Beast Weekly Wrap | Looking to Rebound

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Luc Blain (Photo by Paul Jackow / Brampton Beast)

by Mike Ries, Staff Writer, AHL Report

Luc Blain (Photo by Paul Jackow / Brampton Beast)

BRAMPTON, ON. — After a fast start to the season, the Brampton Beast of the ECHL have struggled as of late, experiencing their first losing streak of the season. The Beast traveled to the state of Florida to take on the Orlando Solar Bears, the ECHL affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs, in a three-game series in which they dropped all three games. The Beast then split a pair of home games against the Quad City Mallards.

All three games against the Bears were spirited affairs, which is natural when the Leafs and Habs renew their rivalry on every professional level. The Beast were victims of poor defensive play and spotty goaltending, allowing 14 goals in those three games. Something positive to take away from the short losing streak was that their penalty-kill was perfect nine-for-nine. Despite dropping four of their last five games, the Beast still sit at a respectable fifth in the North Division.

David Pacan continues to lead the Beast in scoring with 23 points in 18 games this season and sits eighth overall in league. Goaltender Zach Fucale leads the Beast goaltenders with 10 starts this season, sporting a 5-3 record and a 3.21 goals against average (GAA.) The tandem of Bryan Pitton and Andrew D’Agostino have appeared in a combined 10 games this season and have provided stable goaltending from the backup position.

Recent addition Lucas Venuto, a four-year OHL veteran who had spent the last season and part of this year in Europe, has fit in nicely with the Beast. Venuto excelled on the bigger ice surface in Sweden where he recorded 38 points in 48 career games playing Division One. Venuto slotted in on the second line and has shown to have chemistry with centerman, Luc-Olivier Blain. Venuto brings smooth skating and speed to the Beast.

Although defenceman Mike Folkes has been in and out of the lineup, he has proved to be effective when he is given the chance to play. Folkes spent last season in Great Britain in the EIHL after a season with the Utah Grizzlies of the ECHL. Folkes plays a much bigger game than his 5-foot-11-inch frame and can be counted on in all situations.

To their credit, the Beast are still averaging over four goals a game this season. They have excelled on the penalty kill with an 82.9 per cent success rate, but have struggled on the power-play, only scoring eight times on 68 attempts this season for an 11.8 per cent success rate and allowing five short-handed goals. This is an area that Brampton needs to address and improve throughout the season. It should be noted that they have made a minor adjustment in recent games, employing four forwards and one defenceman on the power-play.

The pair of games against the Mallards started an eight game home stand for Brampton, in which they will welcome the Elmira Jackals, Indy Fuel, Wheeling Nailers and Adirondack Thunder. They will then head out on an extended seven-game road trip to close out 2016.

 

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