(Photo by Andy Camp / Adirondack Thunder)

by Mike Ries, Staff Writer, AHL Report

BRAMPTON, ON — After recording their first victory of the season, the Brampton Beast headed out on the road for a 23-hour bus ride to South Dakota to face the Rapid City Rush for a three-game series. 

The Beast recorded their second victory of the season in the opening game against the Rush, the ECHL affiliate of the Minnesota Wild.  Brampton picked up a single point in the second game as the Beast fell 3-2 in a shootout that lasted eight rounds.

The final game saw the Beast run out of gas, dropping a 3-1 decision, struggling in all aspects of the game after the opening period.  The Rush outshot the Beast 30-14 over the final 40 minutes. If not for the stellar play of Andrew D’Agostini, the score would have been much worse.

The veteran D’Agostini got the start in all three contests picking up a win and helping the Beast grab a point in the shootout loss. Michael McNiven backed up D’Agostini in the opening game of the road trip before being recalled by the Laval Rocket. McNiven filled the spot left in Laval after Charlie Lindgren was recalled by the Canadiens.

With McNiven in Laval and goaltender Marcus Hogberg recalled by the Belleville Senators, the Beast signed Nate Mahle on an emergency basis. Other roster moves included forward Thomas Ebbing heading to Laval and returning. Defenceman Jordan Murray was recalled by Belleville leaving a big hole in the Beast defence corps.

In other player transactions, forward Eric Ylitalo was signed to a Standard Player’s Contract and saw action against Rapid City.  Brampton waived forwards Ian Harris and Darik Angeli.  Angeli was on the suspended list and Harris had been on injured reserve all season.

The Beast have shown improvement, particularly defensively, over the last few games.  Second year pro Matt Petgrave has seemingly found his stride both with his defensive coverage and goal scoring. 

What is failing the Beast all year long is their ineffective power-play.  Last season, it was ranked near the top of the league.  But they can’t seem to find their rhythm no matter the combination of players on the ice. 

In a game where success on special teams can mean the difference between winning and losing, it is imperative for the Beast to address this shortfall immediately. They could find themselves struggling to keep pace in the playoff hunt.

The Beast have a busy week ahead.  They will face the Jacksonville IceMen on Tuesday afternoon, followed by the Norfolk Admirals and Adirondack Thunder on Friday night and Sunday afternoon, respectively.