It wasn't as easy as perhaps the score indicates, but the Steinbach Pistons defeated the Swan Valley Stampeders 7-3 on Wednesday night.
A rocky start for the top team in the MJHL as the Stampeders scored first just :24 seconds into the contest. The Pistons responded by rattling off three goals in under three minutes.
Mack Graham got the scoring parade started with his 29th on the season with WIll Koop and Declan Graham picking up the assists on the goal that knotted the game at one. Just over a minute later, Riley Bruce collected his first of the season with Koop and Drew Anderson drawing the assists. Again, just over a minute after the latest goal, Bradley Schoonbaert scored on the power play to make it a 3-1 game. Schoonbaert has 23 goals on the season, two off his pace from last year. Koop notched his third point of the period with another assist and Mack Graham grabbed his second point of the night.
Both teams traded chances to end the period but the score remained the same 3-1 Steinbach.
In the second, Jordan Bochinski scored in his third straight game to push the lead to 4-1. Landon Plett and Ryan Carlson added the assists on the goal from the captain. Koop finished off his four point night with a beautiful goal, top shelf to make it 5-1. "We have been encouraging him to shoot." Paul Dyck said of Koop after the game. "He's been terrific all season."
The Pistons looked as though they had the game in the bag leading 5-1 after 40 minutes of play.
Swan Valley never gave up and made it close with a couple of goals in the first half of the third period. With the Stampeders within striking distance, the Pistons power play again scored to help seperate the two teams. A pretty passing play resulted in Carlson collecting his 9th of the year and 5th goal in past four games. Tyler Anderson and Bradley Schoonbaert got the assists.
Bruce scored his second of the game to finish off the scoring for the night. Plett and Darby Gula were given the assists as the horn sounded with Steinbach picking up their 7th straight win, 7-3.
Roman Bengert finished the night with 28 saves and was his usual solid self. The power play was 2 for 4 while the penalty kill was 3 for 3. Shots were even 31-31 between the two clubs.
Steinbach will have Thursday off before welcoming in the Portage Terriers to the TG Smith Centre on Friday night.
Will Koop was named MJHL Rookie of the Month. Koop has 44 points on the year, tops for a rookie.
Roman Bengert was named MJHL's Top Goaltender. Bengert is 29-4 this season.
Ryan Carlson has 8 points in past 5 games.
Bradley Schoonbart has a 7 game point streak (3 goals, 10 assists)