READING, PENNSYLVANIA – Game One of the North Division Semifinal between the Brampton Beast and the Reading Royals featured a hotly-contested goalie dual between Beast starter Andrew D’Agostini and the Royals’ Mark Dekanich.
D’Agostini weathered an early reading charge and finished the game with an impressive 34-save performance in his professional playoff debut but Dekanich stood on his head and allowed just one goal on 44 Brampton shots to help the Royals steal a 2-1 victory from the Beast to go ahead 1-0 in the series at Santander Arena on Thursday night.
Connor Crisp scored the lone goal for the Beast in the second period, while Robbie Czarnik and Todd Perry lit the lamp for Reading.
The Royals came out strong to start the first period and outshot the Beast 15-10 to start the contest. D’Agostini was flawless until the 7:10 mark of the opening frame when Czarnik came down the right wing and snapped a perfect shot over the blocker shoulder for a 1-0 Reading lead.
The Beast regrouped during the first intermission and came out flying to start the second period, firing 17 shots against Dekanich in the frame.
In spite of the hot Beast pressure, it would be the Royals who earned the next goal as Perry found himself with a good shooting lane at the top of the left wing circle and sent a strong shot over the pad of D’Agostini, giving the Royals a 2-0 edge at 9:50 of the second period.
The Beast remained poised and in control throughout the remainder of the second period and continued to hammer pucks on goal. At the 13:25 mark of the period, the Beast finally broke through the armour of Dekanich.
With the Beast enjoying their first power play of the game, Reggie Traccitto found the puck in the high slot and sent a hard low shot toward the goal. Crisp, battling hard to earn his space in front of the Reading goal, got his stick on the shot and redirected home his first goal of the playoffs, putting the Beast back in it at 2-1.
As the third period began, the Beast picked up the intensity in a big way and controlled the play for the majority of the final period. Brampton, for the second consecutive period, peppered the Reading net with 17 shots but Dekanich shut the door time and time again.
The Beast weren’t just putting pucks in net throughout the third period, they were creating multiple Grade A chances at almost every opportunity, but Dekanich was had an answer for every Beast opportunity and weathered the storm until the final buzzer.
NOTES: Molson Three Stars 3) Andrew D’Agostini (BRM) 2) Todd Perry (REA) 1) Mark Dekanich (REA). The Beast finished the game 1-for-2 on the man advantage and a perfect 3-for-3 on the penalty kill. Prior to the game, Tim Billingsley was reassigned to the Beast from the club’s AHL affiliate, the St. John’s IceCaps. The Beast will have a day off before returning to Santander Arena for Game Two of the North Division Semifinal on Saturday, April 15 at 7:00PM.
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