WHEELING, WEST VIRGINIA – Brampton Beast defenseman and Brampton native Matt Petgrave scored his first professional goal to help spark a late Beast comeback but Wheeling Nailers goaltender Sean Maguire came up with big save after big save down the stretch as the Nailers outlasted the Beast 4-3 at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling on Friday night.
Birthday boy David Pacan recorded three assists for the Beast while Petgrave, Jordan Henry and Connor Crisp each recorded singles, while starting goaltender Andrew D’Agostini had a solid outing and finished the game with 27 stops.
The Beast found themselves in an early hole as the Nailers got off to a fast start in the first period, opening a 3-0 lead by the end of the first.
Cody Wydo beat D’Agostini on a breakaway for his 30th goal of the season just 3:27 into the game. Daniel Leavens scored a power play goal, his first of the night, at 7:41 and Tyler Currier netted a goal of his own later in the first at 15:27, giving the Nailers the three-goal edge heading into the first intermission.
The Beast regrouped during the first intermission and came out flying to start the second. With Michael Webster in the penalty box to start the period, Connor Crisp took a pass in tight from David Pacan and roofed a hard shot beyond the reach of Maguire, giving Crisp his 13th goal of the season at 1:35.
The Beast’s defensive game tightened up in a big way throughout the second period as they limited the Nailers to four shots in the frame as the Beast outshot the Nailers 19-17 through 40 minutes of play.
Nailers forward Leavens pushed the Wheeling lead back to three just 2:08 into the period, but the goal seemed to wake up the Beast, who started a big comeback shortly thereafter.
Just under five minutes into the final period, Petgrave located the puck deep inside Wheeling territory and showed great poise and skill with the puck in undressing a defenseman and Maguire before sliding the puck behind the netminder for his first pro goal at 4:44.
Jordan Henry continued his hot streak and kept the comeback alive as he hit the top corner from the top of the circle with a blistering wrist shot that beat Maguire over the blocker at 13:21, giving the Beast hope, trailing 4-3 heading into the final minutes.
With D’Agostini on the bench in favour of the extra skater in the final minutes of play, the Beast threw everything they had at Maguire down the stretch. When it was all said and done, Maguire made 14 saves in the third period alone and wouldn’t give up another goal, forcing the Beast to wait another day before clinching a playoff spot.
Notes: Molson Three Stars: 3) D. Pacan (BRM) 2) Leavens (WHL) 1) Wydo (WHL). The Beast need just one point to clinch their first ever spot in the ECHL’s Kelly Cup Playoffs. The Beast finished the night 4-for-5 on the penalty kill and 1-for-2 on the man advantage. The Beast finish their final road trip of the season tomorrow night at Santander Arena as they take on the Reading Royals.
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