The Steinbach Pistons scored three goals in the third period in a 6-3 win over the Winkler Flyers in Game Three of the MJHL Semi-Final on Tuesday night. The loss cuts the Flyers lead in the series to 2-1 as they get ready for Game Four, Friday night in Winkler.
After winning the first two games, the Flyers made their second trip of the series to the TG Smith Centre in Steinbach looking to take a strangle hold lead in the series. Timely goals, strong defense and tremendous goaltending were just some of the reasons why the Flyers were up 2-0 in the series. Winkler received all three of those things in Game Three as well as the final score definitely did not reflect how the hockey game unfolded.
It was another back and forth first period as both teams came out hitting. Winkler opened the scoring with 8:43 gone in the first, when Tristan Keck skated into the Pistons zone on a two-on-one and potted his sixth of the playoffs to give Winkler a 1-0 lead. Connor Hamonic and Zak Hicks assisted on Keck’s second goal of the series.
Steinbach would tie the game late in the first when Dan Taillefer’s wrist shot found its way through a screen in front of goaltender Nathan Warren and the game went tied 1-1 into the first intermission.
Winkler took the lead back early in the second period during a great shift by the line of Coltyn Bates, Jeff Michiels and Nolan McGuire. It was Bates scoring his second of the series with McGuire and Michiels drawing the assists.
Just past the midway point of the middle frame, the Pistons would capitalize on a couple of Flyer miscues and took their first lead of the series. With 7:32 to play in the second, a lucky bounce in front of the goal allowed Denis Bosc to tie the game 2-2. Just 1:04 later, Julien Koga scored on a three-on-one after a Winkler defenseman coughed the puck up at his own blueline and the Pistons had their first lead of the series.
That lead was short lived though, as the Flyers would tie it up just minutes later. Leading Cam Whyte into the Pistons’ zone on another two-on-one, Tristan Keck slid the puck over the Whyte who found the back of the net for the second time in the playoffs, tying the game 3-3 with 4:47 left before intermission.
Needing a win to avoid going down 3-0 in the series and facing elimination in Winkler on Friday night, the Pistons needed a good third period in order to get their first win of the series. After a penalty free first two periods, Thomas Mansbridge was called for slashing just one minute into the third, sending the Pistons top ranked power-play to work. Fifty one seconds into the power-play, Steinbach forward Quinton Lisoway scored the eventual game winner, putting the Pistons up 4-3. It was the Flyers’ first power-play goal allowed in eight playoff games.
The Flyers went hunting for the equalizer for the rest of the third period, and came close on numerous occasions but could not find the mark when it mattered the most. Steinbach would get some insurance with an empty netter in the final minute and would tack on another one for good measure with 38 seconds left and took Game Three 6-3.
Nathan Warren, who was named the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s Player of the Week for the second straight week, made 39 saves on the 44 shots he faced. The Pistons outshot Winkler 45-27 overall. Winkler went 0-for-1 on the power-play and 1-for-2 on the penalty-kill.
Game Four of the series will take place Friday night at the Winkler Recreation Complex (7:30pm). The Flyers, who lead the series 2-1 are 4-0 at home during the 2016 MJHL Playoffs, including a 3-2 win over the Pistons in Game Two.
Advance tickets are available at the Winkler Coop Gas Bar or at the door prior to the game.
Great Canadian Oil Change Three Stars
1st Star – F Dan Taillefer (Steinbach)
2nd Star – F Quinton Lisoway (Steinbach)
3rd Star – F Tristan Keck (Winkler)
Winkler Canvas Hardest Working Flyer of the Game
F Nolan McGuire