Game 45: Elmira Jackals (9-30-5-0) at Brampton Beast (23-15-2-3)
7:05 p.m., First Arena, Elmira, New York
The Jackals and Brampton Beast play the final game of a three-in-three series tonight at First Arena. It is the eighth of nine matches between the teams in the season series. Brampton has won the first seven against Elmira, including wins in the first two games of this three-in-three at the Powerade Centre Brampton.
The Beast struggled in January, but have opened February with two straight wins over the Jackals, improving to 4-4-1-1 over their last 10 games. The Beast are now in fifth place in the North Division with 51 points, one point behind Wheeling for the final playoff spot.
The Jackals have lost eight straight games, their second-longest drought of the season, dropping to 9-30-5-0 on the season. With 23 points, the Jackals are in sixth place in the North Division and 13th place in the Eastern Conference. This is the only home game in a several week stretch for the Jackals, who hit the road in Cincinnati and Quad City next week.
Jackals Pregame at 6:50 p.m. Radio: 1410 WELM
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8-Bit & Arcade Night
It is 8-Bit & Arcade Night at First Arena, presented by Rainy Toad Gaming. Two video game stations will be set up on the concourse by Rainy Toad Gaming, allowing fans to play their favorite games throughout the night.
All fans in attendance will also receive a special 8-Bit styled Jackals poster, courtesy of Multimedia. Fans are encouraged to dress as their favorite video game character to join in the fun at First Arena.
Last time out
The Brampton Beast scored four goals in the second period and rolled to a 7-3 win over the Jackals in the middle game of a three-in-three series last night at the Powerade Centre.
Brampton scored twice four minutes apart late in the first period to take a 2-0 lead on the Jackals, but Elmira responded with a rebound goal from Greg Betzold with just 38 seconds left in the period, making it 2-1 entering the middle frame. The Jackals had a chance on the power play to tie the game early in the second, but Brampton scored shorthanded for a 3-1 lead. They would score three more times in the period, with a Matt Stanisz power-play goal sandwiched in between, making it a 6-2 game after 40 minutes.
The teams traded goals in the third, with Brandon Marino making it a 7-2 game before Guy Leboeuf answered back less than a minute later to make it 7-3. Neither team scored the rest of the way as the Beast beat the Jackals.
Vs. the North
The Jackals struggles in 2016-17 have been highlighted by their ineffective play within their own division. In 29 games against the North Division, the Jackals are just 5-22-2-0, giving them just 12 of a possible 58 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 (0-6-1-0) and Wheeling (0-1-0-0).
Tonight is the eighth of nine matches between the teams and the Beast have won each of the first seven. Despite the one-sided results, the first six games were all tight games before last night's four-goal win for Brampton.
Brandon MacLean has tormented the Jackals in the series, posting 12 points (3g, 9a) and a +10 rating in just five games. David Vallorani (8g, 2a) and David Pacan (7g, 3s) are next with 10 points in the series. With two points last night, Sebastien Sylvestre (2g, 3a) is now tied with Casey Thrush (5a) as the team leaders against Brampton.
In net Zachary Fucale has five wins in five starts with a 2.79 goals-against average and an .897 save percentage versus the Jackals..
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-3 last night and is 2-for-8 the last two games against the Jackals. They are now at 19.4% (31-for-160) on the season and 3-for-20 (15.0%) 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 1-for-5 last night, snapping an 0-for-16 slump over their previous seven games. They have scored a power-play goal in just twogames over their last 11 games, going (3-for-33) since Jan. 14. Overall Elmira is 20-for-142 (14.1%) on the season.
Brampton's penalty kill is one of the top units in the league, ranking third at 86.4%, allowing 25 power-play goals in 184 chances. At 89.2%, Brampton has the best road penalty kill in the ECHL.
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 two February games this week. 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 78.2% on the season.