Things may have been tough-and-go at times on Friday night, but Sunday night was in the bag by period two and the Pistons picked up another pair of wins to extend their streak to 9 games.
Fighting It Friday
In a battle between two of the top teams in the league, Steinbach goalie Cole Plowman stole the show making 28 saves helping his team to a 5-1 win over the Dauphin Kings.
In the first period, both teams pressed at times, pushed each other physically, and both goalies made some big timely saves.
Noah Szabo continued his bid to be considered a top defender in not just the MJHL but CJHL as the 19-year-old from Ontario rifled home his 6th of the campaign to put Steinbach up 1-0. Brandon Funk extended his point streak to 5 games with an assist while Connor Paronuzzi also picked up a helper.
Thanks to some strong penalty killing, the Pistons held the 1-0 lead through 20 minutes despite Dauphin leading in shots 15-8.
In the second, both teams picked it up a notch. Back and forth both teams pressed but again, strong goaltending refused to let anything pass.
Steinbach took the 1-0 lead into the second intermission and led the middle frame in shots 12-8.
In the first minute of the third, a pretty passing play gave the Kings some space at the blueline for a point shot that deflected off a body in front and in, knotting the game up 1-1.
Kirk Mullen restored the Piston's lead as the 20-year-old sniper took a pass from Paronuzzi in the corner, streaked in, and showcased his elite hands by making a sweet move around the goalie and tucking home his 11th of the year. Chad Cote nabbed the secondary assist.
With the 2-1 marker, Mullen extended his point streak to 7 games.
Just 21 seconds later, Brayden Berg extended the lead as the 18-year-old stuffed home his first career MJHL goal, putting the home side up 3-1. Spencer Penner and Brett Kaiser were given the assists on the insurance goal.
Dauphin had some chances to cut the lead but Plowman turned away every chance they could muster.
Frustrations boiled over after a late-period penalty call and the Kings became unglued, cutting a steady path to the penalty box all but spoiling any hopes of a comeback.
While on a 5 on 3 power play, Parker Jasper fired home his second goal in as many games to extend the lead to 4-1. Mullen and Szabo snagged their second points of the night.
Once again on a 5 on 3 advantage, Berg double dipped, cramming home his second of the night to put the game firmly out of reach, 5-1 with under a minute to go. David Cote extended his point streak to 5 games with the primary assist while Liam Doyle picked up the secondary apple.
Plowman's elite-level play continued as he collected his 13th win, which is tied for the most in the MJHL (he's played 4 fewer games than the goalie he's tied with). The 20-year-old is also first in the league in save percentage for any goalie that has played more than 8 games at .938 and also leads in goals against average for any goalie that's played over 8 games at 1.78.
Cole Plowman has also won his last 7 straight starts. He's given up 1 goal or less in 6 of those 7 starts, including one 16-save shutout.
Steinbach's power play got a boost at the end of the game and finished 2-57 while the penalty kill kept one of the top power play units silent, going an impressive 5-5.
Steam Rolling Sunday
While the first period didn't yield results, the Pistons stuck with the plan and put up a big number thanks to an offensive explosion in the second and third, defeating the Winnipeg Freeze 8-1 on Sunday.
Despite heavily outplaying the opponent in the first, the score remained 0-0 thanks to some puck luck on the part of the Freeze and a couple of really strong saves from netminder Beck Liden of Steinbach including one pad save where he stretched all the way across the goalline and kicked his leg up in the air a bit to keep the puck out.
Fuchs Feeling It
In the middle period, 19-year-old Jamie Fuchs and his linemates Wyatt Mattfield and Same Noad took the game over.
First, Fuchs created a turnover in the neutral zone and pushed the puck up to Noad who broke into the zone before hitting the trailer Mattfield with a pass. Mattfield uncorked a hard shot that proved too much for the Freeze goalie to handle and the rebound was cleaned up by Fuchs for his first of the night and 5th of the year.
A few minutes later, it was Fuchs again cashing in after a Chad Cote point shot was ripped wide, the puck came to Fuchs on the side of the net. He put one toward the goal that banked in off a defender in front for his second of the night and 6th of the season. Sam Noad picked up his second point of the night with the bonus assist.
Kirk Mullen continued his hot play as he cashed in for his 12th of the year from Brandon Funk and Connor Paronuzzi. Mullen and Funk kept their respective point streaks alive with the 3-0 goal.
The Freeze did manage to get one back, cutting the lead to 3-1 but that was as close as this game would ever be.
Funk chipped home a backhander on the power play for the 18-year-olds 12th of the campaign from Paronuzzi and Mullen.
Capping off the hat trick with under a minute to go, Fuchs showcased his speed and shooting ability as he snapped home his third of the game from Chad Cote and Mattfield.
The score was 5-1 Pistons after two and shots were heavily in their favor as well, 40-11.
Mattfield got into the scoring act as the 19-year-old power forward knocked home his 3rd of the season from David Cote, who extended his point streak with the lone assist on the 6-1 goal.
Fuchs finished his night off with his 4th goal of the game after a Jackson Kostiuk shot from the slot missed the net high, the puck bounced right back over the net and hit Fuchs who had fought his way to the front of the net. Brett Kaiser picked up the secondary assist.
Fuchs came into the game with 4 goals this year and doubled that total to 8.
Brayden Berg notched his 3rd goal of the year, finishing off a tidy weekend for the 18-year-old, putting Steinbach up 8-1. Kostiuk and Kaiser had the assists.
Liden finished with 14 saves and while that number may be low, the quality of his work was anything but. He made several big, timely saves that allowed his team to find the back of the net and come out with the win.
Steinbach outshot Winnipeg 62-15 in the game.
The power play for the Pistons was 1-2 while the penalty kill was perfect, going 5-5.
A rare home/road game Saturday night as the Pistons welcome back the Dauphin Kings but the game will not be played at the HyLife Centre in La Broquerie, it will actually be played at the Wayne Fleming Arena Arena in Winnipeg, which is home to the UofM Bisons.
After that, the Pistons head to Stride Place to tangle with the Terriers.