BRAMPTON, ONTARIO – Chris Auger had a season debut to remember for the Brampton Beast on Sunday afternoon at the Powerade Centre.
The Beast sniper, who led the club with 19 goals last season, returned from injury, and earned first star honours with a thrilling two-goal performance in his team’s 5-4 overtime victory over the Fort Wayne Komets.
David Pacan also shone in the game with the overtime winner and two assists to extend his personal point streak to six games. The 25-year-old has netted four goals and seven assists for 11 points during this run.
Sunday’s victory was also memorable for Beast starting goaltender Bryan Pitton, who made 21 saves to earn his first victory as a member of the Beast. He made multiple highlight reel saves, including a critical point-blank glove save late in the first period that kept momentum on the side of home team.
Brandon Marino and Brandon MacLean also found the net to propel the Beast to their third victory of the season.
In addition to the individual heroics, Brampton’s win over a strong Fort Wayne club was due to strong attacking zone pressure throughout the game.
Komets’ goaltender Eric Hartzell was under siege at times in a first period that saw Brampton outshoot Fort Wayne 13-5.
The first half of the second period saw both goaltenders make stellar saves. The Beast and Komets then combined for five goals in the last seven minutes.
Auger drew first blood for the Beast by jamming the puck past Hartzell at 13:39 after a wild scramble in front of the Fort Wayne net.
Shawn Sydlowski replied for the Komets with a wrist-shot goal at 15:19 to tie the game at one.
The Beast retook the lead at 16:45. Marino scored his third goal of the season by deflecting Yanick Veilleux’s wrist shot from the top of the right circle past an unsuspecting Hartzell.
Kyle Thomas deadlocked the game at two by scoring on the power play at 19:09.
The Beast went back on top just 26 seconds later. Marino found Auger in the slot with a nice pass, and Auger ripped the puck past Hartzell at 19:35 with a beautiful wrist shot to lift the Beast to a 3-2 lead heading into the final frame.
Brampton continued to dictate the pace of the game early in the third period, and scored at 4:43 to take a two-goal lead. MacLean took a two-on-one pass from Scott Jacklin and buried the puck past Hartzell with a hard forehand shot at point-blank range.
The lead was cut to one goal at 6:07 with Thomas cashing in on his second goal of the game for the Komets.
The Komets continued to press for the equalizer and did eventually break through. Mason Baptista beat Pitton with 2:29 remaining in the third period to force overtime.
Both teams traded chances early in the extra period but it was Pacan who lifted the Beast to victory. He cut in on a 2-on-0 breakaway then rifled the puck past the five hole of Hartzell on a beautiful chance with 1:13 remaining in overtime.
Brampton ended up outshooting Fort Wayne 31-26 in the contest.