weren't happy with the last time we played Swan. In all areas, we were a little better today. We want to keep things a little simpler."
The Pistons have 10 games remaining, 4 at home and 6 on the road. They will host the Selkirk Steelers on Wednesday night, a game Taraschuk knows will be a tough, tight checking affair. "We talked about it earlier, tonight against Swan was a statement game and now going up against Selkrik, they're hungry too. There's a bit of a cluster for playoff spots. (We) have to play a simple game, you can't be falling on your heels in the first five minutes and I think it'll be a playoff type atmosphere on Wednesday night."
Puck drop on Wednesday night is at 7:30 and will be broadcast through SteinbachOnline.com https://www.steinbachonline.com/pistons-schedule
Roman Bengert is now tied for 2nd in the Canadian Junior Hockey League in wins with 31
Braden Purtill has 4 points in his past 2 games
Danny Pion has 12 points in 13 games as a member of the Steinbach Pistons