The Carillon - ONLINE EDITION
By: Terry Frey
Posted: 03/15/2018 8:01 AM
The Steinbach Pistons completed the four-game sweep of the Swan Valley Stampeders Wednesday night in Swan River in the MJHL quarter-finals. But it took a herculean effort to get it done.
After outscoring the Stampeders 15-1 in the first three games of the series, the Pistons scored a see-saw, come-from-behind, 6-5 double overtime victory over the Stampeders last night.
The winner came from defenceman Mark Taraschuk 8:18 into the second overtime period. Taraschuk, who had a goal and three assists in the game, now leads the league in playoff scoring with eight points in four games.
This game started innocently enough, with the Pistons taking their customary 2-0 lead early in the game on goals by Bradley Schoonbaert and Riese Gaber just 19 seconds apart. Steinbach led 3-1 after 20 minutes as Austin Heidemann later scored Steinbach's third goal.
But a calamitous second period saw the Stampeders explode for four unanswered goals, two by Dane Hirst to stun the Pistons, and take a 5-3 lead into the third. The backbreaker appeared to be Josh Tripp's shorthanded breakaway goal that beat Matt Radomsky with 24 seconds left in the period that gave Swan Valley the 5-3 lead.
But the heavily favoured Pistons, who had already beaten the Stampeders nine straight times this year, were not dead yet. This team is just too good.
Daniel McKitrick made it 5-4 eight minutes into the third and then with the push late to get the tying goal, Jack Johnson scored with 2:11 remaining in regulation to send this game to overtime.
Josh Tripp and Daniel Chartrand each had a goal and an assist for the Stampeders, who were the eighth and final qualifier for the post-season as they came close to taking this game back to Steinbach for game five. The Pistons, who finished first overall in the standings and have home ice advantage through the playoffs, outshot the Stampeders 55-44 in this playoff thriller at Swan.
One other game last night saw the Winkler Flyers blank the OCN Blizzard 3-0 to take a commanding 3-1 lead in their series.
The Pistons have an extended nine-day break before they open the semi-finals March 23 at home in Steinbach against a still undetermined opponent.
The Red River Mudbugs edged the Steinbach Huskies 4-3 Thursday night at St. Jean, ending the Huskies' seven-game Hanover Tache Junior Hockey League win streak.
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