BRAMPTON, ON – The Beast arrived home having beaten the Toledo Walleye for the second time in a month. However, they are out of the playoffs. The Fuel are looking for the win to inch closer to their first playoff berth.
Two seasons ago, the Beast and Fuel played for the first time in Indy. The Beast won that 3-1. Last season, the teams met five times with Brampton winning them all in regulation. Sunday’s contest is the only matchup between the two teams this season.
A Beast win would be meaningless to the standings, but not to the fans. A Fuel win would help them get closer to a playoff spot. With both teams having won their last games, they both came out flying. The high energy lasted the entire game and kept the fans in the whole four periods.
The Beast had the edge early as they got the first five shots on net during the first five minutes of play. None of these were yet able to get past Matt Tomkins in the Fuel net. Things started to heat up for the Fuel when Luc-Olivier Blain was assessed a two-minute minor for tripping. While they had some good chances, Marcus Hogberg made the saves. It would be sometime later when Johnny McInnis would pick up the rebound and score with assists to Matt & Ryan Rupert. The Beast would not take long to respond when Blain made a power move and scored the first Beast goal of the game. The period would end in a 1-1 draw with no clear dominant team.
The second period proved to be a far more interesting period of hockey. After Hogberg made a huge on Robin Press, Willie Corrin picked up the rebound and got it up to Erik Bradford who passed to Brandon Marino and between the two got some shots on net, until Marino put it over Tomkins for the 2-1 goal. While the Fuel later tied it back up again, Jackson Leef and Scott Jacklin each scored later in the period to give the Beast a 4-2 lead at the end of the second period.
The shots on net though were incredible for the period. The Beast had 20 while the Fuel had 13.
The Beast started the third period very lackadaisical, almost like this game was in the bag. After the Fuel scored twice within 30 seconds, Mathew Thompson and Darian Dziurzynski with the markers, the Beast called timeout. Once play continued, both teams were more aggressive as they each tried to take the lead back.
Neither team was able to get the lead back, as the play continued to keep that early intensity going. Halfway through the third period, the Beast got their final penalty. While killing the penalty, Press ended up on a breakaway but was tripped up. This lead to a penalty shot, which he scored with ease going top corner.
Many teams find that when the other team presses hard, the defending team ends up getting into penalty trouble. This was true for the Fuel as they earned three penalties in the final five minutes. With the Beast attacking, they kept the Fuel from being able to get a single shot on net for just over the last seven minutes of the game.
With time drawing to a close and a short 5-on-3, Blain swooped in and tied the game with only 28 seconds left. Blain would get the tying goal for his second of the night as he buried his own rebound in a top corner. It is interesting to note that this was Blain’s first multi-goal game in the ECHL.
With the game knotted at five each, the game went to overtime. “Free hockey” did not last long, however, as a double-teamed Marino got a pass up to an open Bradford in a 2-on-1. Bradford snipped the top corner over the glove hand of Tomkins to get the game-winner. The crowd almost brought the roof down with Bradford’s first goal as a Beast.
In the end, the Beast have won two straight games since being eliminated from the playoffs and are looking to finish at .500. For the Fuel, this loss means they are a point out of being in a three-way tie for fourth in the Central Division. With only six games left for the Fuel, their playoff hopes are on a knife-edge.
Score: Fuel 5 – Beast 6 (OT)
Shots: Fuel 37 – Beast 46
Penalties: Fuel 5 – Beast 4
Fuel goals scored by Dziurzynski (2), McInnis (1), Press (1) and Thompson (1). Assists from Brandon Anselmini (1), Jack Burton (1), Michael Neal (1), Logan Nelson (1), M. Rupert (1) and Ryan Rupert (1).
Beast goals scored by Blain (2), Bradford (1), Jacklin (1), Leef (1) and Marino (1). Assists from Bradford (1), Corrin (2), Alex Foster (1), Jordan Henry (2), Leef (1), Chris Leveille (2), Marino (1) and Reggie Traccitto (1).
The Beast next play Friday in Worcester for back-to-back games. The Railers need the two wins to keep themselves in the playoff race. The Beast have the edge, having won three of the five contests this season. Follow @SinBinBeast on Twitter for live game updates.