BRAMPTON, ONTARIO – Brampton Beast goaltender Zach Fucale turned in another otherworldly performance making 45 saves to spark the Beast to storm back from a 2-0 deficit to claim Game One of the North Division Finals 3-2 over the Manchester Monarchs in overtime at the Powerade Centre in Brampton on Thursday night.
Connor Crisp scored the game-tying goal early in the third period and ended the game with his second of the night just over a minute into overtime to seal the Beast’s third overtime victory of the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
The first period was a fast-paced affair but it was the Monarchs who quickly took control of the opening frame, outshooting the Beast 19-7. Beast starting goaltender Zach Fucale was dynamite in the opening frame and weathered the storm as best he could, but with just over two minutes remaining in the first, Zac Lynch capitalized on a goalmouth scramble and scored the first goal of the contest at 17:57.
The Monarchs continued to press early in the second period as Lynch capitalized on an unfortunate hop of the puck inside Beast territory and roofed home his second of the game to make it 2-0 just 1:02 into the period.
The Manchester goal served as a wakeup call for the Beast who wasted no time responding with a goal of their own. Luke Pither used his blazing speed to cut in on a partial breakaway against Monarchs starter Sam Brittain. The Monarchs’ keeper made a great initial save but Brandon MacLean charged in to send the rebound into the open goal for his team-leading fourth goal of the postseason just 23 seconds later at 2:23.
The Beast continued to trail 2-1 heading into the third period but they didn’t have to wait long to tie the game. David Vallorani cut in on a 2-on-1 down the right wing side and faked his defender and found a wide open Connor Crisp, who roofed home his second of the postseason to tie the game at 1:26.
The remainder of the third period was a tense affair as the Beast fought hard to find the go-ahead goal but both Brittain and Fucale were up to the task. Fucale was the busier of the two netminders in the third period and made 15 saves, including an incredible diving save across the goalmouth in the dying minutes to help keep the game alive and force overtime.
The Beast rewarded Fucale’s strong play with an early goal in the extra frame. Just 1:27 into the overtime period, Connor Crisp curled around the back of the Manchester goal on a wraparound attempt. He banked the puck off the Manchester defender where it took a fortunate bounce and curled into the net just inside the far post, giving the Beast the incredible victory.
NOTES: Molson Three Stars: 3) Brandon MacLean (BRM) 2) Zach Fucale (BRM) 1) Connor Crisp (BRM). The Beast were not assessed a single penalty and finished 0-for-2 on the power play. The Beast and Monarchs will suit up for Game Two of the North Division Finals on Saturday, April 29 at the Powerade Centre at 7:15PM.
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