It's been a struggle of late to score for the Pistons and after falling on Friday night, they came out firing on Saturday and got back into the win column, defeating the Winnipeg Blues 6-3.

Struggles Continue

On Friday night, the Pistons came out with more energy then they had in their previous home game but still fell short, losing to the Waywayseecappo Wolverines 4-2 for their third straight home loss.

In the first, already down a goal, the Pistons put a couple of hard-working shifts together and looked like they had some momentum gaining until the Wolverines were able to score to increase their lead to 2-0 and deflate the TG Smith Centre and put the Pistons in a hole heading into the second.

That hole got deeper in the middle frame as the Wolverines continued to play hard and hit everything that moved, resulting in their third goal of the night to add to their cushion, 3-0 after forty minutes.

Wayway looked like they put the game away with a power-play goal early in the third to make it 4-0 but Steinbach did battle back and get a little closer.

Cue Carter Loney.

The RHA standout playing with the Pistons due to numerous forwards being either hurt or sick gave Loney a chance to shine and shine he did.  

His first goal came on the power-play. As the Pistons worked the puck up near the blue line, Troy Williams feathered a pass over to Easton Bennett who put a shot towards the net and Loney who was working in front was able to get a stick on it and tip it in to crack the goose egg and making it 4-1 on his second career MJHL goal.

Just seconds later, Loney struck again as he came out of the corner along the side boards, walked towards the net and rifled a picture perfect wrist shot top corner for his second of the night, giving the Pistons even more life, making it a 4-2 game. Kyle Bettens and Nico Labossiere had the assists on the goal.

Steinbach had a couple more chances but couldn't get any closer, eventually running out of time and losing their second consecutive game 4-2.

Matt Lenz was saddled with the loss after making 22 saves.

The power play finished 1-6 while the penalty kill was 5-6. Again, the Pistons cut a steady path to the penalty box, including 4 stick related penalties (hooking, slashing).

Getting Their Groove Back

Scoring was an issue heading into the game vs the Winnipeg Blues but several players came away with multi-point nights in a much needed 6-3 win on Saturday night.

Captain Tyson McConnell has been a bit snake-bit of late as he went 8 games without a goal but with his team on the power-play, McConnell scored on a rebound to give Steinbach the all-important first goal. McConnell's 17th of the year was assisted by Declan Graham and Kyle Bettens.

Winnipeg responded with a quick goal to tie things up 1-1.

Watch Out, Ryan!

A bit of a funny moment later in the first period as Steinbach was being worked over in their zone, defender Tristan Culleton grabbed a loose puck and fired it out of his zone... hard... and by out of his zone, he fired it into his own bench... again, hard.

Everyone on the bench quickly moved to get out of the way including Athletic Therapist Jeff Eidse and backup goalie Matt Lenz. As the Culleton clearing attempt roared into the bench, Eidse yelled "duck" and equipment manage Ryan Dyck who was standing right beside him turned and asked "why". 

Ryan would find out why in a second.

Lenz ducked and covered, as did Eidse and the screaming wrister clocked Dyck right in the leg, sending the second-year equipment manager down off the bench in extreme pain.

Once it was discovered he was going to be okay, the team, Lenz, Eidse, coaches and even players not dressed all shared quite the laugh with even Ryan himself joining in.

He quickly checked his phone which was in his pocket. It was okay. So is Ryan Dyck.

No Laughing Matter

With under a minute remaining and the game still tied 1-1 in the first, Winnipeg struck again on a defensive zone breakdown to cash in for a 2-1 lead after twenty minutes.

After the game, Calvin Bugyik broke down what the mood was like in between periods after giving up that late goal. 

"You know what? It was good," the first year assistant said from outside the locker room. "We heard a lot of good things being said in the room and on the bench. Guys knew a couple bad bounces would happen. We weren't going to win 1-0 and to go down 2-1 was not a big deal. If we kept playing hard, we'd cash in."

Second Period Scoring Surge

Steinbach got exactly what they wanted early in the second and that was a quick goal that turned momentum right back in their favour. 

Kyle Bettens scored his first of the night as he took a loose puck and went all the way around Blues goalie Jeremy Link who did all he could to try and catch Bettens but the rookie's reach and skating power was just too much as he got around Link and tucked home a backhander for his fourth of the year, tieing the game 2-2 just over a minute into the period. Nico Labossiere had the lone assist on the goal.

