The Steinbach Pistons led with under five minutes to go in the third period but two goals in just: 34 seconds propelled the Portage Terriers to a 6-5 victory in Steinbach Wednesday.
A pair of goals less than four minutes into the game had the Pistons off and running early.
First, it was Brendan Martin hammering home a shot from the slot off a beautiful pass from Boedey Vaeth for the opening marker. For the Thunder Bay, Ontario native Martin, he now has 12 goals on the year. Troy Williams added the secondary assist.
In his Steinbach Pistons debut, Kyle Bettens made his presence felt immediately as he scored off a wonderful pass from Tanner Mole to make it 2-0.
Steinbach wasn't done scoring as Brady Tatro blocked a shot at his own blueline, chipped the puck past the Portage defender and was off to the races all alone where he went bar-down glove side for his team-leading 14th goal of the year, unassisted.
Portage responded and turned up the heat only to be turned away by Piston's goalie Matt Radomsky who made several absolutely unbelievable saves.
The biggest and best came after a Terriers deflection was originally stopped by Radomsky but the rebound kicked into the slot and it looked like the Terriers had a wide open net, which they did, except for the left arm of Radomsky. He reached back in desperations and was able to get an elbow or wrist on the puck and somehow to keep it out. Even after the miraculously wonderful save, the loose puck was in the crease but it was great positioning by Radomsky and quick thinking by Caydin Cleland who fired the puck out of play, that kept it, 3-0 Steinbach.
Portage would eventually get on the board with a goal with only: 21 seconds remaining in the first to cut the lead to 3-1.
Penalty's A Plenty
In the second, Portage continued to apply pressure and it was compounded when Steinbach took a number of penalties in a row.
In fact, the Pistons were down 5 on 3 a total of 3 times in the second period.
Portage used the advantages and extra space being up by two men to score not one but two goals to tie the game 3-3.
This time, it was Steinbach who was given the power play and they made no mistake as Vaeth notched his 8th of the year, unassisted to give Steinbach the lead 4-3 heading into the third.
Again, the Terriers refused to go away and tied the game 4-4 less than 90 seconds into the third.
Jack Kilroy who had goals in back to back games over the weekend continued his goal-scoring streak as the Denver, CO native scored his third of the year and third in as many games to restore the lead 5-4 for the home side.
Steinbach tried to hold on but a couple of costly mistakes in their own end resulted in Terriers goals as they tied the game and took the lead in the span of less than a minute to walk out of Steinbach with a gutsy 6-5 win.
Matt Radomsky got saddled with the loss but was more than solid finishing the night with 34 saves.
Steinbach's power play was 1-2 while the penalty kill finished 5-7 against the top-ranked power play in the MJHL.
Emotion Leads To Frustration
Paul Dyck, head coach of Steinbach was understandably frustrated after the game and was asked what he took away from his team's performance. "Not a lot. We were awful," the veteran bench boss said post-game. "We were opportunistic in the first and fortunate to be up 3-0 in the first period. It was just a matter of time until we gave up that goal and that gave them momentum heading into the second."
Despite what the scoreboard says, Dyck didn't believe his team was near the top of their game. "We were never in the hockey game, believe it or not, despite being in the lead a few times. They out-competed us, they wanted to win the game more and we were just really disengaged."
Giving up 6 goals, most might look to the goalie but Dyck said Radomsky was far from an issue. "I thought we had one guy that showed up tonight and Rads was outstanding early on. Really kept us in the game and gave us a chance to wake up but that never really happened. I mean, I felt bad for him. Our defence was soft and gave up some really good looks. We gave up six but they're not on Rads."
A road game on Friday vs the Dauphin Kings. Dyck's list of wants from his team can be summed up in a single word. "Compete. That's it, I just want them to show up and play hard."