TOLEDO, Ohio – The Brampton Beast rolled into town Saturday to take on the Toledo Walleye in the last matchup between these two teams this season. The Beast have lost three straight games with the latest loss coming Friday at Wheeling. Toledo, on the other hand, has won four straight dating back to March 14th. Goaltenders Pat Nagle and Chris Driedger faced off as the game began at the Huntington Center.
As the game got underway, both teams managed to quick with an early shot to each goaltender. Patrick McCarron earned the game’s first penalty when he was called for tripping two and a half minutes into the night. Brampton was unable to capitalize on the opportunity, however. Four minutes later Toledo had a chance on the man advantage when David Vallorani committed a high-sticking violation, but this time Brampton’s penalty kill prevented a score. As the penalty expired, the Walleye offense put pressure on Driedger. Over the course of fours minutes, the Beast netminder faced ten shots and was able to stop all of them. Tyler Barnes had a prime opportunity when a rebound shot out to his stick with an open net, but he couldn’t pull the trigger to put Toledo ahead.
Brampton survived the rush and responded with 4:41 remaining in the first. Beast defenseman Jordan Henry took the puck over center ice and let a shot go from the blue line. Nagle, perhaps not seeing or not expecting the shot, couldn’t corral it to give Brampton the first goal of the game.
Toledo would get another chance on the power play shortly after the Brampton goal but was unable to even it up as the period expired with a Brampton lead.
After taking the ice for the second period, Toledo went to work to try and tie up the game. Before a minute had passed in the second Kyle Bonis and Tyler Barnes walked into the offensive zone with a 2-on-0, but Driedger was able to make an excellent save and keep the rebound out to maintain the lead.
Brampton’s offense was much better in the period, as both teams had alternating stretches of pressure. Four penalties were called throughout the second, two against each team, but the penalty kill units would not falter as they prevented any special teams goals. Goaltending continued to shine, especially in the case of Driedger, as no goals would be scored in the second.
Both offensive units would break through during the third period. Before any goals were scored, however, Dan Watson would be ejected for the first time as a head coach. Two minutes into the third Watson received an unsportsmanlike conduct bench minor that stemmed from his frustration about an unsportsmanlike conduct call in the second period that went unexplained. After a heated discussion with referee Andrea Barone, Coach Watson was ejected from the game, and coaching duties fell to Andy Delmore for the remainder of the evening.
Brampton would take advantage of the power play following Watson’s ejection. After entering the zone and getting set up, Alex Foster would let a shot go from the blue line which would be tipped past Nagle by Jackson Leef to put Brampton up by two. The goal came after 3:50 of play in the period.
Less than a minute after going down by two, Toledo would get a power play opportunity but could not convert. Chris Driedger continued to make critical saves against Toledo and seemed unbeatable at this point in the contest. After Scott Jacklin and Jared Wilson were both sent to the box for roughing Ryan Obuchowski gave Brampton a power play after his tripping call, but all penalties expired without consequence. Upon returning to full strength Brampton would make a push against Nagle, but instead, it was Colin Jacobs who would strike.
Toledo was able to finally cash in on all of their hard work thanks to the work of Colin Jacobs and Jared Wilson. Wilson had been trying to fire Toledo up when he took the roughing call earlier in the period and was crucial to the first Walleye goal. The young defenseman would set up Jacobs as he fired a rocket from the slot to finally beat Driedger with 7:55 left in the period. Less than a minute later Toledo would get a power play, followed by a brief period of 5-on-3 due to a roughing and slashing call respectively against Brampton. Shortly after the 5-on-3 expired to become a standard power play, Mike Borkowski would tie the game up with Toledo’s first and only power play marker of the night.
After Borkowski’s goal with 5:18 remaining, the Huntington Center was energized, and the momentum shifted to Toledo. Brampton needed to respond quickly to keep the game from getting out of hand, which was precisely what the Beast did. Barely a minute after Borkowski’s goal Foster would bank the eventual game-winning goal off of Nagle to put Brampton up once again. Toledo was unable to answer and saw their four-game win streak come to an end.
Throughout the contest, there were twelve penalties; five against Toledo and seven against Brampton. Each team would score on one of those power play opportunities. With the loss, Pat Nagle drops to 33-5-3-1 while Chris Driedger improves to 7-4-0-1. Driedger was without a doubt the best player on the ice during the game, having stopped 37 of 39 shots faced including a 2-on-0 break to start the second period. Toledo looks to rebound from the loss Sunday afternoon against the Kalamazoo Wings.