TORONTO, ONTARIO – Veteran forward Frank Littlejohn beat the University of Toronto Varsity Blues goaltender in the shootout to help the Brampton Beast outlast the Varsity Blues 5-4 in the club’s first preseason game ahead of the 2017-18 ECHL season at Varsity Arena on Wednesday night.
Mark Bennett, Alex Vazquez, Macoy Erkamps and Cody Donaghey all scored in regulation time for the Beast in their first preseason tuneup.
The Varsity Blues got on the board early in the first and took a 2-0 lead by the 8:26 mark of the opening frame thanks to goals from Aidan Wallace and Ryan Kirkup.
The Beast would get one back quickly as Bennett scored the club’s first goal of the preseason. Cutting into the zone on an odd-man rush, Bennett elected to keep the puck and roofed it quickly into the top corner to cut the deficit to 2-1 at the 10:50 mark of the period.
The home side carried the lead into the first intermission and owned a 12-7 edge in shots.
The Beast gained some momentum to start the second period and found their rhythm. Vazquez located the puck on the right wing side and placed a perfect shot into the top corner for his first of the preseason at 12:10 to tie the game at two.
Less than a minute later, the Beast earned their first lead of the game as Erkamps executed a beautiful move in tight and scored his first of the preseason at 12:55.
The Varsity Blues got it back later in the frame as Wallace lit the lamp for his second of the night to tie the game with 2:29 left in the second period.
The University of Toronto edged ahead again with only 7:34 remaining in the third period thanks to a goal from Max Lindsay but the Beast weren’t done fighting.
With the Beast shorthanded and with less than a minute remaining in regulation time, the Beast swarmed the Varsity Blues’ net and Donaghey pounced on a loose puck and scored his first goal in a Beast uniform with just 30.8 seconds left to force overtime.
A back-and-forth overtime period solved nothing as the teams skated hard during a whistle-free overtime frame.
Andrew D’Agostini and Patrick Spano split goaltending duties for the Beast and combined to make 26 saves.
The Beast outshot the Varsity Blues 31-30.