Photo by: Zack Snow
BRAMPTON, ON- The Brampton Beast came out looking to ride the momentum they gained from a terrific 40 minutes in Friday night’s contest, and right from the onset did exactly that, playing extremely sound defensive hockey all game. A twenty second hiccup in the second period proved to be their undoing however, as the Beast lost by a final score of 3-1 on Frozen Musical Day at the Powerade Centre.
Parker Van Buskirk had the best game of his young Beast career, making 32 saves in the loss but making several highlight reel plays to keep his team in the match. Mathew Maione added the lone goal for the Beast, vaulting himself into a tie for second place in ECHL rookie defence scoring.
Before the game, the Beast held their Frozen Musical, where both Elsa and Anna took the ice and did a walk through sing-a-long with the fans in attendance. The princesses were able to brighten the day of everyone in the crowd, which was a happy group of hockey and Frozen fans of all ages. After the performance, some lucky young princesses had the opportunity to do a meet and greet photo session with the Elsa and Anna before settling in for the Beast game.
The first period was a strong one for both teams, as they managed to combine for 21 shots on goal. Both Van Buskirk and Danny Battochio were up to the task, though, as neither of them flinched as both teams had chances from point blank range. The best opportunity of the period belonged to the Beast when alternate captain Jason Pitton was sprung on a break away. Pitton received the puck in stride, broke into the Rush zone, beat Battochio with a deke, but was unable to get any air under his backhand, as both teams headed into the dressing room tied at 0-0.
The Beast’s strong play continued into the second period. They held the Rush attack at bay until the half way mark of the frame, when Rapid City struck quickly. Just before the 10-minute mark, the Rush fired a shot on goal from the high slot that was saved by Van Buskirk. The puck got lost in his equipment and squeaked out behind him, where Jesse Schultz was there to tap it in for a 1-0 lead. Twenty seconds after that, the Rapid City came rushing down the ice again. This time it was Kevin Harvey on the receiving end of a back door pass for his 14th of the season.
Schultz added a marker for the Rush in the second half of the third period to push their lead to 3-0 before the Beast got on the board. After Kevin Harvey took an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, the Beast’s top power play unit went to work. David Ling found Justin Donati in the corner who took his time and faked a pass back to Ling before he found Maione back-door, who made no mistake, potting his 12th goal of the season.
The Beast head out for a four-game road trip this week, making stops in Quad City, Allen, Wichita and Missouri for a game each before returning home on Friday April 10, to take on the Missouri Mavericks for two games. April 10 is Picture Day at the Powerade Centre, where fans are encouraged to bring their cameras and take pictures of and with the Beast after their game. April 11 is Cancer Awareness Day, where the Beast will be hosting their Stick it to Cancer walk before the game, which precedes a barbeque and other fun activities for fans. April 12 is Jersey Off Our Backs Day at the Powerade Centre, where, directly following the game, the Beast players will be giving their jerseys to the lucky fans who’s names were picked at random. Also Sunday is the Beast’s last team skate of the year, where fans have the chance to bring out their skates and hit the ice with the Beast after their game. For more information or tickets please visit www.bramptonbeast.com or call 905 564 1684.