Momentum stuck with the home side and they used it to their advantage.

While on the power-play Declan Graham received a pass from Curtis Ireland as the two point men searched for a lane to make a play.

Graham found one. A big one.

A cross-ice pass from Graham found McConnell cutting to the net, back door, all alone and the captain made no mistake for his second of the game, giving Steinbach a 3-1 lead.

More goals came as Troy Williams thundered his way into the offensive zone, taking a Doug Johnson wrap-around the boards shot and directing it towards the net where a waiting Labossiere was waiting to tip home his fourth of the year and pushing Steinbach's lead to 4-1.

An odd play resulted in Winnipeg getting right back into the game as a goal cut the lead to 4-2 seconds after the Pistons failed to convert on the power-play.

Bettens gave Steinbach their two-goal lead right back as he scored an absolute beauty.

As he grabbed the puck by his own blueline, Bettens looked like a man possessed as he outskated the Blues back checking forward and just flat out blew around the defender and went in all alone. Ashimmyle shimy shoulder shake got Link moving and Bettens showed off his great hands intight as he walked around the goalie and slid home the backhand for his second of the night.

Troy Williams had the lone assist on Bettens 6th and most impressive goal of the year, restoring Steinbach's lead to two, 5-3.

The Pistons locked down the third and didn't allow the Blues anything and Jack Kilroy outworked a Blues defender in the final minutes and scored into the empty net for the Denver, CO. product's fourth of the year, unassisted.

Matt Radomsky picked up the win making 26 saves on the night.

After the game, Radomsky called it a "huge win".

The power play was great going 2-4 while the penalty kill a was solid 4-4. Bugyik is hoping lower penalty numbers continue. "It be nice if it was like that more often," the coach said with a laugh. "Hopefully the guys got the message and it becomes the new normal instead of six a night."

Up Next

Steinbach's homestand continues on Wednesday night vs the Selkirk Steelers Wednesday night at the TG Smith Centre. Friday against the Dauphin Kings wraps up their home time and they head on the road for a date with the Winkler Flyers on Saturday night.

 

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Sunday, February 17th

HTJHL
Quarterfinals
Lorette at Grunthal, 7 p.m.
(Comets lead best of 5 series 1-0)
St. Adolphe at Steinbach, 7 p.m.
(series tied 1-1)

MFMHL
Eastman at Wpg Ice, 6:30 p.m
(Ice lead best of 5 quarterfinal 2-0)

Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League
Kenora 2 Eastman 1
Southwest 8 Interlake 0
Brandon 8 Norman 2
Wpg Wild 10 Parkland 0
Wpg Bruins 4 Central Plains 2
Yellowhead 10 Pembina Valley 0

U17 Midget Prep Hockey League
Eastman 2 Wpg Sharks 2 (tie)

Hockey Manitoba
Senior AAA Championship
Ste. Anne vs Norway House
@ Sagkeeng, 7:30 p.m.
(Aces lead best of 3 semifinal 1-0)

AHL
Milwaukee 6 Manitoba 5

NHL
Pittsburgh 6 N.Y. Rangers 5
St. Louis 4 Minnesota 0
New Jersey 4 Buffalo 1
Philadelphia 3 Detroit 1
Montreal at Florida, 6 p.m.
Washington at Anaheim, 8 p.m.

Monday, February 18th

HTJHL
Quarterfinals
Springfield vs Mitchell
@ Oakbank, 7 p.m.
(Mohawks lead best of 5 series 2-1)

MJHL
Winkler at Steinbach, 2:30 p.m.
Neepawa at Selkirk, 4 p.m.
Virden at Portage, 4:30 p.m.
Swan Valley at Wayway, 6 p.m.

Hockey Manitoba
Senior AAA Championship
Norway House at Ste. Anne, 6:30 p.m.
(game 3 if necessary)

WHL
Swift Current at Brandon, 2:30 p.m.

AHL
Manitoba vs Milwaukee
@ Wpg, 2 p.m.

NHL
Arizona at Calgary, 3 p.m.
Tampa Bay at Columbus, 6:30 p.m.
Ottawa at Chicago, 7:30 p.m.
Vegas at Colorado, 8 p.m.
Boston at San Jose, 9 p.m.
Washington at Los Angeles, 9:30 p.m.

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