03/19/2015 8:00 PM
Photo: John Warren
BRAMPTON, ON- The Brampton Beast avoided the luck of the Irish Thursday night, and Justin Donati potted pure gold in overtime to give the Beast a 3-2 win over the Reading Royals on St Patty’s Day in Brampton.
Justin Donati led the way for the Beast with two goals, including the game winner in overtime. David Ling added two assists, Jeff Brown had his first while Ryan DeMelo made 29 saves for his third career victory in one of the Beast’s most complete home games of the season.
The Beast looked dominant for large stretches of the first period, playing an uncompromising and hard-hitting brand of hockey with Jason Pitton laying several devastating bodychecks to set the tone early. The physical play led to immediate offense at the 6:19 mark of the period, when Dean Willmott poked the puck up to Bobby Hughes in the neutral zone, who began skating down his off-wing. Hughes picked up speed, toe dragged around his defender, and then fired a wrist shot through a screened Connor Knapp for a 1-0 Beast lead. Willmott picked up the first point of his pro career on the play, and the Beast took a one-goal advantage into the second period.
The second frame was an extremely entertaining one. With back and forth action and a ton of physical play, the teams matched up very well with each other. At 13:15 of the frame, the Beast struck again. David Ling found Brett Lyon in front of the net with a pass out of the corner. Lyon slid it across the crease to Donati, who waited until Knapp went to his knees, and then danced around him for the tap in and a 2-0 Beast lead. With under 30 seconds remaining in the period, the Royals charged into the Beast zone. Adam Hughesman took a pass from Cam Reid, and fired a shot on goal that squeaked through the wickets of DeMelo. With the puck sitting in the crease, Kevin Walrod cut in to tap the puck home, cutting the Beast lead to 2-1.
Needing a big response shift in the dying seconds of the period, Jeff Brown took it upon himself to provide a spark for his team heading into the intermission. Brown dropped the gloves with Matt Hatch for his first pro fight, and laid a Brampton beatdown on the Reading forward, sending the Powerade Centre into a frenzy heading into the third frame.
The third period was once again a back and forth affair between the two teams. Shots on goal were about even until the 13:22 mark when the Royals tied the game at two. Sean Wiles broke into the Beast zone on a 2-on-1 with Pat Mullane, and the two of them went to work with Wiles taking a perfect saucer pass to go bar-down and tie the game at two.
The game went into overtime after neither team could score in regulation. The Beast started off with Donati and Ling at the front, and it paid dividends immediately. Just 34 seconds into the extra frame, Ling shrugged off a defender and dropped the puck to Donati, who fired a snap shot through the legs of Knapp for a 3-2 Beast win.
The action will continue tomorrow, March 20 for the Night of Champions, where the Beast will be celebrating success and excellence in sport. Sunday March 22 is Team Picture Day, where the first 1000 fans in attendance will receive a free team picture that you can get signed during the free skate after the game!
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.