BRAMPTON, ON- The Brampton Beast came out and proved they know how to wield the force, showing a dazzling display of star power through two periods, but it wasn’t enough to bring down the dark side, as the Beast lost to the Wichita Thunder by a final score of 5-4 during the Second Annual Star Wars Night at the Powerade Centre.
On a night when the Beast honoured their ECHL player of the month, Chad Painchaud, Beast fans and Star Wars fans alike were in for a treat all night with multiple Star Wars themed promotions and activities occurring through out the evening. The night started off with a Star Wars twist to the Beast’s trademark laser show, incorporating music found within the movies to the usual soundtrack. A minor hockey team also took the ice for the show, skating around with light sabers to create a light saber-themed laser show. Next, the 501 Canadian Garrison arrived in style, with Storm troopers lined up in a row awaiting the arrival of the night’s special guest. Darth Vader then appeared for the ceremonial puck drop to help kick start the night.
Justin Donati extended his points streak to seven games with three assists, David Ling added a goal and two assists to push him over a point-per-game pace on the season while Trevor Cann collected 26 saves in a losing effort.
The first period was terrific for the Beast. They came out with the momentum carried over from their emotional win in Allen and brought some extra effort for this one. Just over two minutes into the frame, Stephon Thorne went into the Thunder zone on the fore check. After winning a puck battle behind the net, he broke loose and found himself alone in front of the net against former goaltender Grant Rollheiser, who was traded to Wichita earlier in the week. Thorne took his time, froze Rollheiser and shot the puck top shelf, giving the Beast the early 1-0 lead.
Later in the period after a few questionable hits, newcomer Brett Lyon, who came to the Beast via trade last week and suited up in his first game with the team, took a hard hit from behind from the Thunder’s Danick Gauthier. Lyon was sent face first into the boards, having to leave the game for repairs, while the Beast went on a five-minute power play.
The Beast started the second period on the power play, and connected just over two minutes into the stanza. Dalton Thrower took a Justin Donati pass from the half wall and crossed over across the blue line. He dipped his front shoulder and cut into the middle of the ice while simultaneously ripping a snap shot past Rollheiser for his first professional goal. With an assist on the play, Justin Donati extended his points streak to seven games, the longest for a Beast player this season. Ten minutes after that, the Thunder struck back. Justin Bernhardt was on the receiving end of a beautiful pass from the point, tipping the puck past a sprawled out Trevor Cann to cut the deficit to 2-1. With just over six minutes remaining in the period, the Thunder took a too many men penalty, sending the Beast to the power play. After working the puck around the zone, David Ling ripped a slap-pass from the point that was redirected past Rollheiser by new Beast Brett Lyon, restoring the Beast’s two-goal lead. With 1:39 remaining on the clock, the Thunder caused a turnover in the Beast zone. After multiple chances, Jared Walker finally stuffed the rebound past a helpless Cann to send the Beast into the intermission with a 3-2 lead.
The Beast added to their lead just over four minutes into the third period. Justin Donati skated the puck out of the Beast zone, through the neutral zone and into the Thunder zone untouched. When he crossed the line, he dropped the puck to a streaking David Ling. Ling stepped around the first defender, toe dragged the next one and then completely undressed Rollheiser before potting a backhand top shelf to give the Beast a 4-2 lead. At the half way mark of the period, the Thunder struck back. After a scramble in front of the net, Wichita’s Nikita Kashirsky batted a rebound past Cann to once again reduce the deficit to one. The Beast ran into more penalty trouble later in the frame and gave up the tying marker to Todd Hosmer at 14:02 of the period, sending the game into extra time.
The extra frame saw back and forth action, but when the Thunder took the puck hard to the net with a minute and a half remaining, bowling over Trevor Cann in the process, they scored, giving them the 5-4 comeback victory.
Sunday March 8th will be Women’s Hockey Day where fans get the chance to meet players from the Brampton Thunder. Monday March 9th is the Beast’s Career Forum where fans have the opportunity to network with professionals in the industry.
For more information on Brampton Beast flex tickets, group tickets, single-game tickets and 2015-16 season tickets, call 905-564-1684 or visit bramptonbeast.com. Listen to all Beast regular season games live on the Beast Radio Network at www.4cornersradio.ca, or watch live at www.echl.tv.