KALAMAZOO, MICHIGAN – The Brampton Beast erased a three-goal first period deficit and fought back hard with their gutsiest effort of the 2016-17 season to defeat the Kalamazoo Wings 5-4 in overtime at the Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo on Friday night.
Beast defenseman Willie Corrin was the overtime hero for the Beast while Zach Fucale made several highlight-reel saves to earn his lucky 13th victory of the season.
It was the K-Wings who came out flying to start the opening frame. Justin Taylor opened the scoring with a shorthanded tally just 1:52 into the game, then Lane Scheidl scored back-to-back goals to give the hometown squad a 3-0 lead by the 14:29 mark of the first.
The Beast showed great tenacity and wouldn’t exit the first period without putting a significant dent in the deficit.
With the Beast on the man-advantage, Brampton assistant captain Jordan Henry slammed a rebound behind K-Wings starter Joel Martin to get the scoring started and make it a 3-1 game at the 17:36 mark.
Brampton would make it a 3-2 game heading into the second period as Brandon MacLean connected on a Mike Folkes point shot to redirect home his 11th goal of the season just 35 after Henry’s tally, giving the Beast plenty of momentum heading into the first intermission.
In the second period, it was the goaltenders who stole the show. Both Martin and Fucale made highlight-reel saves, including incredible diving efforts to help their teams to a scoreless period, setting up a dramatic finish.
It didn’t take long for the Beast to find the equalizer in the third period. Mitch Zion executed a perfect power move to create space in front of Martin and lifted a flawless backhand shot into the top corner, tying the game at 3-3 at 4:55.
Zion was buzzing all game and was electric in creating offensive opportunities late in the contest. He cut in alone on Martin near the midway point of the third period and nearly gave the Beast its first lead of the game before being hauled down on a breakaway, resulting in a penalty shot. He had a great look against Martin but the netminder made an incredible save with the shaft of his stick to keep the score tied.
The tough K-Wings would not roll over just yet. Kyle Blaney lit the lamp at the 11:53, restoring the Kalamazoo lead at 4-3 in the latter half of the third period.
With time running out, David Ling placed a perfect redirection on goal that eluded Martin for his first goal of the season at 14:44. Both teams fought hard in the dying minutes but no more goals were scored, forcing overtime.
Early in the overtime period, Beast captain Brandon Marino was tripped up by K-Wings forward Justin Taylor, resulting in a crucial 4-on-3 power play for the Beast.
And the Beast would make the K-Wings pay. After some brilliant passing to set up the play, Willie Corrin found himself perfectly located in the slot and rifled a perfect shot over the glove hand of Martin to win the game at the 1:23 mark of the overtime period.
The Beast return to action tomorrow night and hope to earn back-to-back wins as they host the Toledo Walleye at 7:15 pm.
Notes: The Beast finished the game 2-for-4 on the man advantage and a perfect 4-for-4 on the penalty kill. Chris Leveille and Mathieu Gagnon each recorded two assists in the victory. The win was the Beast’s 20th of the season. It took last season’s squad until April 1 to record their 20th victory.
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The Brampton Beast will be bringing their exciting brand of ECHL hockey back to the Powerade Centre this fall. Don’t miss a minute of the action! 2016-17 Memberships are now available, starting at $34.78 plus HST per month.