The Steinbach Pistons got a hat-trick from Travis Hensrud, a two-point performance from Leo Chambers plus some big saves in key moments from Cole Plowman, helping give them a 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Freeze on Wednesday evening.
Coming off a win on Sunday afternoon against the Freeze, Steinbach wanted to come out strong and they did, getting a number of chances early on.
Hensrud opened the scoring just over 7 minutes into the first as the 20-year-old took a pass from Warren Clark and fired home his 24th of the year to make it 1-0.
Seconds after the opening marker, a bouncing puck took a last-second hop and handcuffed Pistons starter Cole Plowman as the puck deflected right at the very last second. Plowman made the save but the rebound was left in the blue paint with a wide-open net but Plowman, with some help from defender Noah Szabo, managed to tie up the Freeze and find the puck before it was knocked into the goal.
Things started to get chippy as the period went on. While a delayed penalty was coming against Winnipeg, they managed to touch the puck and as the whistle went, a player cross-checked Hunter Degelman into the boards. Degelman popped up quickly and went after the player.
The original infraction was missed and Degelman was tagged with the retaliation penalty sending the teams to 4 on 4. Steinbach had some chances but the score remained the same.
Steinbach outshot the Freeze 12-4 in the first and took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
In the second, the Freeze managed to tie the game on a power play, deflecting a point shot perfectly past Plowman to make it 1-1.
Again, it was Hensrud responding for Steinbach as he struck for his second goal of the game, taking a pass from Leo Chambers and knocking home his 25th of the season to restore Steinbach's lead, 2-1.
A scary moment in the second as Ty Paisley was cross-checked into the post behind the Freeze goalie. The 18-year-old stayed down for several moments before going to the bench where he was attended to by Jeff Eidse. After a few minutes, Paisley made his way to the dressing room and did not return. The Freeze received a 2-minute minor for cross-checking on the play.
It wasn't the only instance where a Pistons player was shaken up by a questionable hit. Ian Amsbaugh was drilled in the numbers while he controlled the puck behind the Freeze goal. Amsbaugh was down for a few seconds prompting another appearance by Eidse who raced out to attend to him. Thankfully, the 20-year-old was able to make it to his feet and start skating off before Eidse was needed. The Freeze got a 2-minute minor for checking from behind and the player received a game misconduct.
Amsbaugh would get his revenge as while on that power-play, he set up Chambers across the seam for a one-timer beauty, making it 3-1 Steinbach. For Chambers, it was goal 12 on the season. Kirk Mullen notched the secondary assist.
Despite not having much to do through two periods, the third was a different story as it was Plowman's time to shine.
The Freeze managed to push and get a couple of off-the-rush chances but Plowmn fought off a couple of tough shots and rebound chances, keeping his team up by two.
On the penalty kill, Plowman again made two big-time saves, keeping the Freeze frustrated.
His best save of the game was on a shortened two-on-one for Winnipeg where it was set up perfectly but Plowman made a strong push with his left leg, battled to get across, and got a shoulder on the puck, turning away a grade-A chance for the Freeze.
That was the last time the Freeze threatened as the Pistons defenders clamped down and Hensrud sealed the deal with an empty netter, completing his hat-trick. His 26th of the season was assisted by Josh Nelson, who had another strong, steady game for Steinbach.
The power play went 1-4 on the night while the penalty kill finished 2-3.
For Plowman, it was his 14th win of the season.
Up next for Steinbach is a home game against the Virden Oil Capitals, Friday at the TG Smith Centre.