BRAMPTON, ONTARIO — Luke Pither managed to continue his red-hot play with a goal and an assist, but it was not enough as the Adirondack Thunder skated to a 7-3 win at the Powerade Centre on Friday night.
The 27-year-old now has three goals and 10 assists for 13 points during a six-game point streak.
Brandon Maclean and Luc-Olivier Blain scored the other goals while Tim Billingsley notched two assists for the Beast (13-8-1-2), who lost for the first time in six games.
The Beast started this contest as a club determined to keep the good times rolling as they recorded the first five shots of the game.
However, Adirondack (14-5-2-3) managed to escape from this pressure unscathed and then began to stem the tide with some scoring chances.
Phil Lane drew first blood for the Thunder at 12:21 with a shot that deflected off a defenseman’s stick past Beast starting goaltender Zach Fucale.
Peter MacArthur pushed the visiting team’s lead to two goals with a close-range backhand shot at 14:10.
Lane increased the Thunder’s lead to 3-0 by rifling a rebound into the Beast net at 17:32 for his second goal of the game.
Brampton was outshot 12-8 in the first period.
Fucale was pulled from the game at the end of the frame. He stopped nine of the 12 shots he faced. Bryan Pitton took his place in the Beast crease for the rest of the game.
To their credit, Brampton came out of the gate in the second period determined to not go quietly into the night.
The home side’s early pressure drew a power play opportunity. MacLean cashed in on this chance by having his spinning shot deflect off a defenseman’s leg and into the net at 3:53.
Adirondack responded to this early tally by tightening up their play in the neutral zone and defensive end. Brampton had very few good looks at the Thunder net for remainder of the period.
At the other end of the ice, the Thunder continued their offensive assault by lighting the lamp two more times. Dennis Kravchenko notched the first tally with a wrist shot on a power play chance at 12:13, and Lane made the game 5-1 at 16:28 with a backhand drive from the lip of the crease.
The Thunder outshot Brampton 11-6 during the middle stanza of this affair.
Adirondack picked up where they left off to start the third period as Brett Pollock found the net at the 52-second mark.
Blain made the game closer at 4:23 with his fourth goal of the year as he beat Thunder netminder J.P. Anderson with a hard snap shot from the slot after he received a nice centering pass from Lucas Venuto, who notched an assist for his first career ECHL point.
Greg Wolfe restored the Thunder lead to five goals just over four minutes later at 8:32 with a shot from the slot.
Pither energized the home crowd with 34 seconds remaining in the game by wiring home a one-timer from the top of the right circle after he received a crisp cross-ice pass from Reggie Traccitto.
Adirondack outshot the Beast 11-7 in the third period and 34-21 in the game.
Pitton stopped 18 of the 22 shots he faced.
Anderson made 18 saves to earn the win.
The Beast and the Thunder are now deadlocked with one win apiece heading into the closer of their three-game series. Brampton will attempt to win the rubber match that begins in Adirondack at 7 p.m.
Notes: The Beast went 1-for-7 on the power play and 4-for-6 on the penalty kill. Brampton has scored a power-play goal in each of their past six games. Tim Billingsley has one goal and two assists over his past two games.
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