ELMIRA, NY – It was Halloween night in the Empire State, and while the Brampton Beast were able to exorcise some of the defensive demons that plagued them in their first two games of the season, their comeback effort came up just short as they fell 3-2 to the Elmira Jackals in overtime.
Goaltender Trevor Cann made 46 saves in the loss; his second in two starts this season, but improved his save percentage and goals against average with his stellar performance and kept his team in the game despite a 49-22 differential in shots.
The action was back and forth early on with both teams showing patience in their defensive zones. After killing a Jason Dale tripping penalty, the Beast went to the powerplay with five minutes remaining in the period and looked poised to grab momentum, but a turnover from Elgin Reid at the blueline allowed Matt Tassone a shorthanded breakaway. Despite getting tripped by Reid and falling to his knees, Tassone was able to score a highlight-reel goal top-shelf on Cann with an incredible individual effort. Elmira finished the period with a 19-7 shot advantage.
Cann was sharp again to start the second frame, robbing Ryan Rashid twice on back-to-back opportunities at the two-and-a-half minute mark, and continued pressure from the Jackals kept the Beast hemmed in their own zone. Shortly afterwards, Kevin Hart was able to get the puck past a sprawling Cann to put Elmira up 2-0.
Facing a two-goal deficit in their first road game of the season, the Beast rallied around one of their first-year pros Dustin Ekelman, who found his scoring touch nearly ten minutes later for his first goal in a Brampton uniform. With Ekelman rushing the puck and the Jackals defenders shifting to cover Mike MacIsaac who was getting out of the penalty box, the 25-year-old native of Whitby, Ontario used his burning speed to drive the net and cut across the crease, putting the puck in 5-hole on his backhand to cut the deficit in half.
A few minutes later, Steven Shamanski nearly restored the Jackals two-goal lead only to have his shot ring off the goalpost behind Cann. The near-miss seemed to awaken something in the Beast, who went on to record six of the final seven shots of the period but were unable to find the equalizer before the end of the second.
That would change 6:28 into the third, when the Beast’s top line was finally able to break through on the scoreboard. With the team cycling the puck down low, Chad Painchaud found Tyler Donati backdoor on a brilliant passing play to tie the game at two and record the Beast’s first goal of the season scored in the third period. Jason Dale would record the secondary assist on the play.
The goal set up a tense finish to the period with Elmira having the bulk of the quality scoring chances late, but Cann stood tall to keep his team alive and push the game into overtime, where just 1:13 in Brayden Irwin’s slapshot from just over the blue line found its way through the Brampton goalies pads and seal the win for the Jackals.
With the loss, the Beast fell to 0-2-1 on the season and 0-0-1 on the road, but also recorded their first point as an ECHL franchise and showed continued resilience as a team in battling back from a two-goal deficit. The Beast will look to even the series against Elmira in a rematch tomorrow night at 7:05 pm/EST.
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.