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Pistons down Blues in opener

By: Terry Frey

Posted: 03/24/2018 7:58 AM

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A 3-1 victory over the Winnipeg Blues Friday night in Steinbach has given the Steinbach Pistons a 1-0 lead in their Manitoba Junior Hockey League semi-final series.

The favoured Pistons, who finished first overall in the league this year, showed no ill effects from their nine-day lay-off after sweeping Swan Valley in the quarter-finals.

Winnipeg finished sixth overall this season, but was coming off a quarter-final victory over the third ranked Portage Terriers, who were also the three-time defending champions.

But the Pistons are a whole new ball of wax for the Blues as Steinbach dominated most of the play, outshooting the Blues 52-27.

Scoreless after the first, defenceman Mark Wilson gave the Pistons the lead five minutes into the second, but Levi Cudmore tied it for the Blues just 90 seconds later.

Bradley Schoonbaert scored what proved to the winning goal just 48 second into the third, and then Mark Wilson, with his second, added an insurance marker six minutes later.

Matthew Thiessen picked up the win net making 26 saves while Jeremy Link was also superb at the other end turning aside 49 shots.

Game two in the best-of-seven series will be played Sunday at 6:30 p.m. at Bell MTS Iceplex, with game three back in Steinbach Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, the other semi-final series also got underway last night as the hometown Virden Oil Capitals defeated the Winkler Flyers 3-2 in overtime on the winner from Ben Dalke three minutes into the exrra session.

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