BRAMPTON, ONTARIO — It was a night of fours for the Brampton Beast.
David Vallorani potted four points as the Beast scored four unanswered goals for a 4-2 win over the Wheeling Nailers to earn their first ever four-game winning streak.
Because of the heroics of their leading scorer, the Beast managed to sweep a two-game series with the Nailers at the Powerade Centre on Sunday afternoon.
Luke Pither chipped in with a goal and an assist, and David Pacan scored his 14th goal of the season for this Beast club (12-7-1-2), who are now three points clear of the Nailers (11-8-2-0) for the final playoff spot in the North Division.
Veteran defenseman Mike Vernace also stood out in the contest by netting three assists. The 30-year-old now has 10 assists and 12 points in 22 games.
On the defensive side of the game, Beast goaltender Zach Fucale turned in his second straight outstanding performance against the Nailers by making 36 saves on 38 shots, among which included two glove grabs worthy of the ECHL highlight reel. The 21-year-old netminder has now won each of his past five starts.
While Brampton won the game, it was actually the visiting Nailers that stormed out of the gate with more authority as they racked up eight of the first 11 shots on goal.
Derek Army made good on this early pressure by beating Fucale off of a scramble in front of the Beast net at 5:54 to draw first blood with a power-play goal.
Brett Stern expanded the Wheeling lead to two goals less than two minutes later at 7:30 by rifling a hard, high shot into the Beast net.
This goal served as a wake up call for the home team. They began to turn the tide by ramping up their tenacity on the forecheck to draw some man advantage opportunities.
Pacan made good on the first Beast power play at 15:05 by slamming home the puck after Nailers goaltender Sean Maguire — making his ECHL debut — turned aside the initial shot from Vallorani.
Vallorani knotted the game at two goals apiece with 58 seconds remaining in the opening frame by completing a beautiful tic-tac-toe passing play with Pither and Scott Jacklin, roofing a perfect backhand shot that found the top half of the net.
Brampton outshot Wheeling 14-12 in the period.
Both teams commenced the middle stanza of the contest determined to ramp up the physicality in a bid to gather momentum. There were massive hits and post-whistle skirmishes aplenty that excited the over 2,600 fans in the building.
It was the Beast that gained the energy boost from this physical play, which they used to score two quick goals in the latter half of the period.
Luke Pither struck first with a in-the-slot deflection of Vallorani’s long-range shot at 12:25 to lift the Beast to a 3-2 lead.
Vallorani scored his second goal of the game, and his team-leading 15th goal of the season, just over two minutes later at 14:37 with a wrist shot that picked the top right corner of the Nailers’ cage.
Brampton continued their assault in the attacking zone, and as result the Nailers were denied any good chances of cutting into the deficit prior to the second intermission.
The Beast had 12 shots in the middle frame compared to nine for Wheeling.
Period three was a tale of two halves: The Brampton Beast commanded the first part of the period with their strong cycle attack, while the Nailers dominated the last half as they outshot the home side 12-2 in the final 10 minutes of the game.
Fucale had the answer for every one of the 17 shots that came his way to lead his team to the victory.
Maguire stopped six shots in the third period. He stopped 28 of the 32 total shots he faced.
The Beast will look to improve their record winning streak to five games this upcoming Thursday as they battle the Adirondack Thunder starting at 11 a.m. at the Powerade Centre.
Notes: The Beast went 2-for-6 on the power play and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill. The Beast have now recorded eight multi-goal comebacks this season, which is one more than the seven they pulled off during the entirety of the 2015-16 season.
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