The Brampton Beast concluded their pre-Christmas schedule with a pair of games this past week, but unfortunately ended up on the wrong end of a pair of decisions against the Toledo Walleye and Fort Wayne Komets, leaving the Beast with a 8-15-2-1 record heading into the holiday break.
Thursday, December 17 vs Toledo Walleye
Result: 4-3 SOL
Toledo Walleye goaltender Jeff Lerg made 31 saves through three periods of regulation and the overtime period and Alden Hirschfeld scored the shootout winner as the Toledo Walleye came back to defeat the Brampton Beast 4-3 in a shootout at the Powerade Centre on Thursday night.
Eddie Pasquale, in his first appearance with the Beast since November 22, was solid between the pipes and finished with 27 saves, while Jordan Henry, Jeff Brown and Luke Pither lit the lamp for Brampton.
The Beast jumped out to an early lead in the opening frame as Henry unleashed a shot from the point that Lerg had trouble tracking down. He lost the puck in his skates and knocked it into his own net, giving Henry his first goal of the season at 2:52.
Zach Nastasiuk tied the game before the end of the first period as he one-handed a goal behind Pasquale at 17:30.
The Beast came out flying in the second period and were rewarded for their efforts. After a mad scramble in front, Jeff Brown was able to poke the loose puck behind Lerg at 2:32, giving the Beast a 2-1 lead.
Pither made it 3-1 later in the period as he entered the zone on an odd-man rush, elected to keep the puck and sent a bullet to the to corner beyond Lerg’s glove hand at 12:18.
Hirschfeld cut the lead to 3-2 later in the second period and beat Pasquale for his team-leading 12th goal of the season at 17:51 on the power play.
Austin Wuthrich completed the Toledo comeback at 2:40 of the third period as Pasquale inadvertently knocked the puck into his own net on a clearing attempt.
Both teams played well defensively for the remainder of the third period and into the overtime period, but both Pasquale and Lerg were up to the task and forced the game into a shootout.
Scott Howes gave the Beast an early edge in the shootout as he changed his speed as he approached the goaltender, then tucked a low shot behind Lerg for the 1-0 edge.
The next two Toledo shooters, A.J. Jenks and Alden Hirschfeld, beat Pasquale, while Luke Pither and Brandon Marino were both stopped by Lerg, giving the Walleye their fourth win over the Beast in five games this season.
Saturday, December 19 @ Fort Wayne Komets
Result: 5-1 L
Scott Howes scored the lone Beast goal in the club’s final game before the holiday break, but the Fort Wayne Komets scored two in the first and added three in the second en route to a 5-1 over the Brampton Beast on Saturday night in Fort Wayne.
The Komets came out flying in the early going and were rewarded for their efforts. Nikita Kashirsky got Fort Wayne on the board early in the first period, beating Beast starter Eddie Pasquale on a rebound at 5:47.
Mike Embach gave the Komets a 2-0 lead leading into the first intermission, scoring his tenth goal of the season on the power play at 16:32.
The Beast emerged with a renewed energy in the second period and quickly got themselves back in the game. Luc-Olivier Blain sent a wrist shot on goal from just inside the blue line and Scott Howes managed to get a stick on the puck, fooling Komets goaltender Pat Nagle just 1:07 into the second period.
From there on out, it was the Shawn Szydlowski show. The Fort Wayne right-winger was red hot in the latter half of the second period and recorded three straight goals for a natural hat trick in just over five minutes of play.
He notched his first of the game at 14:06 of the second frame, added another at 18:38 and scored on the power play for good measure at 19:08, giving the Komets a 5-1 lead heading into the final period.
The one-sided second period ended with some rough stuff as Jeff Brown was given a two-minute minor for slashing and a game misconduct.
The second period onslaught ended Pasquale’s night between the pipes, as he finished the game with 17 saves on 22 shots on goal.
Andy Iles entered the game in relief and was tested early in the final frame, coming up with two huge saves off of odd-man rushes just minutes into the third period. He was perfect for the remainder of the period and finished the game with nine saves.
The Beast maintained their energy and outshot the Komets 11-9 in the third period but Nagle was unbeatable and finished the game with 27 saves.