BRAMPTON, ONTARIO - Zach Fucale displayed the goaltending form that made him a Memorial Cup and World Junior Champion and earned first star status in his ECHL debut as he led the Brampton Beast to a 4-3 shootout victory over the Missouri Mavericks at the Powerade Centre on Sunday afternoon
The 21-year-old goaltender clinched the victory by making a blocker save on Rocco Carzo in the fourth round of the shootout after Mike Vernace staked the Beast to the lead by beating Missouri netminder Josh Robinson with a wrist shot that popped the water bottle off the net. Fucale, a native of Laval, Que., made 31 saves en route to the win.
Yannick Veilleux, Scott Jacklin and Reggie Traccitto scored in regulation time for the Beast, who earned at least a point in five straight games for the first time in their ECHL history.
After a scoreless, evenly played first period, Veilleux ignited the raucous home crowd with the ice-breaking first goal at 8:05 of the second period, deflecting a hard Mike Vernace slap shot behind a heavily screened Robinson.
The Mavericks replied less than four minutes later at 12:04, as Lukas Lofquist buried the puck past Fucale on a two-man advantage.
Brampton’s explosive offense restored the lead at 13:54 of the middle frame. Jacklin completed a pretty tic-tac-toe passing play with Tim Billingsley and Chris Leveille by burying the puck into a wide-open cage as the slick puck movement put Robinson out of position.
The Beast held onto the lead until getting into penalty trouble early in the third period. The Mavericks lit the lamp on a 5-on-3 power play for a second time as Dane Fox found the net at 3:54 of the third period.
Exactly six minutes later the Mavericks took their first lead of the game as Jesse Graham beat Fucale with a forehand shot on an odd-man rush at 9:43.
The Beast players displayed some resiliency by peppering Robinson with numerous dangerous shots in a bid to tie the game. They broke through with 4:31 remaining in regulation time as Traccitto beat the Missouri goaltender with one-timer blast from just inside the blue line for his first goal of the season.
Both teams traded chances in remaining minutes of the third period and overtime leading up to the shootout. None of the first three shooters from either side found the net.
Brampton’s next game is a showdown against the Kalamazoo Wings at the Powerade Centre on Nov. 4. Puck drop is at 7:15 p.m.
Notes: The Beast were 1-for-7 on the power play and 9-for-11 on the penalty kill. Luke Pither recorded his fifth assist of the season and now leads the Beast with eight points in five games. New Beast forward Chris Leveille continued his strong start to the season with two helpers in the contest and now has five assists through five games.
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