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Pistons drop weekend pair to Kings

Stellar goaltending goes for naught

By: Terry Frey

Posted: 02/17/2019 10:02 AM

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The Steinbach Pistons saw their seven-game winning streak come to a halt in Dauphin this weekend as they dropped a pair of 2-1 decisions to the Kings. The Friday game went to overtime so the Pistons did at least come with a point for their efforts.

There were two themes that emerged from the back-to-back 2-1 defeats. The first being the Pistons inability to score, an issue that has plagued the club from time to time this season.

Secondly, the Pistons received outstanding goaltending on both nights, despite the losses, from starter Matt Radomsky on Friday and then back-up Matt Lenz on Saturday as they made a combined 84 saves in the two games and both were named second stars in their respective games. Overall, the Kings outshot the Pistons 88-52 in the two-game series.

In Friday's game, Tanner Mole gave the Pistons a 1-0 lead late in the second and the score remained 1-0 until the final minute of the game when Leeam Tivers tied with only 1:15 remaining in regulation.

With 17 seconds left in the third, the Pistons' Easton Bennett, who is no stranger to the penalty box, took a highly costly cross-checking minor. This set the stage for Riley Shamray's winner on the powerplay just 41 seconds into overtime.

In Saturday's re-match, with the Kings holding a 2-0 lead late in the second, Easton Bennett, making amends of sorts for the previous night's infraction, scored with 54 seconds left in the middle frame to make it a 2-1 game at the break and the Pistons were not able to get the equalizer in the third.

Back to the Pistons dynamic goaltending duo of Radomsky and Lenz. Their performace in the two weekend games did not come as a surprise, they are afterall the two leading goaltenders in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.

Lenz leads the loop with a 2.01 goals against average and is second with a .931 save percentage. Radomsky, who has received the bulk of the work in net for the Pistons this season, is second with a 2.06 GAA and leads the loop with six shutouts on the season.

With five games to go in the regular season the Pistons remain in third place, which is likely where they will finish, now with a 37-15-3-0 record, two points back of the second place Swan Valley Stampeders, but the Stampeders have three games in hand on the Pistons.

Were the playoffs to start today, the Pistons would face the Dauphin Kings in the first round but more than likely it will be the Winnipeg Blues, one of the hottest teams in the MJHL. The Blues are in seventh place, two points back of Dauphin but have three games in hand on the Kings.

Whoever the Pistons face in the first round, clearly their work will be cut out for them.

The Pistons are back in action in Steinbach on Monday, Louis Riel Day, as they entertain the Winkler Flyers at 2:30 p.m. at the T.G. Smith Centre. Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck will drop the ceremonial puck at Monday's game.

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