Pistons come up just short in Centennial Cup opener


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The Steinbach Pistons will have to wait at least one more night before they can notch their first win at a national championship.

Steinbach took the Collingwood Blues of the Ontario Junior Hockey League to the limit, but couldn’t finish the job in overtime, losing 2-1 in their opening game at the Centennial Cup in Portage la Prairie.

It was undisciplined play which doomed the Pistons effort, as Langley Kruggel took a four-minute kneeing penalty with the game tied at one and 1:30 to go in the third period.

Ian Amsbaugh opened the scoring for Steinbach at the Centennial Cup in Portage la Prairie. (Cassidy Dankochik The Carillon)

After a heroic effort to kill off the entire penalty, including 2:30 of 4 on 3 in the overtime, on the next shift Parker Jasper was sent right back to the box. Jasper was caught reaching while attempting to contain a Blues player, tripping his man and sending the Blues right back to the powerplay.

Steinbach couldn’t pull out a second extended kill, as Robert Strachan took advantage on the 4 on 3, walking into a wrist shot that beat Dominik Wasik, and sent the Pistons back to the locker room disappointed.

It was a cautious first period between the two clubs, who were both playing their first game of the championships. After 10 minutes, shots were only 3-1 in favour of Steinbach.

The best chance of the period came off the stick of Dawson Milliken, who forced a turnover in the neutral zone while shorthanded, deked around a Collingwood defender, but couldn’t beat starter Noah Pak.

The teams exchanged goals in the second period, with Collingwood breaking the ice six minutes into the frame. Nathan Omeri made a great move after receiving the puck at the left point, setting up Mark McIntosh in the slot for a one-time goal which beat Wasik.

Ian Amsbaugh would reply for the Pistons, making a great off-puck cut to find some space in the high slot, wristing a shot past Pak’s blocker.

Kirk Mullen is hooked as he bears down on Collingwood's goaltender during the Pistons first game at the Centennial Cup in Portage la Prairie. (Cassidy Dankochik The Carillon)

Neither team could find the back of the net in the third. Ty Paisley had the best chance of the frame, sending a shot off the shaft of Pak’s stick in tight.

Earlier results in the day included the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Battlefords North Stars defeating the Superior International Junior Hockey League’s Kam River Fighting Walleye 4-1, and the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Brooks Bandits easily handling the Maritime Hockey League’s Yarmouth Mariners 7-2

There won’t be much time to lament the loss, as Steinbach is back in action tomorrow night, in a all-Manitoba matchup at the Centennial Cup, taking on the host Portage Terriers. Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m.

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