Toledo Walleye Spoil Brampton Beast's ECHL Debut
BRAMPTON, ON - The Brampton Beast showed off resilience and determination Friday night to come back from an early 3-goal deficit, but could not keep up the pressure in the third period as they fell to the Toledo Walleye 6-3 in their first game of the season.
Despite the loss, the Beast showed true character and grit in scoring three second-period goals in less than five minutes to even the contest, but could not find the go-ahead marker with the momentum in their favor.
Josh Holmstrom opened the scoring for Toledo on the first shot of the game with his first of the season, tipping a pass from Dane Walter past a screened Trevor Cann just 12 seconds in. The Walleye continued to dominate early on, holding a 10-0 advantage in shots through the opening minutes.
The Beast looked nervous after conceding the first goal, missing several key passes to break out of the zone and failing to generate any sustained offensive pressure. In their defensive end, they were a half-step too slow picking up their assignments, allowing the Toledo forwards precious time and space to work down low.
Holmstrom potted his second goal of the night at 7:03, while Tyler Barnes added his first of the season just fifteen seconds later to give the Walleye a commanding 3-0 lead.
Outshot 17-6 at the end of the first period, it was a different Beast team that came out of the dressing room for the start of the second. The top unit of Tyler Donati, Chad Painchaud and Jason Pitton came flying out of the gate and nearly had the Beast's first goal of the season on their opening shift, but couldn't quite control the bouncing puck in front of the net.
The sustained pressure and physical play would pay off moments later, when Brayden Rose's point shot assisted by Cal Wild and Josh McQuade found it's way past Toledo goaltender Jared Coreau at 4:07 to make the game 3-1.
The McQuade and Wild tandem teamed up again on their next shift to show off some new-found chemistry, this time with McQuade finding the back of the net to cut the deficit to one as Jeremy Beaudry added his first professional hockey point with the secondary assist.
With momentum building for the hometown club, Matt McCready would tie the game at 8:51 with the Beast on the penalty kill, as he banged in his own rebound after stealing the puck and coming in alone on the breakaway.
The Walleye responded moments later on the same powerplay as Jason Mercier beat Cann blocker-side to put Toledo up 4-3. Third period goals from Kyle Bonis on the breakaway at 8:31 and from Walters with his second of the season less than a minute later ended any hope of a second Beast comeback.
Despite the loss, the atmosphere at the Powerade Centre for the course of the game was electric - literally.
Pounding music, flashing lights and a fog-and-laser show opened the proceedings to a thunderous crowd of 3,016 for the first ECHL game played in Canada since the Victoria Salmon Kings folded in 2011. Various contests, prizes and giveaways, including a team signed stick and jersey at the end of the game, kept fans on their feet the whole night.
The Beast will have a chance to even the series when they welcome the Walleye back to the Powerade Centre this Sunday, October 26 at 2:00 pm.
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