Pistons rookies win high scoring, chippy game to open pre-season

Landmark’s Bryce Warkentine scored a hat-trick and added an assist while newcomer Marc-Antoine Ducharme had three points for Steinbach in the rookie game vs Selkirk that ended in a wild 8-6 Pistons win.

After the Steelers opened the scoring, Warkentine picked up his first of the night to tie things up from Ducharme and Liam Saxberg. 

Warkentine would be called upon again to tie the game up in the second period when Steinbach was down 2-1 and the 16-year-old answered the bell scoring his second from Ducharme to tie things up 2-2.

He completed his hat-trick in the middle frame as he once again tied the game up after the Pistons fell behind. Warkentine’s third of the game was assisted by Kaycee Coyle. 

“The first one was kind of greasy” Warkentine said after the game about his goals. “The second was kind of greasy, too. But the third was pretty. It felt really good. I’m hoping I can keep it going and get noticed by the coaches going forward.”

Throughout the second period, both teams started to show emotion and several scrums broke out with both teams trying to get the better of the exchanges after the whistle. 

After allowing Selkirk again to grab a lead, Luke Mistelbacher had a chance to tie the game shorthanded but couldn’t convert on the breakaway.

Following the Steelers going up 5-3, the Pistons took over and it was started by a beautiful rush by defender Kaycee Coyle who picked up a puck in the neutral zone and wouldn’t be denied on his way to the net. He ripped a shot off the post and in to cut the lead to just a goal. Coyle’s marker was assisted by Ty Paisley and Liam Dumelie.

Ducharme scored the goal to knot things up at five apiece as he fought his way to the front of the net and cashed in after a wraparound attempt by Warkentine was stopped.

The power play cashed in to make it 6-5 as Paisley went one-man-army and ripped a perfect shot short side. Blake Goretzki picked up the lone helper.

Job Peters made it 7-5 after the hardworking forward fought and powered a loose puck over the goal-line from Ryder McLure and Mistelbacher. 

Mistelbacher would cash in with an empty net after Selkirk got the game back to within one and the final buzzer sounded with the Pistons taking an 8-6 victory out of the TG Smith Centre.

“Win’s a win,” assistant coach Calvin Bugyik said after the game. “It’s always nice. It’s been a long year for everyone and it looked like it at times. It was a real solid step one though, that’s for sure.”

For Bugyik, he says the rookie game is great and it’s a learning lesson for the players moving on to the main camp. “I think for some of the guys, they’ll head back to school and for the ones staying, they’ll see what our expectations are and when they get mixed into the older guys, they’ll see the pace and what the size looks like and what the jump really is.”

Being back on the bench, Bugyik says he didn’t miss a beat. “Same old, same old. Like we never left” he says with a laugh. “It’s fun to be back and doing some stuff we haven’t done in a while.”

The Steinbach Pistons host the Winkler Flyers in an exhibition game at the TG Smith Centre Friday night.


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