Hub International Game Recap

The Steinbach Pistons had their 6-game winning streak snapped on Friday but rebounded with one of their best performances of the season, dominating a division rival to extend their lead atop the league standings.

Friday Flop

The weekend didn't start great for Steinbach who went into Dauphin and despite a strong push late, fell 3-2 to the Kings.

Heading into the game, once again the Pistons would be without several key defenders and faced off with just four regular defensemen in David Cote, Spencer Penner, Shane Burns, and Liam Doyle, with forward-turned-defender Dawon McCann filling in with spot duty.

The opening period saw both teams go back and forth, grinding away to find offensive opportunities while staying strong defensively.

Dauphin hit the scoreboard first while on a power play late in the period and took a 1-0 lead into the intermission.

In the second, they would extend the lead to 2-0 just over a minute into the frame.

Kirk Mullen would get Steinbach on the board as the 20-year-old cashed in on a rebound for his 24th of the year. Brayden Berg and Liam Doyle were given the assists on the 2-1 marker.

In the third, Brandon Funk got the game back to even with some incredible work in tight, putting a puck up off the crossbar and in for his 20th of the season. Trey Sauder and Doyle had the helpers.

Dauphin would get the lead back shortly after and carried a 3-2 score to the finish line.

Steinbach finished 0-3 on the power play while the penalty kill went 2-3.

20-year-old Cole Plowman was saddled with the loss but did all he could to keep his team in the games, especially down 2-0 and riding 4 defenders most of the night. Plowman would finish with 24 saves.

Flying Over Flyers

After a couple of days between games, the Pistons came out with a dominating effort against the division rival Winkler Flyers, running away with a 7-2 victory.

Early on, the teams established a wicked pace, hard checking, zero time and space, back-and-forth style game many fans anticipated when a couple of the top teams in the MJHL lock horns.

Steinbach would open the scoring thanks to Hunter Degelman who won a face-off back to David Cote who filtered a shot through traffic. The original shot was stopped by Degelman drove to the net and snapped a rebound off the crossbar and in for his 5th of the year, 1-0 Steinbach.

The Flyers would respond late in the period after some good work below the goalline caused confusion and allowed a forward to slip out to the slot, taking a pass and firing it home to make it 1-1.

Cole Plowman, starter for Steinbach would be tested later in the period as he stared down the MJHL's leading scorer and turned him away with a beautiful blocker save, keeping things tied heading into the second period.

Things tilted heavily in favor of Steinbach from the second period onward.

Sam Noad gave the Pistons their lead back as the 18-year-old rookie pressured the Winkler defenders into a turnover right near the front of their net. Noad showed off his elite hands making a nice move to the backhand and tucking home his 8th of the year, unassisted.

A few minutes later, Connor Paronuzzi came back into his zone to disrupt a Flyers entry. He took the puck and raced up the ice with teammates supporting him. Paronuzzi dropped a pass to Spener Penner who hit a streaking Leo Chambers with a perfect feed, allowing the captain to tip one into the open net for his 19th of the year.

Later in the frame, the Flyers had a chance to get a little closer on a power play but instead, it was Steinbach who grabbed a shovel and dug their hole even deeper.

Grady Hoffman picked up a puck in his own zone and weaved his way into the offensive zone. As Chambers cut towards the net, Hoffman cut into the slot, used a defender as a screen, and uncorked a perfect shot that beat the Flyers netminder for Hoffman's team-leading 26th goal of the year. Chambers and Shane Burns had the assists.

The 4-1 marker would spell the end of the night for the Flyers starter and he was replaced by the backup for the evening. Thanks to an injury to Winkler's veteran starter, the backup Monday was from U18 AAA Pembina Valley Hawks getting his first taste of regular-season MJHL action.

On the ensuing faceoff after the goal and goalie change, Steinbach and Winkler's forwards mixed it up. The Flyers player slashed the stick of the Pistons forward breaking it. The Pistons forward then gave it back to the Flyers forward and both were sent to the penalty box with Steinbach getting an extra minor penalty, putting them down 5 on 3 for 1:02.

Steinbach's 3-man penalty kill managed to kill off the 1:02 5 on 3 but seconds after the first penalty ended, the Flyers buried one to make it a 4-2 game.

Thanks to the strong work by the penalty killers to get through the 5 on 3, despite giving up the goal, it was on a 5 on 4 power play for Winkler, making it so Steinbach was able to return to 5 on 5 after the 4-2 goal.

The third period started with Steinbach on a power play and they made no mistake as Paronuzzi fed a pass over to Kirk Mullen who buried his 25th of the season, extending the lead to 5-2. Liam Doyle also picked up an assist to extend his point streak to 4 games.

David Cote added to the lead on another power play shortly after, notching his 6th of the year and first goal in 9 games, bringing the score to 6-2 from Trey Sauder and Mullen.

Paronuzzi finished off his strong night by scoring his 10th of the campaign after taking a nice pass from Jackson Kostiuk who took a stretch pass from Doyle.

Things started to ramp up after the 7-2 goal as a couple of Pistons and Flyers got into wrestling matches and the tension between the two clubs built to a fever pitch.

It boiled over with Steinbach's Wyatt Mattfield dropping the gloves against Winkler's Zach Nicolas. Nicolas, who's listed at 6'5" and 203 lbs got the early edge but the 6'0", 190 lbs Mattfield countered with some strong lefts. Both players threw some bombs, going back and forth until Mattfield connected with two hard shots that sent Nicoals to the ice and brought both benches as well as the fans to their feet.

Things cooled after the spirited tilt and the rest of the game, while still having a physical edge, didn't produce any more goals or stand-out moments.

Plowman picked up his 27th win of the season making 29 saves.

Steinbach's power play was 2/3 while the penalty kill was 1/2.

Up Next

A couple of days between games gives Steinbach time to prepare for another tough couple of games. Thursday they travel to Waywayseecappo to meet up with the Wolverines who are trying to put some distance between themselves and the team behind them for the 4th and final playoff spot in the West. They'll follow that up with a matchup against the Virden Oil Capitals on Saturday night in La Broquerie.