BRAMPTON, ON – The Beast have almost come to the end of the road. There are only nine games remaining and they will need a lot of luck to make the playoffs. The Thunder come to town fighting for first in the North Division.
The Beast’s record against the Thunder coming into this game was 4-4-0-1. Given the high number of these games being decided by one-goal during the season series, it stood to reason that this game would follow suit.
Sunday’s affair started with a lot of energy, somewhat surprisingly, since both teams played the previous night south of the border. Brandon Marino picked up a nice rebound four minutes into the game and put the home team up 1-0.
Reminiscent of Saturday’s game, the Thunder came right back and tied the game 11 seconds later on their first shot on goal. While Jordan Henry was serving an elbowing minor, Kenton Miller poked one by Marcus Hogberg to give the Thunder a 2-1 lead with just over five minutes to go in the opening period. Hogberg was looking pretty shaky on his return to the Beast, allowing two goals on eight shots.
The Beast ended the period on the penalty kill as they got a bench minor for too many men on the ice. They held Adirondack off the scoreboard and even managed to get a couple shots on net during the kill.
In the second period, the penalties were kept to a minimum, and both teams just played. With a warmed up Hogberg, the Thunder were kept off the score sheet, even though they had more shots than the Beast.
At the other end, Olivier Mantha was kept busy enough, but the shots were entirely within his capabilities and kept the Beast off the score sheet as well. It seemed as though the Thunder were content to keep the Beast from scoring rather than trying to extend their lead. Near the end of the period, David Vallorani was given two minutes for tripping, which meant that the Beast would start the third period on the penalty kill.
The game started to get a bit chippy in the third period. During a shift around the four-minute mark of the period, the chippiness boiled over into a fight between Mike Bergin and Brandon MacLean. The term fight is used loosely here as it was more of MacLean trying to keep Bergin from beating him up, so they both got five minutes for fighting.
While the Beast had a chance to get within one with over eight minutes left, they only managed a couple of shots on net and wasted the rest of the advantage. As time was wearing out, the Beast finally started to push in earnest and MacLean got the Beast within a single goal with just under four minutes left. While the Beast pulled Hogberg for the final minute, they could not gain solid control and the game ended in a 3-2 loss to the home team.
In the end, the Beast failed on the late comeback and are that much closer to being eliminated from the playoff race. Not helpful to them is that Worcester and Wheeling play next, and the Beast needs both teams to lose. Of note, Marino became the leading goal scorer for the Beast, passing Jason Pitton who previously held the title.
Score: Thunder 3 – Beast 2
Shots: Thunder 26 – Beast 34
Penalties: Thunder 5 – Beast 8
Thunder goals scored by D. Bergin (1), Miller (1) and Austin Orszulak (1). Assists from Troy Bourke (1), Mathieu Brodeur (1), Pierre-Luc Mercier (1), Paul Rodrigues (1) and Brian Ward (1).
Beast goals scored by MacLean (1) and Marino (1). Assists from Willie Corrin (1), Cody Donaghey (1), Alex Foster (1) and Henry (1).
The Beast next play Friday in Wheeling, which will be the last time this season these two teams play each other in Wheeling.
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