With the backs to the wall, Steinbach Pistons staved off elimination Sunday night with a convincing 6-2 victory over Portage Terriers in Game 4 of their Turnbull Trophy final.
In front of nearly 1,200 fans at the T.G. Smith Centre, Pistons held period leads of 1-0 and 2-0, respectively. Pistons received a pair of goals from Bradley Schoonbaert, with singles coming from Hayden Goderis, Daniel Taillefer, Cole Smith and Tyler Penner.
“We’re very pleased with our effort,” Pistons’ GM/Head Coach Paul Dyck told AM 1250. “We haven’t scored first lately and it’s something we’ve done well over the last two years. I have a lot of confidence in this group and I know they are confident in themselves.
“Our 20-year-olds were facing a do or die situation. We needed them to all step up. We needed to score the first goal. I thought we also maintained our energy levels throughout the game. That was key to winning. We also did a good job eliminating their time spent in our zone.
“Our goaltender (Bengert) made big saves at key times for us. He really looked like he was in the zone. We needed contributions from everyone today. And we got it. We’re a team which plays heavy. I was pleased with our effort tonight.”
It was the first Terrier playoff loss in two years, their record is now 23-1.Terriers still hold a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven MJHL final. Game 5 is scheduled for Portage on Tuesday.
“They came out hard,” GM/Head Coach Blake Spiller told CFRY-Radio. “I didn’t think we were on our game. Their team deserved the win. It was the right score based on the play.
“We got a couple of goals like; probably courtesy. Hard to come back so late in the game. I thought we were undisciplined at times. It was one of their games; they were playing for their playoff lives. They have a veteran group and they brought their game. Credit to them.
“Hopefully we learned a bit tonight. To use a cliché, the fourth one is the toughest game to win.”
Pistons’ Roman Bengert had a shutout going late into the third until Chase Brakel scored while killing a penalty. Jeremy Leipsic scored the other Terrier goal.
EXTRA POINTS: Terriers were without rookie Nick Henry (upper body injury). Pistons’ assistant coaches Rob Smith (former Winnipeg Saints) and Stephane Pattyn (Terrier grad) both played the day before in the Allan Cup final for Southeast Prairie Thunder who lost in overtime to Alberta’s Bentley Generals. The AM 1250 three stars were Schoonbaert, Bengart and Dan Taillifer.