The Beast had a busy weekend as they packed up and hopped on the bus to take on the South Carolina Stingrays and Atlanta Gladiators.
While the Beast only managed to earn one point over their last three games, they still remain in the hunt in the evenly-matched North Division.
Friday, February 5 @ South Carolina Stingrays
Result: 4-3 SOL
The Brampton Beast played what could be considered their gutsiest game of the season against one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference but dropped a heartbreaking 4-3 shootout decision to the South Carolina Stingrays at North Charleston Coliseum in Charleston, South Carolina on Friday night.
Steven Kaunisto, Reggie Traccitto and Nick McParland each scored in regulation for the Beast before Stingrays starting goaltender Mark Dekanich stopped two of three Beast shooters in the shootout, giving the Beast their fourth shootout loss of the season.
A stingy defense and solid goaltending from starter Drew Fielding helped the Beast to a scoreless opening frame in which the Stingrays outshot the Beast 9-5.
The Stingrays came out flying in the second period and got on the board quickly as Brett Cameron beat Fielding with a shot just 14 seconds into the frame.
The resilient Beast stormed right back just 12 seconds later as Kaunisto got his stick on a Joe Zarbo shot from the slot. The deflection fooled Dekanich on the glove side to tie the game at one.
Joe Devin lit the lamp at the 4:00 mark to give South Carolina the 2-1 lead. The Beast defense once again flexed its muscles and held the high-flying Stingrays off the board for the remainder of the period, as each team recorded seven shots on goal during the second frame.
The Beast dug deep and stormed out of the gate to start the third period as Traccitto pounced on a Nick McParland rebound in front of Dekanich and buried the puck behind the goaltender for his eighth goal of the season just 40 seconds into the third.
Less than three minutes later, the Beast fed of the energy from Traccitto’s goal and kept on rolling. McParland located a rebound in front of Dekanich off a shot from Traccitto and tumbled the puck along the goal line and into the net to give the Beast their first lead of the game at 3:26.
The Stingrays got the goal back just over a minute later in this wild back-and-forth third period as Kevin Quick teed up a slap shot from the blue line that beat Fielding on the glove side at 4:39.
Once again, the Beast defense stood tall for the remainder of the period to force overtime for the 15th time this season for the Beast.
Mike Vernace took a slashing penalty at 1:56 of overtime but the penalty killers stood tall and did their job to perfection as they killed the two-minute minor, helping the game to a shootout.
Joe Zarbo got the shootout started with a goal for the Beast but Joe Devin and David Pacan replied on consecutive shots to give South Carolina the edge. Steven Kaunisto had a chance to force the fourth round of the shootout but was denied by a great save from Dekanich, ending the game and hopes for a Beast victory.
Fielding performed admirably between the pipes for the Beast with a 26-save night, while Dekanich did the same for the Stingrays with 22 stops.
Saturday, February 6 @ Atlanta Gladiators
Result: 4-2 L
The Brampton Beast outshot and outplayed their opponent all night long but Atlanta Gladiators forward Justin Buzzeo scored into the empty net to complete the hat trick as the Gladiators edged the Beast 4-2 at the Infinite Energy Arena in Duluth, Georgia on Saturday night.
The game got off to a rocky start for the Beast as Buzzeo got his first of the night just eight seconds into the game, lifting a high shot over the shoulder of Beast starter Jordan Ruby, sending the home crowd of 9,126 fans into a frenzy.
The Beast maintained their composure and found the scoreboard later in the opening frame as Nick McParland flew in on the right wing side and sent a laser of a shot through Gladiators starting goaltender Kent Patterson at 13:46 of the first, with assists going to Luc-Olivier Blain and Chris Auger, who played his first game back with the Beast upon recovering from an injury.
The Beast and the Gladiators were unable to beat their respective goaltenders in the second frame, but the Beast were the superior team and controlled play throughout the period and outshot Atlanta 15-7 to take a 25-16 lead in shots into the third period.
Once again, the Gladiators got off to a hot start in the third as Buzzeo picked up his second of the game just 33 seconds into the third to give Atlanta the 2-1 edge.
The Gladiators continued to roll early in the period Max Everson gave the Gladiators the first two-goal lead of the game just under three minutes into the final frame.
The Beast continued to throw pucks on net late into the period and outshot the Gladiators 14-12 in the frame and were finally able to crack the armour of Gladiators goaltender Patterson as Vernace teed up a one-timer off a pass from Jeremie Blain and blasted a bullet from the blue line that flew by the glove of the goaltender for a power play goal at 13:28.
The Beast pulled their goaltender in the final minutes to gain a 6-on-5 advantage but Buzzeo scored into the empty net to complete the hat trick in the final minute to seal the win for Atlanta.
Goaltender Ruby kept his team in the game and finished the night with 24 saves. Patterson was nearly unbeatable between the pipes for Atlanta and kicked out 37 saves to earn the win.
The next stretch of games will be very important to the Beast as their next five contests will come against their North Division rivals. The Beast host the division-leading Toledo Walleye on Friday, February 12, then hit the road for games in Toledo on Saturday night, then in Kalamazoo to face the Wings on Sunday afternoon.
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