BRAMPTON, ON – After spoiling the party for both the Nailers and the Wings, the Beast had a chance to wreck the party for the Thunder too. Would they end the season on a winning streak or falter the 2017-18 finale?
Things started off well enough for the Beast, outshooting the Thunder 11-1 in the first 11 minutes of the game. They had control of the pace and the style of the game. Vincent Dunn even scored the first goal to get the Beast off on the right foot.
The referee even seemed content to let the two teams play as he only called a delay of game penalty and a blatant hook that could not be overlooked. However, as the Beast failed to get more than a shot on net in either power play, the Thunder started to take over. They put the exclamation on that point with a late period goal by Terrence Wallin to tie the game. While Chris Driedger was looking pretty good, he only made five saves in the period.
When the Beast came back out they were trading chances with the Thunder and were in the game. That was until the Beast got two quick penalties to put themselves down five players to three. Halfway through that double penalty kill, the Beast got a break as the Thunder were charged with too many men on the ice. Proving that the Thunder wanted this win, they broke up a play to take it 2-on-1 to the other end and James Henry put Pierre-Luc Mercier’s centering pass behind Driedger.
Only down one point, the Beast could not muster much offense as they managed to get three shots in the next seven minutes. The Thunder managed to get six off in the same period and the sixth one was a wicked top corner pick by Brian Ward. This proved to be the game-winning goal and the Thunder would add a fourth goal with just over a minute left to take a 4-1 lead into the dressing room after two periods.
In the third period, Driedger played the first half very well. This gave the Beast a chance to come back although they were down three. Dunn made it interesting with his second goal of the night as there was still a lot of hockey left at that time. It was at this point that Olivier Mantha, who was already playing a very good game, stepped it up a notch to keep the Beast from getting closer on the scoreboard.
This was also when Drieger started to show fatigue from playing three games in three days. With seven minutes left, Wallin put in his second of the night and it signaled the end of the game to everyone in the arena. In the last minute, Matthew Spencer and Scott Jacklin got into a little sparring match, but that just meant they got all the hot water. As Spencer got the additional two minutes, the empty net goal was also a shorthanded goal.
In the end, the Thunder showed why they are number one in the North. The Beast ended the season series (4-6-1) with a definite loss, and the Beast failed to play spoiler one last time.
Score: Thunder 6 – Beast 2
Shots: Thunder 31 – Beast 37
Penalties: Thunder 6 – Beast 6
Thunder goals scored by Henry, Mercier, Austin Orszulak, Wallin (2) and Ward. Assists from Mike Bergin, Henry (2), Mercier, Ryan Schmelzer, Blake Thompson, Wallin and Ward.
Beast goals were scored by Dunn (2). Assists from Erik Bradford, Jordan Henry and Brandon Marino (2).
The Beast are done for the season. Thank you for reading and I look forward to the next chapter. Follow @SinBinBeast on Twitter for offseason updates.