BRAMPTON, Ont. – The Brampton Beast traveled to Kalamazoo for their final road game of the season. Entering Saturday night’s penultimate game of the regular season, the Kalamazoo Wings need the points to stay in the playoff race and could potentially clinch with a win.
The Wings were playing their final home game and were wearing their Canucks inspired jerseys for their fan appreciation night. The game started fast enough as both teams took possession of the puck, and the first whistle did not come until 4:09 of the period. That was when Brandon MacLean put Scott Jacklin’s pass in behind Joel Martin to open the scoring in favor of the Beast. That goal marked MacLean’s 20th of the season to hit that mark in the second-to-last game of the year.
Chris Driedger was tested multiple times, but was able to withstand the Wings’ onslaught. At the 8:10 mark, MacLean got his second goal of the game by putting it in off of Joel Martin’s back. However, this goal was immediately called off as it appears that Martin happened to save it. The referee then conferred with the goal judge and the no-goal called stood. The replay showed it going off the goal post and then Martin stopping it behind his back. It was likely a good goal, but the referee cannot call a goal he could not see.
With less than seven minutes left in the opening period, Matt Petgrave got his name on the game sheet as he was awarded two minutes for roughing. After Scott Henegar took Petgrave hard into the boards, Petgrave retaliated and was given those two minutes. During that power play, Lane Scheidl made Petgrave pay for that call and tied the game at one when he buried a rebound. When the Beast got their power play chance with four minutes left, they could not repeat what Scheidl did and could not even get a shot on net, although the Wings managed to get to shorthanded chances. The period ended with both teams getting a goal and only 17 combined shots on net.
The first shot on net in the second period didn’t come until after the two-minute mark and the second shot was not until almost two minutes later. Shortly after this low shot period, the pace did pick up as both teams went on solid attacks, but could not score. Both goalies made some big saves to keep the score tied at one each. At one point, Martin rushed out to stop Willie Corrin from getting a breakaway chance and got spun by the resulting collision. No penalty was called on that play as Corrin was going after the puck and not Martin and the contact was incidental. The referee gave Martin a chance to recover before continuing the game.
Several minutes later the Beast dumped the puck into the Wings end, and a rushed Martin misplayed the puck. Alex Foster put it into the yawning net to give the Beast their first lead of the game.
The Wings then attacked hard leading to some very nice saves by Driedger and another penalty for Petgrave. This time the Beast killed the penalty nicely as they allowed no shots on net.
Late in the period, the Beast got their second power play of the game, but the Wings also kept the Beast from getting a shot on net. The period ended without any more penalties or goals so that the Beast finished the second period with the lead for the second game in a row.
The game came down to the third period, and it was a wild one. The first several minutes of the period was all Wings pressure, and Driedger played an outstanding game to keep the Wings out of the net. The team also did a lot of work to help Driedger so he could get a clear vision on the puck and make the saves.
Then things took a bit of an unfavorable turn for the Beast. Petgrave carried the puck into the Beast corner and turned into a huge hit by Tyler Biggs. A shaken Petgrave then took a run at Justin Taylor, thinking that Taylor had hit him and the referee called the play. Biggs let Petgrave know who hit him and when Petgrave made a move, he got hit with a misconduct call and when he would not let it go, he got tossed from the game too. At this point, the Wings could have taken the Beast to task as they lost one of their best defensemen. However, Brandon Marino helped to up the pace of the Beast and held the Wings off from using Petgrave’s error in the Wings’ favor.
With time dying on a Wings power play, Driedger made an impressive quick save to keep the game at 2-1. The Beast’s penalty trouble continued as Marino got called for slashing with 8:32 left in regulation. The Wings only managed to get two shots on net during that power play, and the Beast switched to holding the lead. What that looked like was a lot of forechecking and keeping most of the players ready to help Driedger.
In the end, the Beast held onto a one-goal lead in the third period for the second game in a row. They again played the spoiler, preventing Kalamazoo from securing their playoff spot. With Indy getting an OT point, the Wings need to win in regulation on Sunday to make it into the playoffs.
Score: Beast 2 – Wings 1
Shots: Beast 31 – Wings 39
Penalties: Beast 6 – Wings 4
Beast goals scored by MacLean and Foster. Assists from Jacklin and David Vallorani.
Wings goal scored by Scheidl from Kyle Bushee and Josh Pitt.
The Beast play Sunday afternoon back at home versus the Adirondack Thunder. The Beast can again affect the playoffs, but only by helping determine the Thunder’s final position.
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