BRAMPTON, ON - From the opening faceoff, it was a faster, stronger, and more composed Brampton Beast team that took to the ice on Sunday for their second game of the season, but the improved effort wasn’t enough to see them win their first game in the ECHL as the Toledo Walleye rallied from a two-goal deficit to win 4-2.
Despite the strong start which saw Brampton play a controlled, puck-possession style game throughout the opening 40 minutes in front of a crowd of 2 404, the Beast were again unable to generate sustained pressure in the third period, firing only seven shots on goal in the final frame.
After losing their home opener to the Walleye on Friday by a score of 6-3, the Beast came out of the gate for the Sunday matinee with energy and speed, and took their game to Toledo’s zone right from the drop of the puck. After several quality scoring chances through the opening minutes of the period, it was the line of Tyler Donati, Chad Painchaud and Stephon Thorne who broke through to give the Beast their first lead of the season. Donati found Thorne in front of the net, who absorbed an open-ice hit from a Toledo defender before firing a wrist shot glove-side past goaltender Jeff Lerg to put the Beast up 1-0.
The top line would continue to show off their newfound chemistry in the second period, when a streaking Donati used his explosive speed to manufacture a 2-on-1 and tip Painchaud’s pass past a sprawling Lerg to double the Beast lead. At the other end of the ice, Beast netminder Grant Rollheiser was brilliant, making several clutch saves to energize his team and preserve the lead.
With Brampton seemingly in control at the halfway mark of the second, Andrew Darrigo was called for a five-minute major and game misconduct penalty for slashing, sending the Beast to the penalty kill where Anthony Luciani scored his first of the year to cut the lead to one with his first of the season.
Less than five minutes later, after quick goals from Marek Tverdon and Dane Walters which came 26 seconds apart, the Beast found themselves in a 3-2 hole with less than two minutes in the period, and from that moment seemed to lose the hard-hitting edge that saw them win the majority of puck battles early on.
The lackluster effort spilled into the third, as the Beast struggled to enter the offensive zone and generate quality chances, icing the puck on consecutive shifts while trying to get a man behind the Walleye defense. With a tired Beast line on the ice, Shane Berschbach was able to corral a point shot from Tyler Barnes that deflected off the end boards, and put the rebound past a diving Rollheiser to put Toledo up 4-2 to stay.
The next home series starts Thursday November 6 when they take on the Quad City Mallards at 7:00 pm. The Beast saddle up for the second game of the series when they bring country night to the Powerade Centre for an evening of prizes, giveaways and country music. On Sunday, the Beast will be wearing their specialty Remembrance Day jerseys, which will be auctioned off live following the game.
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