BEAST (15-21-6-4, 40 PTS | 4th Place, North) vs WALLEYE (27-13-2-3, 59 PTS | 1st Place, North)
BRAMPTON, ONTARIO - Joe Zarbo showed great patience with the puck before firing a perfect shot over the glove hand of Toledo Walleye goaltender Jeff Lerg to lead the Beast to an exciting 5-4 overtime win over the Walleye at the Powerade Centre in Brampton on Friday night.
The newly-reassigned Brandon Marino led the charge with a goal and an assist, while newcomers Jonathan Parker and David Ling also found the back of the net to help the Beast snap a five-game winless skid.
Chris Auger notched his team-leading 15th goal of the season and added a helper on the overtime winner to help goaltender Drew Fielding to his first win as a member of the Beast.
The Walleye were the first to find the back of the net and did so early in the first period, when forward Tyler Maxwell sent a bouncing shot from the hash marks that found the back of the net just 4:21 into the game.
David Ling made his presence known early and tied the game at one as he redirected a perfect pass from Travis Brown behind the goaltender Lerg at 7:33.
Both teams played hard and took the 1-1 tie into the first intermission, with the Walleye holding a slight 10-9 edge on the shot clock.
The Beast were on the penalty kill to start the second period and Walleye forward Dane Walters capitalized on the man advantage, netting his third goal of the season to give the Walleye a 2-1 lead just 1:38 into the frame.
With Tyler Sikura in the box for hooking, the Beast power play tied the game when Jonathan Parker unleashed a one-timer from the top of the circle, sending it through Lerg at 13:10, with Marino and Steven Kaunisto earning the helpers.
The momentum swung in the Beast’s favour early in the third period as Auger pounced on a rebound off of a Mike Vernace point shot and sent a backhand shot into the open net to give the Beast their first lead of the game just 1:04 into the final frame.
Just under four minutes later, the Beast found themselves shorthanded but that didn’t stop the Captain from pushing the Beast lead to two. Marino tracked down the defender inside Walleye territory with some great hustle, lifted his stick and sent a quick shot into the net, giving the Beast the 4-2 edge just under five minutes into the final period.
The Walleye fought back and proved why they’re the top team in the North Division with a shorthanded tally of their own off the stick of Michael Leone to cut the Beast lead to 4-3 at 9:41.
The Walleye continued to press and tied the game at 11:20 as Beau Schmitz notched his fourth goal of the season on a 2-on-1.
The Beast pressured hard with a final push in the latter half of the third period, but couldn’t beat Lerg, forcing the game to overtime for the 16th time this season, the most of any team in the ECHL.
The teams traded chances early in overtime, but Zarbo ended the game with a beautiful wrist shot on an odd-man rush, sending the Beast to victory at 3:21.
Fielding stood tall between the pipes to keep the team in the game with 24 saves. Lerg made 22 saves in net for the Walleye.
Notes: The Beast went 1-for-3 on the man advantage and were 2-for-3 on the penalty kill. All three new additions to the Beast lineup, Ling, Marino and Parker, scored a goal in the Beast’s victory. With an assist on Parker’s goal, Steven Kaunisto pushed his point streak to four games. Molson Three Stars: 3) Tyler Maxwell 2) Jonathan Parker 1) Brandon Marino
Feb. 8: Reggie Traccitto (F) - DEL Signed to Allen Americans. Feb. 8: Justin Baker (D) - ADD Signed to Brampton Beast. Feb. 8: Jonathan Parker (F) - ADD Signed to Brampton Beast. Feb. 10: Brandon Marino (F) - ADD Reassigned to Brampton Beast.
Feb. 11: Joe Sova (D) - ADD Traded from Tulsa. Feb. 11: Dane Walters (F) - ADD Reassigned by Rockford (AHL). Feb. 11: Joel Chouinard (D) - DEL Loaned to Grand Rapids (AHL).