BRAMPTON, ON – The Beast finished 2017 with two losses. They went to Reading for their first game of 2018, which is also the first game of their latest 3-in-3. The Beast looking to get points on their divisional rivals as all three games are versus the North.
January 5: at Reading Royals
The Beast came into this game looking to start the new year right, with a win against the Royals. Having won the first two games against the Royals this season, this did not seem like a terribly hard task. In fact, the Beast started the game by pelting John Muse with the first six shots in the game. Muse was equal to the task and shut out the Beast in the first period on 16 shots. At the other end, Andrew D’Agostini also had an excellent first period as he only let in one of 12 shots on net in his first game since December 16, 2017. As returning Beast Willie Corrin sat for hooking, Derek Whitmore managed to sneak one in between the post and D’Agostini’s left pad on a giveaway by Paul Cianfrini. Otherwise, it was a clean sheet for both goalies.
The second period started with the Beast keeping the Royals from getting control of the puck in the Royals end. Corrin was then rewarded with the tying goal at the 1:40 mark to make up for his first period penalty. He took the shot from the slot on a one-timer pass from Chris Leveille and beat Muse. A few minutes later, Ryan Penny gave the Royals back the lead, which they would hold on to. The Royals would get their game-winning goal with about seven minutes left in the second period. Neither team would get a penalty in the middle frame.
Seconds into the third period, Corrin got the second and last penalty of the period. Realistically, the Royals earned penalties too, but none were called by the referee. The Royals were not able to capitalize as they were held to a single shot on goal during their power play. The Beast definitely tried to get the win, but could not beat Muse enough to win. The Beast even outshot the Royals in all three periods, which usually results in a win for the Beast as they only lost twice previously when they outshoot their opponent in all three periods. Luc-Olivier Blain got the final goal when he shoved in the rebound with just over five minutes to go in the period. While they put seven pucks on net in that last five minutes, Muse had eyes on all of them, and the Beast lost in Reading for the first time since January 11, 2015.
Beast goals scored by Blain (1) and Corrin (1). Assists from Leveille (1), Brandon MacLean (1), Matt Petgrave (1) and David Vallorani (1).
Royals goals scored by Chris McCarthy (1), Penny (1) and Whitmore (1). Assists from Michael Huntebrinker (1), Mark Naclerio (1), Scott Tanski (1) and Matt Willows (1).
January 6: at Adirondack Thunder
The Beast came into this game on a three-game losing streak, noted for the fact they lost all three by one goal. They are now sitting at .500 and in a tie with Worcester, who beat the Thunder the previous night in a shootout. To make this point clear, with a scramble in front of D’Agostini, Shane Conacher puts it in the net only 22 seconds into the game. Definitely not the start the Beast needed in Glens Falls this night. With Drew Fielding starting in net for the Thunder, this might not go well. Fielding has been known to keep the Beast from scoring for long stretches. Both teams took a single penalty in the period, with the Beast getting their first power play in 2018, having last had a single power play in their last game of 2017. Coming into this game the Thunder took two of three games, so this is far from over.
D’Agostini made save after save on the three penalty kills in the period. On the one Thunder power play (about 40 seconds long,) Fielding had some magical stops on the Beast who got a couple of shots in during that time. With just over a minute left in the period, the Beast kept the play in the Thunder end, which led to a one-timer pass from Petgrave to Vallorani who buried the puck in behind Fielding to tie the game.
A few minutes into the third period, before all the penalties called on the Beast, the Thunder make a nice play to get the puck into the Beast end. Andrew Radjenovic sinks the quick one-timer from Evan Neugold to get the lead in the third. This would prove to be the last goal of the game as the Beast could not recover after all of their penalties. To their credit, the Beast had an excellent penalty kill in the game as the Thunder when 0-for-5 on the night and only managed six shots on net for those five. The Beast lose their fourth game in a row, with all four being one-goal losses.
Beast goal scored by Vallorani and assisted by Petgrave and MacLean.
Thunder goals scored by Conacher (1) and Radjenovic (1). Assists from James Henry (1), Ty Loney (14) and Neugold (1).
January 7: vs Adirondack Thunder
Before the game started, they had a small tribute to Beast friend Johnny Bower, who passed away on December 26, 2017. The Beast started well enough, but they did not translate those shots into goals. The physical play of the night before never really returned, which was not as expected. The Thunder opened scoring first as Mercier put the rebound past D’Agostini. A few minutes later, Blain got a goal as he put the rebound past Mackenzie Blackwood to tie the game. While the Beast ended up on the power play late in the first period, they were not able to get a shot on net and the period ended in a tie.
The second period was marred for the Beast by their taking of four penalties, but they had fantastic penalty kills. The Thunder could score when up a man as D’Agostini was the best penalty killer of the night. However, the Thunder did score on a terrific cross-ice play that saw Paul Rodrigues put in a nice pass from Conacher on the wing. A scary moment came when Conor Riley went down hard in the neutral zone and required some medical attention and was taken off the ice. He did not return during the game and it was hopefully nothing too serious.
In the third period, the Thunder got three of four penalties, but only the Thunder capitalized on their man advantage. Brian Ward tipped in the game-winning goal on a Marino power play. That was only after David Ling, back in his first game this season with the Beast, beat the Thunder for the puck in behind their net and passed it to Leveille who tied the game at two.
In the end, the Beast just did not get enough shots off, only getting four on net in the last 10 minutes of the game. This loss takes the Beast down to three games below .500 and extends their current losing streak to five games.
Thunder goals scored by Mercier (2), Rodrigues (1) and Ward (1). Assists from Mathieu Brodeur (1), Conacher (1), Henry (2), Riley (1), Rodrigues (1) and Blake Thompson (1).
Beast goals scored by Blain (1) and Leveille (1). Assists from Corrin (1), Ling (1), MacLean (1) and Traccitto (1).
Week 14 Games:
The Beast will look to return to their winning ways with a 2-in-2 at home this weekend. They host the Fort Wayne Komets on Saturday and then look for redemption on Sunday as they play Adirondack Thunder once again.
This Week in Player Movements:
The big news this week came when fan favorite Ling returned to the Beast for his 23rd season as a professional hockey player. This is Ling’s fourth season with the Beast and brings experience from many different leagues, including 93 games in the NHL over five seasons. He most recently played for the Hamilton Steelhawks in the Allen Cup Hockey league after helping the Beast with 10 games in last season’s playoff run.
January 4: Willie Corrin (D) was returned from loan to Laval
January 5: Patrick Spano (G) was signed to a contract (from SPHL) and added to active roster
January 7: David Ling (F) was signed to a contract and added to active roster