BRAMPTON, ONTARIO – For the second straight game, Brampton Beast netminder Zach Fucale turned in a flawless performance, this time making 23 saves to lift the Beast to first place in the North Division with an energetic 3-0 win over the Adirondack Thunder in front of 5,020 screaming school children at the Powerade Centre on Tuesday afternoon.
Jordan Henry netted the game-winner in the second period while, Brandon Marino enjoyed a big two-point game and Brandon MacLean added a single tally of his own to help the Beast take a two crucial points from their division rivals.
Fuelled by a sellout crowd for School Day at the Powerade Centre, the Beast came out flying in the first twenty minutes to the screams of the thousands of Peel Region school children.
The first period was a back-and-forth affair as both teams enjoyed the energy boost from the capacity crowd assembled at the Powerade Centre. The teams skated to a scoreless opening period as both Fucale and Thunder starting goaltender Mason McDonald looked sharp heading into the first intermission. The Beast enjoyed a 11-10 edge on the shot clock after 20 minutes of play.
Midway through the game, the home team sent the crowd into a frenzy when Henry opened the scoring at 9:30. After Marino picked off an Adirondack clearing attempt along the half-boards, the Beast captain slid the puck to Henry at the left point and he fired off a laser of a slap shot that darted past McDonald on the far side, giving Henry his eighth goal of the season.
The remainder of the period was a tightly-contested affair with neither team wanting to give up any significant opportunities. The Thunder outshot the Beast 7-5 in the second period to earn a 17-16 edge on the shot clock heading into the final period.
Early in the final frame, Beast defenseman Willie Corrin took a step in over the red line and send a hard shot in wide of the goal. The puck took a solid bounce off the back wall and Brandon MacLean hustled hard to meet the loose puck and slammed home his 20th goal of the season to give the Beast a much-needed two-goal lead at 7:48.
The Thunder fought back hard throughout the remainder of the third period and sent six shots against Fucale in the final stanza alone, but the Beast netminder appeared cool, calm and collected and stopped every puck sent his way.
The giant crowd assembled at the Powerade Centre were forced to hold their breath in the final moments as the Beast were nabbed on back-to-back penalties late in the third period. The Thunder elected to pull their goaltender in the final three minutes but Marino put the game away at 17:16 as he outmuscled the Adirondack defenseman and buried a shorthanded empty-netter to seal the victory.
Notes: Molson Three Stars: 3) Brandon MacLean (BRM) 2) Jordan Henry (BRM) 1) Zachary Fucale (BRM). The Beast will hit the road to take on the Kalamazoo Wings on Friday at 7:00PM before traveling to Toledo to take on the Walleye at the Huntington Center on Sunday evening at 5:15PM.
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