BRAMPTON, ONTARIO — Brampton Beast goaltender Zachary Fucale delivered a stellar 30-save outing, but ultimately his Kalamazoo Wings counterpart Joel Martin was one goal better in an entertaining, hard fought 2-1 road victory for the Wings on Friday night at the Powerade Centre.
A significant amount of the tests that Martin, who stopped 33 shots, and Fucale faced over the course of this 60-minute contest were of the acrobatic and ten-bell variety. Both teams displayed, at times, tremendous desperation in the attacking zone, firing shots from all angles to try and break down these two netminders but to little avail.
David Ling scored the lone goal for the Beast (20-14-2-2), who will attempt to snap their three-game winless skid on Sunday at home against the Fort Wayne Komets.
As for the Wings (17-18-1-3), this triumph improves their record in January to 5-1-1. They will square off with Brampton next Friday at the Wings Event Center.
Fucale and Martin made it clear in the first period that they would own the night. Not a single puck crossed the goal line despite the two teams combining for 22 shots — the Beast registered 12 of the attempts while the Wings connected for 10.
The Wings’ Peter Schneider had the best chance of picking up a goal in the opening frame as he was gifted with a penalty shot. Fucale forced him into a long-range shot that glanced of the netminder and ended up wide.
Both clubs continued to trade end-to-end chances throughout the first half of the middle period, but each netminder continued to stymie every shot they faced.
It was Martin who blinked first in this goaltending battle at 13:06 of the second period. Ling made the score 1-0 for the Beast by perfectly deflecting Reggie Traccitto’s hard shot from the point.
Tyler Biggs replied for Kalamazoo just 11 seconds later at 13:17 of the period as he jammed the puck past Fucale after the Beast goaltender made a strong initial pad save off of an attacking zone faceoff.
Biggs’ marker gave Kalamazoo a substantial energy boost and they used this momentum to control the play for the remaining portion of the second period.
Kalamazoo’s work was rewarded with the go-ahead tally with nine seconds remaining on the clock. Kyle Blaney scored the goal by slamming home a backhand shot from the lip of the crease.
The visiting team outshot Brampton 15-5 in the second period.
Brampton lived up to its reputation as a relentless club in the final frame. The Beast peppered 17 shots on net but Martin found a way to snuff them all.
At the other end of the ice, Fucale turned aside all six third period shots that he faced.
Sunday afternoon’s home clash between the Beast and the Komets is scheduled for a 2 p.m. puck drop.
Notes: The Beast went 0-for-3 on the power play and an airtight 4 for-4 on the penalty kill. The Beast penalty kill is clicking at an electric 91.4 percent rate in January. Three Stars: 3). David Ling 2). Zachary Fucale 1). Joel Martin.
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