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Blues edge Pistons in opener

By: Terry Frey

Posted: 03/26/2015 7:37 AM

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The Winnipeg Blues edged the Steinbach Pistons 3-2 in the opening game of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League semi-finals Wednesday night in Steinbach.

Tied 2-2 after 40 minutes, Maverick Rafter scored the winning goal for the Blues midway through the third.

The Pistons were behind the eight-ball from the beginning as Liam Bilton beat Nick Deery just 56 seconds after the opening face-off as fans at the T.G. Smith Centre were still settling in and making their way to their seats.

Then just four minutes later the Blues scored again as Mack Heisinger scored to give the Blues 2-0 lead on the stunned Pistons.

But the Pistons fought back and narrowed the gap to 2-1 before the first period was over as defenceman James Shearer scored on the powerplay on a laser from the point with just over three minutes remaining in the period. Dustin Loeppky set up that goal as he leads the Pistons in playoff scoring with six points in five games.

Denis Bosc, who was flying all night, tied it for the Pistons midway through second as the old barn erupted into its traditional playoff type atmosphere.

After the Blues took the lead in the third, the Pistons pressed, even had a man advantage in the final minute but couldn't get the equalizer as Scott Parson made 33 saves for the Blues. Steinbach outshot Winnipeg 35-27 in the contest.

Game two in the series will be played Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the MTS Iceplex and then back to Steinbach for game three, also at 7:30 p.m.

Meanwhile the other MJHL semi-final series also got underway last night at Portage as the Terriers beat the Virden Oil Capitals 1-0..

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