12/29/2015 9:48 PM
FORT WAYNE, INDIANA – Mike Vernace led the charge with a goal and two assists, including the game-winner in the extra frame while newly-reassigned goaltender Eddie Pasquale was nearly unbeatable, making a whopping 39 saves as the Brampton Beast earned a hard-fought 4-3 overtime victory over the Fort Wayne Komets at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne on Tuesday night.
Steven Kaunisto and Zach McCullough both picked a great night to record their first goals of the season as they helped lead the Brampton Beast to their second win in their last three games and their third straight overtime contest.
Physical play highlighted the game from the opening puck drop as Beast defenseman Tim Billingsley and Komets’ Shawn Szydlowski were sent off with fighting majors just over four minutes into the contest.
After Vernace and Scott Jacklin were denied in close by Komets starter Pat Nagle, Kaunisto found the rebound at the side of the net and tucked it into the wide open cage for a 1-0 lead at 6:14 of the first period.
Less than a minute after Kaunisto’s tally, the Beast found themselves in penalty trouble as Marino and Angelo Miceli were nabbed for minor penalties in close succession, giving the Komets a two-man advantage for 43 seconds.
The Beast penalty killers were successful in killing the 5-on-3, but the Beast’s physical play caught up with them late in the opening period as Nikita Kashirsky picked up a power play goal with 53 seconds left in the period.
The Beast elevated their play again in the second period and were rewarded for their efforts. A point shot from McCullough found its way through a crowd and beat Nagle at 8:46.
Less than a minute later, the Beast’s persistence resulted in a 3-1 lead. A Vernace point shot bounced off the pads of Nagle and landed on the stick of a Komets defenseman. Marino quickly stripped him of the puck, turned and rifled a shot to the top corner, beating the goaltender at 9:24.
The goal celebration was short lived, as the pesky Komets were quick to cut the deficit to 3-2. Szydlowski took a pass in the slot and one-timed a shot behind Beast starter Eddie Pasquale on the power play at 9:51.
The Komets turned up the heat on Beast starter throughout the remainder of the second period and into the third period. Fort Wayne fired 19 shots against the Beast netminder in the third period alone, and while he made a number of key saves down the stretch, Garrett Meurs was able to tie the game on the power play with 2:10 remaining in the game, forcing overtime.
In the extra frame, Pasquale kept his club alive with three big saves before Vernace took a goalmouth pass from Scott Howes and whipped a quick shot into the open net to give the Beast their third road victory of the season.
Pasquale was sensational between the pipes for the Beast and allowed just three goals on 42 shots against, earning him first star honours. The Komets’ Nagle wasn’t as busy and kicked out 25 saves.
Notes: The Beast finished the game 0-for-3 with the man advantage and killed 8-of-11 Fort Wayne power plays. Molson Three Stars: 3) Nikita Kashirsky 2) Brandon Marino 1) Eddie Pasquale. With another two-point night (1G, 1A), Brandon Marino is now tied for second in ECHL scoring with 32 points (8G, 24A).
The Beast will now head to Wheeling, where they will end the 2015 portion of the schedule a game against the Nailers on Dec. 31 at 6:05 PM EST. The Beast return to the Powerade Centre on January 9 to host the Kalamazoo Wings art 7:15 PM. Single game tickets are now available, starting at $16.25. For more information or general media inquiries on the Brampton Beast please contact Chris Ballard, Public Relations Coordinator at (905) 564-1684 or email@example.com.