Steinbach Pistons defeat Swan Valley Stampeders 4-2
A tough, very close series ended in game 6 with Steinbach coming out of Swan Valley with a 3-2 win to close out the second round series and send the Pistons to their second straight Turnbull Cup Final.
Five out of the six games were decided by just a single goal with three of the games decided by double overtime.
There was a mix of strong offensive showings, excellent defensive work, and top of the line goaltending.
Weird fact, the team that opened the scoring only went on to win one of the six games played. Swan scored first in every game but game 5.
By The Numbers
Steinbach: Power Play 4/19, Penalty Kill 13/14
Swan Valley Power Play: 1/14, Penalty Kill 15/19
Dominik Wasik – 4-2, 180 saves on 196 shots
Kobe Grant – 2-4, 241 saves on 262 shots
Series Scoring Leaders:
STB – Ty Paisley – 4 goals, 7 assists for 11 pts
SWN – Justin Keck – 3 goals, 4 assists for 7 pts
STB – Dawson Milliken – 5 goals, 1 assist for 6 pts
STB – Davis Fry – 2 goals, 4 assists for 6 pts
SWN – Jakob Jones – 2 goals, 3 assists for 5 pts
STB – Kirk Mullen – 2 goals, 3 assists for 5 pts
SWN – Colin Jennings – 1 goal, 4 assists for 5 pts
SWN – Adam Rajsigl – 3 goals, 2 assists for 5 pts
Game 1: Steinbach wins 5-4 in double OT
After scoring three goals in just under five minutes of the first period to take a 3-1 lead into the second, the Stamps clawed their way back with three straight goals of their own, spread out over the second and third periods.
With the net empty and under two minutes to go, the coaching staff drew up an offensive zone play that was executed to perfection, scoring to tie the game 4-4 and send it into overtime.
After the first 10:00 extra frame solved nothing, the teams went into double overtime where MJHL playoff scoring leader Ty Paisley and Pistons Captain Dawson Milliken managed to force a turnover at their own blueline and race down the ice on a two-on-one. Paisley fired a missile of a shot top shelf to end the game with Steinbach grabbing a 1-0 series lead with a 5-4 double overtime win.
Game 2: Steinbach wins 5-1
Both goaltenders put on a show early in game 2 as the fatigue from game one took its toll early with both teams working to get into a rhythm.
For a second straight game it was the Stamps scoring first as Justin Keck continued his epic playoff scoring run notching his 7th goal of the post-season to that point.
Steinbach managed to fight their way back to tie the game in the first and then grab the lead in the second. One of the heart and soul warriors for the Pistons, Hunter Degelman, came tearing out of the penalty box, he managed to pick up a free puck in the neutral zone and raced in all alone slipping a quick shot through the arm of the goaltender and in to put Steinbach up 2-1.
The Pistons took off from there scoring three more goals, two of which came on power plays later in the third period, to put game 2 away with a solid 5-1 win at the TG Smith Centre.
Game 3: Steinbach wins 3-2 in double OT
The series changed locations but much of what the teams experienced in the previous two games followed them into Swan Valley Centennial Arena.
This time, Swan managed to score the first two goals of the game, one in the first by Darius Makse and another early in the second by Alex Walicki.
However, the pesky Pistons yet again found a way to battle back. First a seeing eye shot from the point by defender Ethan Johnson, followed up by a third period power play goal by Dawson Milliken.
For the second time in a three-game span, the number 2 and 3 ranked teams in the MJHL respectively were off to overtime where, once again, it solved nothing.
In double overtime, both teams had moments where it looked like they were set to end the game, but Wasik and Grant were up to the task.
Eventually, off a scramble play in the Stamps defensive zone, Milliken took a puck off a skate and put a sneaky backhander on goal that found its way through, putting Steinbach up 3-0 in the series.
Game 4: Swan Valley wins 4-3 in double OT
Both teams came out on a mission in game 4. One determined to put the series away while the other was fighting for their playoff life.
It was a scoreless opening 20 minutes thanks to stellar goaltending from Kobe Grant who made 19 saves in the period. Not to be outdone, Dominik Wasik stepped up with 15 saves of his own as both teams piled up the shots.
