BRAMPTON, ONTARIO – Brampton Beast forward Luke Pither lit the lamp with just over two minutes remaining in regulation time to give the Beast the lead for good to lead Brampton into the Kelly Cup Playoffs on a high note as they edged the Manchester Monarchs 5-4 at the Powerade Centre on Saturday night.
Birthday Boy Connor Crisp led the charge with a goal and two helpers while goaltender Andrew D’Agostini was once again rock solid with a 35-save night, giving the Beast a 40-win season and setting up a first round matchup against the Reading Royals.
After an evenly played opening frame, the Monarchs struck first late in the period as Mario Puskarich sent a shot on goal that tumbled over D’Agostini’s arm and into the net with 14 seconds remaining to give Manchester a lead after the opening 20 minutes.
The Beast regrouped during the first intermission and came out flying in the second. Connor Crisp was in the right place at the right time to bang in a rebound for his 14th of the season, tying the game just 44 seconds into the second.
And the Beast weren’t done there. With the teams playing four-on-four, David Pacan entered the Manchester zone on an odd-man rush and beat Monarchs netminder Jack Flinn with a quick shot for his 41st goal of the season to give the Beast a 2-1 lead at 3:14.
Less than a minute later, the Monarchs got it back thanks to Peter Leblanc’s power play goal at 4:28.
Later in the period, the Beast would fight hard to retake the lead. With the Beast applying immense pressure while killing a penalty, Reggie Traccitto settled a puck in the high slot and rifled a hard low shot on goal that beat Flinn between the legs, restoring the Beast lead at 3-2.
The score remained the same heading into the third period. This time, it was the Monarchs who came out flying as Ashton Rome and Tyler Sikura both lit the lamp, giving Manchester a lead by the four-minute mark of the third period.
The resilient Beast would not give up. Chris Leveille settled a puck behind the opposition goal and found a wide-open Chris Auger in front of the net. Auger roofed home his 21st goal of the season from point-blank range to tie the game at 6:13.
With overtime looming late in the third period, Luke Pither was determined to end the game in regulation time. He settled down a loose puck in the high slot, then turned and fired a low shot that beat FLinn cleanly with only 2:13 remaining in the third period to restore the Beast lead.
The Royals would pull their goaltender in the final moments but D’Agostini stood tall down the stretch to prevent a Manchester comeback and lock down a victory in their final regular season match of the season.
The first four games of the Beast’s opening round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs against the Reading Royals have been confirmed.
Game One – Brampton @ Reading, Thursday, April 13 @ 7:00 PM ET
Game Two – Brampton @ Reading, Saturday, April 15 @ 7:00 PM ET
Game Three – Reading @ Brampton, Tuesday, April 18 @ 7:15 PM ET - TICKETS
Game Four – Reading @ Brampton, Thursday, April 20 @ 7:15 PM ET - TICKETS
Notes: Molson Three Stars: 3) David Pacan (BRM) 2) Chris Auger (BRM) 1) Connor Crisp (BRM). The Beast finished the game 1-for-6 on the power play and 5-for-6 on the penalty kill. David Pacan finished the regular season tied with Florida’s Brendan O’Donnell for the league lead in goals with 41.
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