BRAMPTON, ONTARIO – Brampton Beast forward David Vallorani cut in on a partial breakaway and slid the puck between the legs of the Reading Royals’ netminder for a huge overtime game-winner, putting an end to a wild 7-6 contest to push the Beast back into a tie for first place in the North Division standings at the Powerade Centre on Thursday night.
Linemates Vallorani and Luke Pither each recorded a pair of goals and a pair of assists while Brandon MacLean (1G, 1A), Jordan Henry (1G, 1A), Chris Leveille (2A) and David Pacan (2A) each had a multi-point night to help the Beast earn a big two points in the tight North Division.
The two teams, meeting for the first time this season, didn’t waste time exchanging pleasantries in this contest. MacLean scored the first of what would be many goals in the first frame off a hard one-timer from the right circle, opening the scoring at 4:14. Tapping his stick on the ice to call for the puck, MacLean was found by defenceman Willie Corrin with a long cross-ice pass for his 21st goal of the year on the Beast’s third shot of the game.
Minutes later while on the penalty kill, Brandon Marino took advantage as a Royals defenseman blew a tire, allowing Marino in on a shorthanded breakaway. He made no mistake tucking the puck perfectly under the crossbar for his 15th goal of the season, giving the Beast an early 2-0 edge.
Just over a minute later, Brampton found themselves up by three as Pither ripped home his 11th goal of the season. He drifted into the slot for a one-timer feed from Vallorani that connected with the open net at 8:52, making it 3-0 Brampton.
Matt Willows got Reading on the board to stop the bleeding at 13:35, pulling them to within two goals.
Less than five minutes later, the Beast struck back. Vallorani took advantage of a defensive miscue before scoring to restore the three-goal lead at 18:12. Vallorani kicked kicked the puck to his stick and tucked the puck behind Royals starter Mark Dekanich with a nifty backhand deke.
With the period winding down, Reading cut the lead to 4-2 with a goal from Olivier Labelle at 19:02, ending a wild six-goal opening period that saw both teams record 15 shots apiece.
The scoring continued in the second period with Reading eventually tying up the score 5-5 after forty minutes with a three-goal middle frame.
Willows’ second goal of the game made it 4-3 at 2:38 to start off the second with a quick goal for the visitors.
After a large stretch of trading scoring opportunities, the Beast restored their two-goal lead on the tail end of a long well executed power play at 14:45. Henry located the puck just inside the blue line and fired a rocket through traffic past Dekanich for a 5-3 lead.
The pesky Royals kept up the pressure, however, scoring two goals in the final four minutes of the second period to tie the game 5-5 before the buzzer sounded for the second intermission with goals from Olivier Labelle at 16:23 and Jonny McInnis at 19:54.
The shot clock read 28-25 in favour of the home team after 40 minutes of play.
It didn’t take the Beast very long to restore their lead early in the third period.
Pither netted his second goal of the night just 24 seconds into the third period. Much like his first goal of the game Pither took a crisp pass from Leveille and unleashed a rocket of a one-timer, giving the Beast another lead, this time at 6-5 early in the third.
The lead didn’t last long as Ryan Penny made it 6-6 at 5:18 after hopping on a rebound near Beast starting goaltender Zach Fucale.
At the end of the third, both teams had combined for a dozen goals and overtime would be needed to declare the winner.
Early in the 3-on-3 overtime period, Pither poked the puck the loose in his defensive end to spring Vallorani on a breakaway. Upon tracking down the puck, Vallorani stormed up the ice and raced by two defenders and executed a flawless backhand deke through Dekanich’s legs, for his sixth game-winning goal of the year, giving the Beast a 7-6 victory.
Fucale stopped 32 shots in the victory, while his opponent Dekanich made 33 saves in this back-and-forth thriller. The Beast’s special teams were perfect on the evening killing all three penalties and scoring on their lone power play.
Notes: Molson Three Stars: 3) Olivier Labelle (REA) 2) Luke Pither (BRM) 1) David Vallorani (BRM). The Beast and Royals will face off again tomorrow at the Powerade Centre for the final game of this two-game series. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:15PM.
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