Mack Graham scored in overtime to give the Steinbach Pistons a thrilling 4-3 win over the Winkler Flyers on Saturday night, making it 6 wins in a row for the top team in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.
Both teams traded chances in the opening period but it was the Flyers getting on the board first on the power play. Winkler would take a 1-0 lead into the break and out shot the Pistons 13-5.
In the middle frame, Bradley Schoonbaert rifled home his 20th of the season to tie things up 1-1. Tyler Anderson and Mack Graham picked up the assists on the goal. Steinbach's power play would give them the lead midway through the period as a perfect pass from Vaughn Dupre hit a pinching Mark Taraschuk who made no mistake for his 6th goal of the year. Darby Gula added the secondary assist on the goal that gave the Pistons the lead heading into the second period intermission.
The back and forth struggle continued in the third period as the Flyers tied it up early but the Pistons regained the lead courtsey of Landon Plett. A couple of chances at the side of the net were turned away until the determined Plett buried his 14th goal of the season. "It was great to get that one and get it off my back." Plett said after the game. "I haven't gotten a chance to play in too many playoff games but it sure felt like one tonight."
The Pistons couldn't hold onto the lead though as the Flyers would tie the game at 3 just over a minute later. The horn sounded and fans in Steinbach would be treated to some "free hockey", as the game needed overtime.
Both goalies made big saves early on, most notably Roman Bengert who slid across to slam the door on a Winkler 3 on 1 rush in the extra period.
It was the save of the game as moments later, Joseph Leonidas and Bradley Schoonbaert exchanged passes in the defensive zone before Leonidas led the rush up the ice. The smooth skating defender slammed on the breaks at the blue line. Mack Graham went streaking to the net and tipped home the point shot perfectly for his team leading 24th of the season and giving Steinbach a huge win.
Graham has been on fire this season, he has 13 points in his past 6 games and a total of 55 points on the season. "It was a great game and they're a great team." said the man from Toronto after the game and gave his thoughts on the 3 on 3 overtime. "It's exciting but it's also nerve racking, having to play so much defense. It's greart to have some extra space out there."
Bengert picked up his 22nd win of the year making 32 saves on the night. Bengert made several key saves
The power play was 1-4 and 2-3 on the penalty kill. Shots on goal
Steinbach now has six wins in a row and a record of 31-5-1, good for 63 points on the season. The Pistons have a 7 point lead on the second place Selkirk Steelers. The home stand continues for Steinbach as they will host the OCN Blizzard on Wednesday night.