It was a wild weekend for the Steinbach Pistons as they travelled north for back to back games vs the OCN Blizzard before making the final stop at Swan Valley to tangle with the Stampeders.
Friday Night: Storming The Blizzard
After a long day of travelling, the Pistons shook off the "bus legs" and came out flying, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first period.
Jaret Lalli, playing in his first game since returning from injury, scored his first MJHL goal to give Steinbach the 1-0 lead. "I got to be out on the power play with some of our top scorers," Lalli said after the game. "I got the puck, shot it on net hoping for a rebound but it went in."
The Pistons continued to push and were rewarded when Austin Heidemann picked up his 12th of the year from Bradley Schoonbaert and Mark Taraschuk.
Another man advantage gave Daniel McKitrick his 10th of the season and the lead swelled to 3-0 after 20 minutes.
OCN made a game of it with a pair of goals in the second period but Matthew Thiessen stood tall in the third and the Pistons took out a 3-2 win on their first of the three-game trip.
Steinbach's power play was 2-9 while the penalty kill was 4-6. Thiessen made 27 stops for the win.
Saturday Night: Same Teams, Different Ending
The same two teams met on Saturday night but this time, it was the Blizzard that jumped out in front scoring a pair of goals in both the first and second periods to hold a 4-0 lead after 40 minutes.
Steinbach did get on the board when newly acquired Mark Wilson (2) scored from Jack Johnson and Tanner Mole.
Quickly adding his 16th of the year was Braden Purtill, who cut the lead to 4-2 midway through the third. Drew Worrad had the only assist.
The Blizzard added an empty-netter to seal a 5-2 win.
Matt Radomsky got the start and made 32 saves. The power play failed to click finishing 0-5 while the penalty kill again was victimized surrendering 3 goals in 5 opportunities.
Sunday Night: Scoring Party
The finale of the trip saw the Pistons get back into the win column thanks to 6 different goal scorers in a 6-1 win over Swan Valley.
A quick start for the road team saw them collect 4 goals in the opening period.
First, Mark Wilson (3) scored from the point to make it 1-0. Wilson's goal was his second in as many games. Mark Taraschuk and Daniel McKitrick had the helpers.
Austin Heidemann continued his hot play netting his 13th from Tyson McConnell and Bradley Schoonbaert making it 2-0.
The scoring didn't stop as goals from Braden Purtill (17) and Schoonbaert (20) pushed the lead to 4-0. McKitrick had the lone assist on the Purtill goal, his second point of the night.
In the second, Brendan Martin got into the act notching his 5th of the year from McKitrick and Jaret Lalli before Tanner Mole rifled home a short-handed goal for his 4th of the year, making it 6-0 Steinbach.
The Stampeders broke the shutout bid with a power-play goal in the second but that's all the scoring they would do in what finished a 6-1 win for Steinbach.
Matthew Thiessen made 24 saves for the win. The man advantage was 0-2 while the penalty kill was hit again finishing 1-3.
News and Notes:
Mark Wilson scored in back to back games over the weekend after being acquired from the Selkirk Steelers for defender Nolan Ferguson. The 6'1, 185lbs defenceman same in with just 1 goal in 23 games with Selkirk but doubled that already as a Piston.
Forward Easton Bennett did not play in the game Sunday and could face supplemental discipline from the league following an incident Saturday night vs the Blizzard. Bennett was assessed a 2 minute minor for charging, a 5-minute major for cross-checking and a 10-minute misconduct. At the time of this writing, no announcement has been made regarding a suspension.
Short Handed, But How Much And For How Long
The Pistons were without top defenceman Darby Gula and forwards Will Koop and Riese Gaber who are attending the World Junior 'A' camp in Calgary.
The team selections are expected to come Tuesday, December 5th in the morning with the first game for the WJAC slated to go December 10th vs the Czech Republic.
If Gula, Koop and/or Gaber make Team Canada West, they would be gone for 3 weeks and make their return to the Pistons lineup no earlier then December 21 in Virden vs the Oil Capitals.
Home Cookin' On The Horizon
A couple of days off before the Pistons get back to practice as they will have a mini 2 game homestand vs the Neepawa Natives (Friday) then the OCN Blizzard (Saturday)