Game 44: Elmira Jackals (9-29-5-0) at Brampton Beast (22-15-2-3)
7:15 p.m., Powerade Centre, Brampton, Ontario
The Jackals and Brampton Beast play the middle game of a three-in-three series with the final game at the Powerade Center in Brampton. Tonight is the seventh of nine matches between the teams in the season series. Brampton has won the first six against Elmira, including last night's 4-3 win that came with 4.1 seconds left in regulation.
The Beast struggled in January, but opened February with last night's win over the Jackals, improving to 3-5-1-1 over their last 10 games. That has dropped the Beast to fifth place in the North Division with 49 points, one point behind Wheeling for the final playoff spot.
The Jackals have lost seven straight games, their second-longest drought of the season, dropping to 9-29-5-0 on the season. With 23 points, the Jackals are in sixth place in the North Division and 13th place in the Eastern Conference.
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Last time out
The Jackals rallied from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game at three, only to give up a goal with 4.1 seconds left in regulation in a 4-3 loss to the Brampton Beast at the Powerade Centre last night.
Brampton rolled out to a 3-0 lead in the first minute of the second period. They got odd-man rush goals from David Vallorani and David Pacan in the final five minutes of the first period to go up 2-0 and then David Ling scored a 5-on-3 power-play goal for a 3-0 lead 38 seconds into the middle frame. The Jackals flipped the game around from there. Matt Lane started the comeback at 7:20 with a rebound goal in the slot. Then Kenton Miller scored an unassisted goal at 13:16 to make it a 3-2 game heading into the third.
Elmira dominated play in the third period, outshooting the Beast 19-6 and tying the game 8:27 on a right circle blast by Davis Vandane just as a power play ended. The Jackals were on the verge on taking their first lead numerous times the rest of the game, but it was Brampton that found the game-winning goal in the final seconds of regulation. Pacan scored his second of the night, converting on a cross-ice pass with 4.1 seconds left to win it for the Beast, 4-3.
Oh so close
The Jackals played three tight games on home ice last week, but lost all three by one-goal margins. They dropped decision of 1-0 and 3-2 to Fort Wayne Wednesday and Friday before slipping to Adirondack, 3-2, Sunday.
Elmira opened this week with last night's one-goal loss, 4-3, to Brampton. On the season, the Jackals are now 5-7-5-0 in games decided by one goal, which includes their last two victories. Five of their six regulation losses in one-goal games are on home ice (3-5-2-0), while they are 2-2-3-0 on the road in those situations.
Vs. the North
The Jackals struggles in 2016-17 have been highlighted by their ineffective play within their own division. In 28 games against the North Division, the Jackals are just 5-21-2-0, giving them just 12 of a possible 56 points within the division.
Ironically, three of their five divisional wins are against division-leading Manchester, holding a 3-5-0-0 mark against the Monarchs. Their other wins are against Adirondack (1-5-1-0) and Reading (1-5-0-0). Elmira is winless against Brampton (0-5-1-0) and Wheeling (0-1-0-0).
Tonight is the seventh of nine matches between the teams and the Beast have won each of the first six. In the last two meetings, both in Brampton, the Beast have won in overtime (Dec. 4) and scored the game-winning goal with 4.1 seconds left in regulation (last night). The other four games were decided by two goals, but in three of those Brampton scored a late empty-net goal to turn a one-goal game into a two goal game.
Brandon MacLean has tormented the Jackals in the series, posting 10 points (2g, 8a) and a +8 rating in just four games. David Vallorani is next with eight points (6g, 2a), including the overtime game-winning goal Dec. 4. Casey Thrush continues to lead the Jackals with five points (5a) in the five games, while Kenton Miller leads the team with three goals.
In net Zachary Fucale has five wins in four starts with a 2.79 goals-against average and an .897 save percentage versus the Jackals. For Elmira, Andy Iles is 0-2-1-0 with a 3.36 goals-against average and an .875 save percentage in three starts against the Beast while Jason Kasdorf allowed four goals on 36 shots in his first appearances last night.
Scouting the Beast
After an excellent December, Brampton slumped to a 3-6-1-1 record in January. 10 of their 11 games, with the exception of their final game against Wheeling, were played against Western Conference opponents--Indy, Kalamazoo, Toledo and Fort Wayne. Last night's win snapped a two-game winless streak (0-1-0-1), but Brampton is still on the outside of the playoff picture, holding a 22-15-2-3 record and 49 points, one behind Wheeling.
The Brampton offense was hot and cold in January, scoring four or more goals in four games and getting held to one or less five times, including three shutouts. The Beast are down to 13th in the ECHL at goals per game at 3.43 goals per game. David Vallorani leads the Beast with 48 points (19g, 29a), including 15 points (4g, 11a) on the power play. David Pacan is second with 39 points and a team-high 23 goals in just 37 games, despite a stint with the AHL's Syracuse Crunch, where he had two assists in six games.
In net, Zachary Fucale has appeared in 28 games and has a 15-8-1-1 record with a 3.04 goals-against average and an .899 save percentage, all of which leads the team. Andrew D'Agostini and Bryan Pitton have split the other 19 appearances in the Brampton net.
The Beast's power play was 1-for-5 last night, remaining ninth in the ECHL at 19.1% (30-for-157). They are 2-for-17 (11.8%) in the season series with the Jackals. The Beast have also allowed nine shorthanded goals, including one against the Jackals.
The Jackals power play was 0-for-4 last night and is 0-for-16 over the last seven games. They have scored a power-play goal in just one game over their last 10 games, going (2-for-28) since Jan. 14. Overall Elmira is 19-for-137 (13.9%) on the season.
Brampton's penalty kill is one of the top units in the league, ranking third at 86.6%, allowing 24 power-play goals in 179 chances. It isn't as good at the Powerade Centre, only turning aside 84.8% of opposition power plays.
The Jackals penalty kill struggled in 13 January games, allowing at least one power-play goal in nine games and then allowing one in their first February game last night. Out of those nine games, they allowed at least two power-play goals five times and finished January 30-for-47 (63.8%) on the kill. That dropped Elmira to 78.4% on the season