BRAMPTON, ON. — After enjoying five days off to start the New Year, the Brampton Beast played three games over the weekend. They played a pair of games at home against the Kalamazoo Wings, and a one-game road trip on Saturday to Toledo to face the Walleye.
In the opening game against the Wings, the Beast welcomed the Spengler Cup hero, Zach Fucale, back in net. However, the Beast dropped the game 5-2 to the Wings.
The following night, the Beast took to the ice against the Toledo Walleye and were shutout for the first time this season. The Beast are now scoring below the four goals per game average that they had maintained all season long.
On Sunday afternoon, the Beast welcomed the Wings once again and looked to rebound after two straight losses. Brampton played the game with an edge that had been missing the past two games and Fucale was solid in the Brampton net. However, the Beast dropped their third game in a row 3-2 in overtime.
Mounting injuries sustained by the parent club, the Montreal Canadiens, have caused a ripple effect through the organization. Beast players are being called up to the St. John’s IceCaps, and the IceCaps are losing players to the Canadiens. These moves create roster spots for free agents on the ECHL team’s 18-man roster.
That said, the Beast welcomed back both regular goaltenders, Zach Fucale and Bryan Pitton, who was returned from his professional try out (PTO) with the IceCaps. With Andrew D’Agostini still available as the third goalie, the Beast released goalies Taylor Carnevale and Brandon Billie.
Steady veteran defenceman, Reggie Traccitto, was called up to the IceCaps to fill a roster spot. The Beast also signed defenceman Travis Armstrong to a standard player contract (SPC). Armstrong had split time this season in the ECHL and SPHL and is in his second tour of duty with the Beast.
In addition, the Beast added a trio of forwards to their roster.
Veteran Stephon Thorne was claimed off waivers from the Fort Wayne Comets and is embarking on his second tour of duty with the Beast. He previously played for the Beast from 2014-16. The fan favorite played all four seasons in the OHL with the Brampton Battalion and captained the team in his final season.
Brandon MacLean was returned from the IceCaps after suiting up for two games for the AHL team. MacLean is fifth in scoring with Beast. He has recorded 25 points in 26 games so far this season.
Daulton Leveille was obtained in a trade with the Wichita Thunder for future considerations. Leveille was a former first round draft pick by the Atlanta Thrashers (29th overall 2008 NHL Entry Draft). The 26-year-old old forward brings speed and a net presence to the Beast, and recorded his first goal with Brampton in his first game.
With the numerous roster moves over the past two weeks, it will take an adjustment period before the Beast regain their winning form that they showed in 2016. The Beast will play three games in less than 72 hours next weekend. They will travel to play the Wings again on Friday night before playing a pair of home games Saturday and Sunday against the Toledo Walleye.