Hub game recap

The Steinbach Pistons went into hostile territory and came out with two massive points after defeating the Winkler Flyers 3-2 in regulation Wednesday night.

There was a buzz and energy leading up to the game as the Pistons came in just four points up on Winkler for second place in the MGEU East Division.

Things started out well for the home side and for a third straight game, it was the Pistons giving up the opening goal.

After two quick penalties less than 90 seconds into the game, the visitors found themselves killing off a 5-on-3 against. They managed to get through the first half but surrendered a 5-on-4 goal, giving Winkler a 1-0 lead.

Just a few minutes later and on a power play of their own, Ty Paisley knotted up the match by scoring his 16th of the season. The dynamic forward walked out from behind the net, pulled off a nifty move to create some space, and made no mistake. Kirk Mullen and Davis Fry were given the assists on the 1-1 goal.

For the rest of the period, both teams pushed but it seemed as the period went on, Steinbach owned more of the puck and more of the territory but the score remained 1-1 after the first.

Ian Amsbaugh would give his team the lead a couple of minutes into the second period, as the Pistons sniper buried a beautiful wrister on a power play to put Steinbach up 2-1. Langley Kruggel and Dawson Milliken notched the helpers on Amsbaugh's 18th marker of the campaign.

For Amsbaugh, it's the fourth straight game with a goal with the last three straight twine ticklers having come on the power play. He has 6 points in his last four games and has moved into second in team scoring with 50 points in 44 games which is also good for 5th in the entire league.

Winkler slowly started to push back and put a couple of shifts together in the offensive zone. 

As it felt like the game might be tipping, Neo Kiemeney made a strong play in his own zone, wired a puck off the glass that hit off a stanchion, and went right to a streaking Davin Griffin who broke in all alone and scored his 6th of the year to give Steinbach a little cushion, 3-1.

It's the first time this year that Griffin has scored in back-to-back games as the 20-year-old now has 6 goals on the year.

The teams exchanged minor penalties throughout the second but towards the end, after a big, loud, clean hit below the goalline, Leo Chambers went a little too far on the next hit and was called for boarding. The hit drew a crowd as both teams went to defend their teammates. No one was hurt on the play but Steinbach would have to start the third down a man.

The penalty kill unit managed to get through the opening short-handed shifts but nearing the middle part of the third, Steinbach once again was sent to the penalty box and the Flyers were able to take advantage scoring their second power-play goal of the game, cutting the lead to 3-2.

With all the momentum and the home crowd behind them, the Flyers pushed for the equalizer. Shift after shift, the Flyers tried to push the Pistons' defenders back but time and time again, the visiting team was up to the task. 

Dominik Wasik made some monumental saves, perhaps the biggest was a point shot that found it's way through a bunch of bodies in front but he somehow saw it at the last second and got his blocking arm on the puck, keeping it 3-2.

With under three minutes to go, Steinbach was hit with yet another penalty giving the Flyers a glorious opportunity to tie the game.

The penalty kill unit, anchored by defenders Kruggel and Josh Nelson, plus forwards Griffin, Degelman, Chambers, Landon Roberts, and Milliken, were able to gut it out and kill off the penalty while still being up a goal.

In the dying seconds, the Flyers worked the puck around the offensive zone but they couldn't find a clear shooting lane, and a last-second shot was blocked.

Despite being outshot in the third 12-5 and outscored 1-0, the Pistons did enough to earn an enormous victory, 3-2.

Steinbach moves 6 points ahead of Winkler while remaining just two points back of Portage for top spot in the MGEU East Division while still holding a game in hand.

"That felt like a playoff game," one of the players said on the bus afterward. "They all will from here on out" was the response.

A pair of goals on the power play helped big time as the club finished 2-4 on the man advantage while finishing 4-6 on the penalty kill.

Wasik notched his 17th win of the year making 32 saves on the night.

The three-game road trip continues with the second of the three on Saturday night in Selkirk. The Steelers come in as one of the hotter teams in the MJHL winning three straight and outscoring their opponents 14-5 during that stretch.

The next home game for the Pistons will be Saturday, Feb 18th as they welcome in the Dauphin Kings.