For the first time in the series, Steinbach scored first putting pressure on the home side. Milliken’s third straight goal in the series was quickly matched by Keck who potted his 8th of the playoffs. The teams traded goals quickly after with Paisley putting Steinbach ahead but Callum Halls deflecting a Collin Jennings point shot to tie the game 2-2.
In the third, a late power play goal by Adam Rajsigl looked like it might give Swan the game in regulation, but Steinbach’s Landon Roberts picked a great time to score his first of the playoffs as the hulking power forward crashed the net and knocked home a rebound with just over three minutes to go in regulation.
For an unprecedented third time in the first four games of the series, the teams gutted their way into yet another double overtime.
It didn’t take long for Rajsigle to send the home fans home happy and keep the Stamps season alive as the veteran defender floated a puck through from the point that found the back of the net, giving the Stamps life with a 4-3 double overtime win.
Game 5: Swan Valley wins 3-2
Simply put, game 5 was the Kobe Grant show.
In the opening period, Steinbach pushed with waves of pressure, but Grant and his defenders never blinked. They stood tall blocking some key shots, clearing any loose pucks and letting their goaltender have clean lanes to see the puck.
Shots after the first were 17-9 Steinbach and a lot of the Pistons shots came in the back half of the first period.
Swan broke a scoreless draw, potting a pair just over five minutes apart. Jakob Jones slipped one through traffic for his 5th while Warren Marcotte showed off his speed and heavy shot, sneaking one through the goalie and in for his 1st playoff goal.
Time and time again, Steinbach would mount some offence only to have shots stopped by Grant or
Late in the second period, the Pistons were finally able to get on the board. After the original shot clanked off the post, Kirk Mullen batted home the rebound with just 3.3 seconds left on the clock, giving Steinbach a bit of life, cutting the lead to 2-1 with his third of the playoffs.
Shots after two periods were 37-19 Steinbach.
Birthday boy Steven Arp provided a critical insurance goal late in the third, giving Swan a bit of breathing room up 3-1. It turned out to be massive as Steinbach scored to cut the lead to 3-2 but just ran out of time as the teams set out back to Swan Valley a little closer in the series, 3-2.
Game 6: Steinbach wins 3-2
In another hard-fought defensive struggle and for the fifth game of the series, just a single goal decided the outcome as a strong second period by Steinbach proved to be the difference.
Josh Danis opened the scoring for Swan after some great work by Captain Tyler Park as he forced a turnover in the neutral zone, raced down behind the Pistons goal and muscled his way to fight the puck free, sending it out to Danis for his second of the post-season.
Steinbach took over in the middle period.
First, it was Travis Hensrud scoring to tie the game after the 20-year-old worked a pretty little bounce pass of the boards to himself, turned on the jets and burned around the Stamps defender before letting loose a laser off the far post and in for his 4th goal.
Ian Amsbaugh gave the Pistons the lead after a point shot from rookie stud defender Noah Szabo was blocked, the rookie/veteran Amsbaugh found the loose puck and buried his 5th, putting the Pistons up 2-1 exactly one minute after Hensrud tied it.
After a penalty kill kept them in the lead, Ty Paisley was sent in on a partial breakaway where the 19-year-old once again showed off his impressively heavy and accurate shot, blowing the puck past the goalie and giving his team a 3-1 cushion.
Swan refused to go away as Walicki collected his second of the playoffs chipping in a loose puck with under a minute and a half to go in the period.
That’s as close as Swan would get.
The Pistons locked down the third period with expert defensive play. They smothered the Stamps in all three zones, refusing to let the dangerous lineup get any kind of momentum.
Up by just one goal for the whole frame, Steinbach gave up only 7 shots in the entire third period, on their way to a 3-2 win in the game and 4-2 win in the series.
Both teams took time in the handshake lines to show their respect for one another. Steinbach Coach Paul Dyck and Stampeders Coach Barry Wolfe shared an exchange and had nothing but positives to say about the others organization.
Swan Valley Stampeder Graduating Players:
Myles Mason, Justin Keck, Noah Wilson, Adam Rajsigl, Captain Tyler Park, Collin Jennings and MJHL Top Goaltender Kobe Grant