11/01/2014 7:40 PM
ELMIRA, NY – The growing pains continue for the Brampton Beast, who return home still in search of their first ECHL victory after losing a hard-fought contest to the Elmira Jackals by a score of 5-3 on a rainy Saturday night in New York state.
Despite giving up four straight goals to the home team and finding themselves in a deep hole halfway through the second period, the Beast again showed true character in battling back from what seemed like an overwhelming deficit to score three unanswered goals and come within one shot of tying the game in the final minutes of the third.
With Beast netminder Grant Rollheiser on the bench and six Brampton attackers on the ice pressuring hard, Elmira’s rookie goaltender Sam Marotta stood his ground and made 29 saves to record his first career ECHL win in his professional hockey debut.
Trevor Cann got the start in net for the Beast after his brilliant performance the previous night, when he stopped 46 of 49 shots in the 3-2 overtime loss to Elmira. Unfortunately for Brampton, he couldn’t replicate his earlier form as the Jackals brought their offense to the Beast zone often and early, leading the shot totals by a margin of 22-8 and scoring twice in the opening frame. Cann would be replaced by Grant Rollheiser halfway through the second period after allowing four goals on 32 shots.
Jackals captain Matt Tassone started things off for the second night in a row when a broken play in front gave him time and space with the puck to beat Cann in close. Brayden Irwin picked up a primary assist on the play, which stretched his point streak to seven games (five goals, seven assists including today's contest), and was his first of four points on the night.
The top line continued to be a problem for the Beast later in the period as the same combination of Tassone-Irwin-Taylor Stefishen combined for the Jackals second marker, this time with Irwin finding the back of the net for his fourth of the season.
On the ensuing faceoff, Stephon Thorne tried to spark his team by dropping the gloves with Todd Orlando, who at 6’ 8” and 240 pounds held a distinct height and weight advantage over the 6’ 0”, 180-pound Thorne. While the Jackals would go on to score the next two goals of the game, from Paul McIlveen at 9:19 and Irwin with his second of the night at 10:26, perhaps it was the efforts of the Beast’s number 77 who inspired his squad and set the stage for an incredible final 23 minutes of hockey.
With 2:14 remaining in the second period, a Beast rush saw Cal Wild feed Josh McQuade the puck inside the Elmira zone, who found a streaking Jason Pitton coming across the far side to complete a tic-tac-toe passing play with a shot just over the pad of Marotta and cut the lead to 4-1.
With the Beast finally on the board but down by three heading into the third, it was time to dig deep to try to force the game into overtime for the second straight night.
The response from Brampton was overwhelming.
The team came out of the gate firing five of the first six shots on goal, three in the first minute from Pitton alone, but couldn’t find a way to get the puck past Marotta. Then, with Orlando in the box for hooking and a little extra motivation for Brampton to score after the earlier fight, Pitton tipped an Elgin Reid point shot past the Jackals netminder to cut Elmira’s lead down to two and score the Beast’s first powerplay goal of the season.
After the goal, Brampton kept their foot on the gas with quality chances from McQuade and Tyler Donati keeping the crowd nervous and forcing Marotta to continue making sharp saves in the face of mounting pressure.
Then, with just 3:39 to play in the period, Chad Painchaud found Donati down low who set up Mathew Maione to make it a one-goal game with his first goal in a Beast jersey coming in just his first game with the team.
The incredible comeback came up just short when the Jackals scored an empty netter with 1:00 left to play as the Beast continued pushing hard for the equalizer. The loss dropped the Beast to 0-3-1 on the season and 0-1-1 on the road. The team returns home for the first of a five game series against the Quad City Mallards beginning next Thursday, November 6 at 7:00 pm/EST.