BRAMPTON, Ont. – The Beast stayed in Brampton after Tuesday’s win and were rested for their game versus the visiting Kalamazoo Wings. The Beast started the game 2-2-1 on the season versus the Wings. Friday night would either be the third game in a row without a loss, or a tough start to a 3-in-3 weekend.
With Marcus Hogberg having played well last game, he got called back up to Belleville. In return, the Senators sent down Chris Driedger to take on Joel Martin for the Wings. Right from the start, Driedger had to be ready as the Wings got the first early chances on net. The Beast outshot and outplayed the Wings for most of the first period. They got 14 shots in on net while holding the Wings to only eight, with almost five minutes in the middle of the period with no shots by the Wings. During this time, the Wings had to kill off a Mackenze Stewart penalty, but the Beast could not beat Martin after having thrown six shots at him in that two minutes.
With about six minutes left in the period, Chris Leveille was tight in on the wing and managed to pass over to an open Brandon Marino, who put it behind Martin for the first goal of the game and the only goal in the first period. After this goal, only two shots were recorded on net as both teams helped block shots for their goalies.
With the push from the Wings to tie the game, and the Beast on the attack to widen the lead, both teams were buzzing to start the second period. Three minutes in, David Vallorani got called for slashing and served his two minutes. As he got freed from the box, Tyler Heinonen beat Driedger and tied the game.
During their third power play, the Wings were held to no shots on net as the third best penalty kill in the league shut them down. Then the Beast came out to attack so hard that Wings were reeling getting no shots on net for another several minute stretch and forced the Wings into taking another penalty. While on the kill, the Wings got a couple of short-handed chances, the Beast took the lead back when Cody Donaghey got his seventh goal of the season. The period ended with the Beast up 2-1 and with a penalty to start the last period.
Now came the hard part for the Beast – keeping a one-goal lead in the third period. They had done this on Tuesday when they beat the Railers, so the odds were in their favor. They didn’t help themselves when Matt Petgrave dumped the puck too high and hit a spectator with the puck, sending him to the penalty box for a delay of game. Thus, the Beast ended up in a 49-second 5-on-3 situation. The Wings made an attack, but the Beast penalty kill was too strong for the Wings and their lost their final power play chance of the game.
At this point, the referee put away his whistle and let the teams play, which led to a very chippy final 15 minutes of play. The game went from end-to-end with both teams getting shots on goal. With just over 90 seconds left, the Wings pulled Martin for the extra attacker and had three serious chances on net, but Driedger made the key saves. The Beast played as a team and let Driedger do his job, and they ended up with the second home win in a row for the first time since early December.
For the second game in a row, the Belleville goalie that was sent down to the Beast got the win and the first star of the game. This was also the second game in a row that the Beast held the other team to only a single goal.
Of note, Driedger (MeiGray Golden Goalie) and Marino (ECHL Fantasy Skater) had on special jerseys in the game tonight. While Marino had been the original recipient of the jersey, Driedger was a fill-in for Andrew D’Agostini who is currently on reserve.
Score: Wings 1 – Beast 2
Shots: Wings 35 – Beast 40
Penalties: Wings 3 – Beast 5
Wings goal scored by Heinonen and was unassisted.
Beast goals scored by Marino (1) and Donaghey (1). Assists from Vincent Dunn (1), Jordan Henry (1) and Leveille (2).
The Beast next play Saturday in the second half of the home-and-home with Kalamazoo. Follow @SinBinBeast on Twitter for live game updates.