FRIDAY, MARCH 18, 2016
BEAST (16-33-7-4, 43 PTS | 4th Place, North) vs WALLEYE (40-16-2-3, 83 PTS | 1st Place, North)
Puck Drop: 7:15 PM EDT | Watch: ECHL.TV | Listen: BramptonBeast.com
KALAMAZOO, MICHIGAN – The luck of the Irish wasn’t on the side of the Brampton Beast on St. Patrick’s Day as the Kalamazoo Wings scored four times in the second period en route to a 7-2 win at the Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo on Thursday night.
Steven Kaunisto and Steve Mele both lit the lamp early in the third period and Nick McParland chipped in with a pair of assists but K-Wings starting goaltender Joel Martin stopped the remainder of the 38 shots he faced to hand the Beast their seventh straight loss.
The Beast controlled the play in the opening minutes of the contest and led 5-0 on the shot clock until David Gilbert scored a power play goal at 4:31 to give Kalamazoo a 1-0 lead.
The Beast held control of the play into the first intermission and outshot the K-Wings 13-8 after the opening 20 minutes of play.
The K-Wings’ Curtis Valk scored his first goal of the game just over two minutes into the second period to make it 2-0 for Kalamazoo.
Less than two minutes later, Beast defenseman Tim Billingsley took a vicious knee-on-knee hit from K-Wings forward David Gilbert. Dalton Thrower stuck up for his teammate and was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct, while Gilbert was only given two-minutes for kneeing.
The teams played solid four-on-four hockey for a full two-minutes but the K-Wings would capitalize on the subsequent power play as Justin Taylor beat Beast starting goaltender Jordan Ruby at 7:49 for a 3-0 lead.
Justin Kovacs and Curtis Valk would each light the lamp in the latter half of the second period, pushing the Kalamazoo lead to 5-0 after 40 minutes.
Kenny Reiter took over between the pipes for Brampton to start the third period and seemed to spark his team.
Just over a minute into the final period, Steven Kaunisto got the Beast on the board as he settled down a loose puck and sent a perfect wrist shot through a crowd that Beat Martin cleanly, giving Kaunisto his fifth goal of the season at 1:50.
Beast rookie Tim DiPretoro earned an assist on Kaunisto’s tally, giving him his first pro point.
The Beast fed off the energy provided from Kaunisto’s goal and kept their foot on the gas. Steve Mele located a loose puck in the crease and potted his second goal of the season at 2:57.
Reiter made several huge saves down the stretch for the Beast but that didn’t stop the K-Wings from netting two more goals. Tanner Sorenson and Lane Scheidl both scored in the final six minutes of the third period, helping the K-Wings to victory.
Jordan Ruby and Kenny Reiter combined to make 22 saves between the pipes for Brampton, while Martin made 36 stops.
Notes: The Beast finished the game 0-for-5 on the power play and 3-for-6 on the penalty kill. Prior to the game, the Beast placed defenseman Dean Willmott on waivers. Molson Three Stars: 3) Cory Pritz 2) Justin Kovacs 1) Curtis Valk
March 13: Tim DiPretoro (RW) – ADD Signed to SPC. March 16: Jonathan Parker (F) – DEL Released from SPC. March 17: Mike Vernace (D) – ADD Returned on a loan from Stockton (AHL). Daniel Vernace (RW) – ADD Signed to SPC.
TODAY'S GAME: The Beast are hoping to get back to their winning ways on Friday as they head to Toledo to face the Walleye for their final game of the season at the Huntington Center at 7:15 PM. The Beast own a 2-6-0-1 record against the Walleye thus far this season.
ASSIST MASTER: Beast forward David Ling recorded an assist last Thursday night against Orlando, pulling him into a tie for second place in Beast franchise (CHL and ECHL) all-time assists with 38. He is currently tied with Jamie VanderVeeken and is still chasing Jason Pitton's franchise assist record of 51.
STREAKING WALLEYE: The Toledo Walleye are coming off a 6-2 win over the Indy Fuel on Thursday night and have won three of their last four games. They have lost just two of their last 12 games. They sit firmly atop the North Division standings, 15 points ahead of the Wheeling Nailers with 40 wins and 85 points in 61 games played.
THE END IS NEAR: Including Friday's game against the Walleye, the Beast have just 12 games remaining in the 2015-16 season, including eight road games and just four home games.
WINLESS SKID: The Beast are in the midst of a seven-game winless skid, their longest winless drought of the season. The Beast have lost all seven games in regulation and haven't earned a win since defeating the Greenville Swamp Rabbits 4-3 on February 28. The Beast have also dropped 13 of their last 14 games and haven't won on the road since a pair of overtime wins against the Reading Royals on Jan. 22 and 25.
KEEP AN EYE ON: Walleye forward Evan Rankin has four goals and one assist in his last four games. Forward Josh Shalla is coming off a two-goal night and has four points (2G, 2A) during a three-game point streak. Walleye forward Shane Berschbach is on a three-game assist streak.
BE A BEAST: Several Beast skaters have been putting up impressive numbers of late, including defenseman Tim Billingsley, who has three assists in his last two games. Nick McParland has three points (1G, 2A) in his last three games.
TOLEDO WALLEYE TRANSACTIONS:
March 15: Joel Chouinard (D) – DEL Recalled from loan by Grand Rapids (AHL). March 17: Tylor Spink (F) – ADD Signed to SPC. Evan Rankin (F) – DEL to Utica (AHL).