The Steinbach Pistons ended the regular season on a high note, defeating the Selkirk Steelers 3-1 on Saturday night.
Short On Bodies, Not On Heart
Both Steinbach and Selkirk had a number of players out of the lineup but both teams battled hard opening the first period but it was the Pistons that were able to have long stretches in the Selkirk zone.
The Pistons forced several turnovers by the young Steelers defenders and showed well on the cycle, generating several chances.
Kyle Bettens, who put together a couple of good shifts early on, continued his strong play near the midway point of the first when he intercepted a breakout pass and went in all alone, snapping home his 10th of the year to give Steinbach a 1-0 lead.
Shots were heavily in Steinbach's favor finishing 18-9. The Pistons took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
Tyson McConnell has been stuck on 19 goals for 10 games heading into Saturday night's contest.
For the captain, 19 goals was the amount of goals he finished with last year, a career high at the Junior A level.
It looked as though McConnell scored his 20th after a wrister deflected off both posts and hopped along the goal line. The red light went on but there was no motion from the official and the play never stopped.
Instead of letting it get to him, McConnell continued on and after taking a pass from Tanner Mole, sent a wrister that got through the Steelers goalie for his official 20th goal of the year.
The goal put Steinbach ahead 2-0 and they took that lead into the third period.
Close But Holding On
Early in the third while on a power play, Selkirk dumped the puck in and as Radomsky went out to play the puck, it appeared he was bumped and that forced a turnover that the Steelers shoved into the partially open net.
The goal was allowed to stand and cut the lead 2-1.
Selkirk pushed late in the third looking for the equalizer but Radomsky along with strong defensive zone play from the whole team kept the Pistons in front before Boedey Vaeth sealed the win with his 18th of the year into an open net for 3-1 lead. Tristan Culleton had the lone assist.
The power play was 0-2 while the penalty kill was fantastic again finishing 5-6.
Kings Of The Crease
Radomsky grabbed the win finishing with 28 saves. One of the top goalies in the MJHL all season long, Radomsky's final stats line had him 1st in wins with 27, 3rd in Save Percentage with .929%. 1st in Goals Against Average at 2.06 and 1st in shutouts with 6.
Matt Lenz was also impressive this year going 12-5, GAA 2.10 and the 2nd best SV% at .930 and 3 shutouts.
Two Steinbach Pistons finished the year playing in all 60 games. Tyson McConnell and Tristan Culleton are two of only 12 players to play in each and every game this year.
Defender Doug Johnson recently announced that he has committed to the Albertus Men's Ice Hockey team for next season. "It's going to be great to play for a program with great vision", Johnson said prior to Saturday's game. "It's close to home for me too, so my parents and friends will come to watch. It's been a while for that, so it's very exciting."
Clearing Out The M*A*S*H Unit?
The Pistons were without a number of players Saturday night but could have most if not all back for the first game of the playoffs.
Troy Williams (lower body), Brendan Martin (upper body), Riley Vautour (upper body) and Nico Labossiere (upper body) all are expected to be back come game 1 vs Winnipeg.
Declan Graham (upper body) is still questionable for a return but remains hopeful that he could see action in the first round.
Brendan Westbrook (lower body) is the furthest away from returning and his status is still unclear.
Playoff Rivalry Renewed
After finishing off the regular season with a record of 39-17-4, the Pistons are in 3rd place and will host the Winnipeg Blues (31-22-2-5 for 6th place).
Last season, the Pistons defeated the Blues in 6 games in the second round of the MJHL playoffs.
A full playoff preview is coming up on STOL.com later this week, once the official schedule is released.