BRAMPTON, Ont. – With the playoff hunt in active mode, the Reading Royals come into Brampton with a magic number of 17 to clinch a spot. The Beast are almost mathematically eliminated, but if the maximize this points (win all remaining) and get some breaks from above, they can still make it. This game is the first test on that road. The Royals need the win to get space on fifth place Worcester who are only nine points behind them.
This game was a rare event where the Beast were playing a school day game and it is the only game on the ECHL schedule for the day. With all eyes on Brampton and the playoffs on the line, there was pressure on the Beast to get the win in regulation.
It took a while for the two teams to get their legs under them, but the Royals eventually did first getting three quick shots off to get things rolling almost four minutes in. The Beast then got moving just after the seventh minute as Paul Cianfrini‘s shot was tipped in by Alex Foster for the first goal of the game. As play resumed, Scott Jacklin got a hooking penalty, which led to a high-pressure power play by the Royals. This lead to a power-play goal by Adam Schmidt on the Royals’ ninth shot of the game.
A few minutes later, when Ryan Penny was on his first penalty of the period, Chris Leveille tipped in a shot from Jordan Henry to get the lead back on the Beast power play. The Beast defense was not done though, as Matt Petgrave buried a shot from the point to give the Beast a 3-1 lead with about a minute and a half left. As play resumed, Cianfrini for a tripping call to leave the Beast on the penalty kill to start the second period.
After a fantastic first period, the crowd, of school children, was pumped for more Beast goals. While there was a lot of excitement, the Beast did not score at all in the period on 12 shots. Branden Komm was solid in net and blanked the Beast on the period. At the other end, Marcus Hogberg first had to deal with a breakaway, which resulted in a penalty shot goal by Matt Willows when he got tripped by Jacklin. Hogberg then had a second breakaway on him, which he saved, but could not get back in time for the rebound shot by Matt Wilkins, tying the game at a 3-3 score with under a minute to play. The Beast were not helping their goalie out much in the period as they scored two goals on eight shots. Brandon Marino got called for slashing with nine seconds left in the period so that the Beast would start the third on the penalty kill.
With the game tied, and all the points on the line, the Beast came out for a win, but could not deliver. The Beast killed the Marino penalty without any issue, but could not prevent the Royals getting the lead on a breakaway goal by Tyler Brown. This made it three unanswered goals by the Royals with over thirteen minutes left in the game.
While the Beast kept shooting, they could not beat Komm. Not helping themselves, the Beast got several penalties out of two altercations. Eventually, Stefan Fournier got a game misconduct for continuing the altercation, sending the Beast to the penalty kill in the dying seconds of the game. This ruined the chance to have the extra man with Hogberg on the bench and the Royals held on for the win. In the end, the Beast are now on a three-game losing streak with the playoffs almost completely out of reach.
Score: Royals 4 – Beast 3
Shots: Royals 35 – Beast 37
Penalties: Royals 5 – Beast 8
Royals goals scored by Brown (1), Schmidt (1), Wilkins (1) and Willows (1). With assists from Mark Bennett (1), Chris McCarthy (1), Willows (1) and Nolan Zajac (1).
Beast goals scored by Foster (1), Leveille (1) and Petgrave (1). With assists from Cianfrini (1), Vincent Dunn (1), Henry (1), Jeff King (1) and David Vallorani (1).
The Beast next play Friday night as they host the Norfolk Admirals and try to get that next win. Be sure to follow @SinBinBeast on Twitter for live game updates.