ELMIRA, NEW YORK – Brampton Beast rookie goaltender Eric Brassard was a busy man throughout his first professional start and kicked out an impressive 42 saves to help lead the Beast to a 5-3 win over the Elmira Jackals, ending their 2015-16 season on a high note.
Marc Beckstead and Joey West both earned their first pro goals, Beast captain Jordan Henry chipped in with a single and Nick McParland added a pair of goals tyo help the Beast to their second straight victory and fourth straight over the Jackals.
The Beast got the scoring started early in the opening frame as Marc Beckstead got in behind the Elmira defense and took a perfect pass from defenseman Steven Kaunisto and broke in on Jackals starting goaltender Shane Owen. He placed a perfect shot beyond the glove hand, giving Beckstead his first professional goal at 3:52.
Shortly thereafter, the Jackals got one back as Kyle Bushee deked his way through the neutral zone and right in on goal against Beast starter Eric Brassard making his professional debut. Bushee beat Brassard on a partial breakaway, tying the game at 8:26.
After some superb goaltending by both Brassard and Owen to start the second period, the Jackals earned a 2-1 lead by the midway point of the frame. Justin Bernhardt pounced on a loose puck that squirted loose from a scrum in front and beat Brassard for his 10th goal of the season at 10:26.
The Beast wasted no time tying the game at two as Nick McParland jumped on a lose puck just over a minute later and rifled home his 12th of the campaign with Joey West and David Ling earning the assists at 11:40.
The Beast weren’t done scoring in the second period. In the final minute of the frame, David Ling showed great patience down the left wing and spotted Steven Kaunisto trailing in the high slot. He placed a beautiful pass right on Kaunisto’s tape and the defenseman fired a shot on goal that was deflected by Joey West, giving the rookie his first pro goal and giving the Beast the lead heading into the third.
Jordan Henry pushed the Beast lead to 4-2 at 8:16 of the final period as he settled down a loose puck near the top of the circle and executed a perfect deke to get around a defenseman. He sent a perfect backhand shot on goal that beat Owen cleanly over the blocker, giving the Beast captain his sixth goal of the season.
The Jackals, with their playoff lives on the line, would not go down without a fight. Tyler Currier sent a seeing-eye wrist shot on goal through a crowd that was deflected by Zach Cohen and beat Brassard, cutting the lead to 4-3.
Through a hard-fought third period, Nick McParland iced the game with an empty-netter with just over a minute remaining in the game, putting the game out of reach.
Notes: The Beast finished the game 0-for-1 on the power play and 1-for-2 on the penalty kill. Molson Three Stars: 3) Steven Kaunisto 2) Eric Brassard 1) Nick McParland.
The Beast will now head home to Brampton where they will attend the 2015-16 team awards dinner at Oscar’s Roadhouse tomorrow, Sunday, April 10 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. Members of the public are welcome to attend and cheer on their Beast one more time.