(Photo by Rabita Naqvi | © Rocket Sports Media) Mandatory Credit Required

by Mike Ries, Staff Writer, AHL Report

BRAMPTON, ON — Despite a slow start to the season (0-4-1-0), the Brampton Beast remain optimistic. The Beast welcomed the Kalamazoo Wings to the Powerade Centre last Sunday afternoon and lost a hard fought 5-4 decision after dropping a 5-2 game to the Wings the previous night.

On Sunday, the Beast fought to stay close with the Wings on the scoresheet and on the ice. However, two quick goals from the opposition early in the third period proved to be too much to overcome.

Brampton will remain home through the month of October with a mini three-game homestand. They will welcome the Wheeling Nailers, the ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, next Friday night and Sunday afternoon, and then head out on the road to start the month of November to face the Rapid City Rush, the ECHL affiliate of the Minnesota Wild, for three games in South Dakota.

With the Beast riding a losing streak to open the season, there are a few bright spots including captain, Brandon Marino, who sits tenth in league scoring with four goals and six points in four games. The Beast will also have balanced scoring with 14 players recording at least a single point.

Rookie Thomas Ebbing (recalled by the Laval Rocket on Thursday) continues to impress early in the season with three points in four games. The other rookie that has stood out this season is defenceman, Cody Donaghey. The 21-year-old rookie started the season with Belleville Senators of the AHL, but was moved to Brampton because of a lack of ice time.

Donaghey is a five-year veteran of the QMJHL, and in that time playing with six different teams. In only two games with the Beast this season, he has recorded two points and is by far the best defenceman the Beast have this season. His ability to process the game is at the AHL-level and his puck moving skills are a notch above the ECHL-level. What he lacks is the defensive zone coverage that he is still learning at the pro level.

What has failed Brampton early in the season is the lack of consistent play from their defence. A lack of overall quickness at that position for Brampton has left glaring errors in the systems implemented by the Beast coaching staff.

On paper, it appears that the goaltending has let the Beast down in games. However, other than the occasional hiccup the goaltending tandem of Michael McNiven and Marcus Hogberg has been solid, though it doesn’t show on the scoresheet.

Coming into the game on Sunday, the Beast were without forward Ian Harris who remains on injured reserve. Brampton lost a pair of key forwards due to being recalled to the Laval Rocket of the AHL. Both Yannick Veilleux and Jordan Boucher were being counted on to be top six forwards with the Beast this season and will be missed. Forward Luc Blain became the all time leader in games played with the Beast on Saturday appearing in his 137th game for Brampton.

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