The Steinbach Pistons were handed their first loss of the 2023-24 season by the hands of the Winkler Flyers with a 4-2 final at the HyLife Centre in La Broquerie on Saturday night.
In the first period, the Flyers came out and established a physical presence early. They dumped pucks into the Pistons zone and every time a player in blue and white touched it, they were getting hit. In all three zones, the orange and white took away time and space on top of making sure to get a piece of their opponent.
Just over five minutes in, after some good work down low, the Flyers put a puck on goal that was deflected in by a man in front to give them a 1-0 lead.
Shots were at a premium as neither team gave up much defensively and the Flyers took the 1-0 lead into the break while also leading in shots 7-4.
Steinbach responded in the second with a much better effort in all areas.
Led by defenders Jack Cook and Noah Szabo who pushed the pace, made a couple of nice rushes up ice, and tilted momentum back towards the home side.
With under three minutes to go in the period, forward Kirk Mullen scored to even the game. For the 20-year-old Mullen, it's his fifth goal of the year which has him tied at the top of the league.
Rookie defender Jackson Kostiuk, who was buzzing around all night, picked up on assist while Leo Chambers grabbed the secondary helper after a good, hard-working shift that led to the goal.
In the third, a lucky break for the Flyers gave them the lead back as a seemingly harmless dump-in hit the glass and made its way to the goal. The Steinbach netminder had left his crease to play the puck that would never make it to him and instead, he had to pull it from out of the net.
Another great shift by Kostiuk helped lead to the second Pistons goal of the night as the dynamic forward fed a pass up to Szabo who wired a shot towards the goal. Forward Brett Kaiser was cutting through the slot and perfectly deflected it in for his first of the new season.
A 5 on 3 power play gave the Pistons an excellent chance to get their first lead of the night but the Flyers were able to hang on thanks to some timely saves and some massive blocked shots.
The huge momentum boost after being down two men but not giving up a goal pushed them to score twice in the span of less than two minutes to grab a 4-2 lead.
Steinbach knocked on the door late but the Flyers refused to budge and the Pistons lost for the first time this season. They now have a 3-1 record.
The power play for Steinbach went cold going 0-4 while the penalty kill was again a strength finishing a perfect 4-4.
Beck Liden was saddled with the loss finishing the night with 17 saves.
Steinbach is now off until Wednesday night when they welcome the Selkirk Steelers into the HyLife Centre. The puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m.