Monday, November 23, 2015

Fort Wayne Komets 0 at Brampton Beast 2 (ECHL) - November 22, 2015

I'm in Canada for a couple of weeks to visit family and see the Grey Cup among other events. With the hockey season well underway, it is also a good time to add a few rinks to my venue count. There is only one pro team in Ontario that I have yet to visit, namely the Brampton Beast of the ECHL.

The Beast are in their third year of existence after spending one season in the now-defunct CHL before moving to the ECHL in 2014. They took over the Powerade Centre (below) from the Brampton Battalion, who moved on to North Bay. I saw one of the Battalion's final games here and correctly predicted that I would revisit the rink in short order.

The Powerade Centre is a community rink located on Kennedy Road just north of Mississauga. Parking is free, though you should drive around the ring road to the north side, where the main entrance is. The community entrance is on the east side, where three rinks are open to the public for youth and adult hockey. You cannot access the main rink from the community rinks, but you can enjoy the smell wafting over, an door familiar to those of us who grew up playing hockey in Canada. Can't say that I've missed it.

Tickets on game day are very expensive for this level of hockey; I paid C$33, including taxes, for a gold seat, but given how poor attendance is the best option is to choose the cheapest seats and move around if you desire. The Beast average about 2,500, third worst in the league, but still retired number 7 (visible at the top of the photo above) to honour their fans. Not a big fan of these sorts of banners to begin with, but even less so when the team can't sell out. Anyway, advanced tickets are 25% cheaper and definitely worth looking into as the fees are reasonable. I really don't know why the platinum seats are $2 more than the gold seats, other than the gold seats are filled with fans who are there as part of promotions or giveaways and thus those sections are more crowded.

The concourse is quite narrow and made more so by a games zone, which includes a ping pong table and bubble hockey. I really don't understand how table tennis works in a crowded area, since you are always chasing the ball among trampling feet, but it seems to be a popular stopping point. The Brampton Sports Hall of Fame (below) is the key attraction here, with the card machines that I mentioned last time running a close second.

Inside the seating bowl, all seats are a garish purple, with 16 rows, Q being the topmost. The higher rows offer the best view without being blocked by the glass.

The Beast spent their first season unaffiliated with any NHL team, but are now in the farm system of the Montreal Canadiens and have the team's logo as a shoulder patch.

Before the game, the team honoured Cal Wild, their captain who had just retired after playing six games this season. His career started with Texas Brahamas in 2010 and I saw him score a goal four years ago, almost to the day. It is discovering these small coincidences that make the maintenance of this blog so interesting to me. Wild will fittingly remain with the Beast in a community relations role.

The game was a 2 p.m. start with the Fort Wayne Komets (Avalanche affiliate) the visitors. Neither team was able to generate much in the first couple of periods, though the referee was trying his best to help out the offenses by awarding plenty of penalties. The most notable player was Cody Sol (above), who was anything but a ray of sunshine, getting called for multiple infractions, including one where he jumped Jordan Henry after Henry had levelled a Komet with a hit to the head. Later, Sol was given a misconduct for his actions during a fight between other players, giving him 16 PIMs on the afternoon.

Early in the third period, Brampton rushed up the ice on a 2-on-1. Pat Nagle made the save but Komet defenseman Kyle Thomas got tangled up with Nagle and the puck ended up on the stick of Luc-Olivier Blain (#27 above), who slapped it into the empty net. Nagle and Thomas complained vociferously as it did appear as if Thomas was nudged into Nagle, but the referee had none of it and Brampton led 1-0.

Just a few minutes later, Brampton was on the power play and new captain Brandon Marino (#22 in the second photo above) snapped a shot from the right circle off the left post for a 2-0 lead, which the Beast maintained, with Edward Pasquale (above) picking up the shutout.

Brampton finished 1/6 on the power play while Fort Wayne went 0/10. Not a pretty game, but entertaining enough for a Sunday afternoon.


Both Sol and Pasquale were drafted by Atlanta in 2009 after playing for Saginaw in the OHL Pasquale played the previous three seasons in St. John's but was recently sent to Brampton when Carey Price made his return to Montreal. Pasquale has yet to repaint his mask.

This was the first half of a sportsroadtrips doubleheader with the second half a 6 p.m. start an hour away in Oshawa. The Wild retirement ceremony pushed the end of this one to nearly 4:45, but I was still able to make it to Oshawa in time. More on that game shortly.



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