The Carillon - ONLINE EDITION
By: Terry Frey
Posted: 05/11/2018 11:44 AM
Holding their final practice Thursday afternoon at the T.G. Smith Centre, the Steinbach Pistons fly to Chilliwack, B.C., Friday afternoon to begin their to quest to add a national championship to their already incredible season.
When the Pistons first took to the ice in early September, more than nine months ago, to get ready for this season, there were high expectations for success. They were coming off a season where they won their first MJHL pennant, and were the odds on favourites to win the MJHL title. Of course that didn't happen as the fifth place Portage Terriers ousted the Pistons in the semi-finals as the Terriers rolled to their third straight MJHL crown.
But now here we are, the Pistons won their second straight pennant by a country mile, reaching 100 points on the season and have kept up that torrid pace this spring winning the MJHL and ANAVET Cup titles.
As the Pistons wing their way to Chilliwack to begin play in the 2018 RBC Cup National Junior 'A' Championship, which runs May 12-20, some of their legions of fans are finalizing travel plans of their own to follow the Pistons on this latest quest.
City staff have turned off the ice plant at the Pistons' home rink and have begun the process of removing the ice, as Centennial Arena has gone silent following a momentous hockey season here in Steinbach.
When the Pistons return to Steinbach on May 21, the ice will be gone, no longer needed, but if all goes to plan, they will have the RBC Cup with them in tow.
More than 130 Canadian Junior Hockey League teams began play in their various leagues, including the Manitoba Junior Hockey League last September, and there are only five remaining that will be competing for the RBC Cup, including the host Chilliwack Chiefs.
The four other regional representivies are the Steinbach Pistons (West), the Wenatchee Wings (Pacific), the Wellington Dukes (Central) and the Ottawa Jr. Senators (East).
The tournament begins Saturday with two games as Wellington will face Ottawa at 4:00 p.m. and Wellington will go up against Chilliwack at 9:00 p.m. (Central time). Former Piston Danny Pion is a member of the Senators.
Each of the four teams will play four round robin games. The Pistons will open their tournament Sunday at 4:00 p.m. vs. Wenatchee and then will face Wellington Monday at 9:00 p.m.
The Pistons will complete their round robin against Ottawa Wednesday at 9:00 p.m. and versus Chilliwack Thursday at 9:00 p.m.
Semi-finals are Saturday at 4:00 and 9:00 p.m. The championship game, which will be broadcast nationally on TSN will be played Sunday, May 20 at 6:00 p.m.
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