NOTE: Live commentary will not begin until 15 minutes before puck drop.
TODAY'S GAME: The Brampton Beast, the ECHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens, look to get off to a hot start as they open the North Division Finals against the Manchester Monarchs.
ON TOP OF THE LEAGUE: Through the first round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs, no goaltender was as good as the Beast's Zach Fucale. Entering the second round, Fucale posted a 4-1 record and leads the league in goals against average (1.20) and in save percentage (.959). As a team, the Beast allowed only nine goals through the first round of the playoffs, the fewest in the league.
REMEMBER THE REGULAR SEASON?: The Beast and the Monarchs met only three times in the 2016-17 ECHL regular season with the Beast coming away with a slight 2-1 edge. On Feb. 24, Reggie Traccitto scored in OT to give the Beast a 6-5 win at SNHU Arena in Manchester. These two teams ended the regular season together at the Powerade Centre and split a pair of games, including a 4-1 Monarchs win on April 7 followed by a 5-4 Beast victory on the final day of the regular season on April 8.
REGULAR SEASON LEADERS: Beast forward Chris Leveille had a great regular season against Manchester with five points (2G, 3A) in three games. Manchester's David Kolomatis had five assists in his three games.
LEADING BEAST SCORERS: Beast defenseman Jordan Henry enters the North Division Finals as the club's leading scorer with seven points (2G, 5A) through six games played. A trio of players are tied with four points, including Brandon MacLean (3G, 1A), Brandon Marino (2G, 2A) and Luke Pither (1G, 3A).
HOW THEY GOT HERE: The visiting Manchester Monarchs won their North Division Semifinal matchup in six games against the Adirondack Thunder. They got off to a hot start, winning the first two games at home to take a 2-0 series lead. Back in Adirondack for the remainder of the series, the teams traded wins and split the next four games, giving Manchester the series victory.
VERY SPECIAL TEAMS: The penalty kill and the power play appear to carry great significance as we head into the second round. The Monarchs rank third in the ECHL on the PK, killing 92.3% of opposition opportunities. Not to be outdone, the Beast have a 91.7% kill success rate, good for fifth in the ECHL.
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