BRAMPTON, Ont. – The Brampton Beast had a dismal 2017-18 ECHL season in which they missed the playoffs. This season, the term used by players and coaches is “unfinished business.” So a strong start to the season is a must for this veteran-laden squad if they wish to return to the Kelly Cup Playoffs. The Beast hit the season running, with seven games in October. The good news is that only two of those on the road.
Game #1 — Saturday vs. Manchester at CAA Centre
Brampton battled back all game long trailing 3-1 after twenty minutes and 4-3 after the second period. Manchester pressured the Beast defense, creating numerous scoring opportunities. If not for the strong play by Beast goaltender Jake Paterson, who made 43 saves on the night, the outcome could have much worse for Brampton. The Beast needed last-minute heroics from forward David Pacan, who tied the game with Paterson on the bench. Forward Nathan Todd was the hero for the Beast tallying three points and the shootout winner.
Game #2 — Sunday vs. Manchester at CAA Centre
Sunday afternoon’s tilt would look a lot like the contest a night earlier, with the Beast falling behind 2-0 before the game was seven minutes old and looking to have little spark to their game in the opening frame. In the second period, the Beast would fall further behind 3-0 before veteran defenceman Reggie Traccitto would open the scoring from Jordan Henry and David Vallorani to make it a 3-1 Monarch lead. The Beast drew to within a goal to make it 3-2 and there was a sense that there was a little magic leftover from Saturday’s home opener as Brampton held the balance of the play in the latter stages of the second period.
The third period saw both teams pour on the pressure. The hottest Beast player, forward Nathan Todd rang one off the iron near the halfway mark of the last period. The hard work would pay off for the Beast, though, as Macoy Erkamps took a feed from Todd to even the score with a little over four minutes left in the game. But there would be no magic for the Beast faithful, as Monarchs forward Nick Moutrey would score with 57 seconds left to seal the victory.
Good, But Not Great, Start
What can be taken away by the Beast coaching staff and players alike is that they must play a full 60 minutes. In the ECHL, as with any other league, there are no guaranteed victories. Had the Beast not been flat in the opening period on Sunday they may well have taken both games from Manchester. The other glaring shortcoming from this past weekend is the outrageous amount of shots that the Beast are allowing on Paterson. If not for his performance in both games, the Beast would have likely come away from the weekend with no points and lopsided losses.
At the beginning of the season, there tends to be a lot of player movement with both AHL and NHL teams moving players up and down getting their rosters set for their respective regular seasons. This year proved to be no different with both Mike Folkes (upper body) and Brandon Marino (lower body) nursing injuries. Both Francois Beauchemin and Daniel Ciampini were recalled by the Belleville Senators. Brampton also added left winger Anthony Deluca off waivers from the Wichita Thunder.
Brampton is off until next weekend when they will play a home-and-home set with the Adirondack Thunder. Saturday they travel to Adirondack for their third game of the season and then return home Sunday. Puck drop is 2:00 pm Sunday at the CAA Centre as the Beast continue their quest for a North Division title.