The Steinbach Pistons and the Winnipeg Blues went toe-to-toe, back and forth in game two of their first round series and when the dust settled, it was the Pistons that came away with a thrilling 6-4 win to grab a 2-0 series lead.
A Little Bit Of Everything
Steinbach wanted to come out strong in the opening period and they did, showing good speed and compete which eventually earned them a power play Just over a minute into the first.
While they didn't score on the man advantage, right after it concluded, Easton Bennett took a hit right in front of his bench while getting the puck out of the zone. Troy Beauchemin broke in with Kyle Bettens on a two on one and after a perfect dish by Beauchemin, Bettens walked around the Blues netminder and tucked in his first of the playoffs to make it 1-0.
The lead lasted less than three minutes as the Blues tied it up off a scramble in the slot and then took the lead near the end of the period as they capitalized on a turnover and netted their second of the game to go up 2-1.
That lead lasted only 23 seconds thanks to Nico Labossiere who took a feed from Bettens and cashed in for his first goal of the post-season and first marker since February 9th to knot the period at 2-2.
Like A Heavy Weight Fight
The second period was a wild affair in which both teams went back and forth between heavy hits, odd-man rushes and more goals.
Tyson McConnell gave Steinbach the lead on a two man advantage after a point shot from Troy Williams kicked off the shin pad of Tanner Mole who was positioned infront and right to McConnell who hammered home his 1st, 3-2 Pistons.
Moments after a successful penalty kill, the Blues struck again to tie the game 3-3.
Steinbach grabbed the lead back on another power play as a great bank pass from Curtis Ireland hit a streaking Bettens who took the play wide and drove the net as Mole did the same from the opposite side. Bettens hit Mole who made no mistake for his 3rd goal of the playoffs and 4th point in just two games.
Again, the lead didn't last as the Blues tied it up again 4-4 off a spinning shot in the slot found the back of the net.
38 seconds later, Brendan Martin who had an up and down game, finally got on the board as the 20-year-old from Thunder Bay tucked in a loose puck as he fought off a couple of Blues defenders to put Steinbach ahead for good 5-4. Labossiere and Bettens had the assists.
For Bettens, it was his 4th point of the night.
Team Defence Wins Games
For as wild as the second period was, the third was quiet in comparison.
Steinbach refused to allow the Blues any time in their zone and the Pistons all bought in to strong defensive structure and resued to bend.
Bennett sealed the deal with an empty netter that despite a Blues defender getting close, just crossed the line with under a minute to go to seal a 6-4 win and a 2-0 series lead.
Power play - 2-7
Penalty kill - 4-4
Matt Radomsky was superb in goal finishing with 35 saves on the night giving him close to 80 saves through the first two games of the playoffs.
1 - Kyle Bettens: 1 goal 3 assists
2 - Troy Beauchemin - 1 assist
3 - Matt Radomsky - 35 saves
Game 3 is set fro Steinbach's TG Smith Centre on Tuesday night at 7:30 pm.
Prior to leaving for Winnipeg, the Pistons were visited on the bus by Canadian legend Ron MacLean who was in town for Rogers Hometown Hockey.
Mr. MacLean addressed the team, wishing them well on the night and in the playoff run and many players remarked that it was something they wouldn't forget.