Brampton Beast topple Mallards behind excellence of Rollheiser

Goaltender shuts the door, offence comes alive in Friday night victory

Beast players congratulate goaltender Rollenheiser after a 6-2 victory Friday.
Beast players congratulate goaltender Rollenheiser after a 6-2 victory Friday. (Alykhan K. Ravjiani)

BRAMPTON –   Grant Rollheiser made 41 saves while Justin Donati had a goal and three assists as the Brampton Beast thrashed the Quad City Mallards 6-2 at the Powerade Centre in ECHL action Friday night.

Calin Wild added two goals of his own for the home side, while Steven Tarasuk`s first of the year and Matthew Maione`s game winner rounded out the scoring for the Beast (16-31-2-0). The win evens Brampton`s record at 6-6-0 against Quad City and snaps the team`s four game home losing streak.

Matt Duffy and Justin Fox replied for the Mallards (25-19-6), who entered the night just one point up on the Wichita Thunder for second place in the Central Division.

The loss snaps Quad City`s two game winning streak, and is the team’s fourth loss in six games at the Powerade Centre this season.

Entering action after two straight blowout losses at the hands of the Tulsa Oilers, Grant Rollheiser was tested all night by the Mallards, making numerous spectacular saves in Brampton`s seventh home win this season.

“It’s huge, especially after last weekend, we wanted to come out here and set the tone for the rest of the games this week,” said Rollheiser after his standout performance.

The former Maple Leafs sixth round pick withstood a Quad City barrage in the second period, kicking aside 17 of 18 shots in the frame, and looked extremely poised in picking up his seventh victory of the year.

“I don’t mind getting a lot of shots, it helps me stay focused I think more,” the 25 year old goaltender answered when asked about his mentality throughout the busy middle period. “Coming up to a pretty big grind here (in the schedule), so it’s just focus, relax and have fun out there.”

Maione`s eventual game-winning marker came at 16:42 of the second period, on a point shot that beat a screened Parker Milner. Donati`s goal came shortly after in the final minute of the period, on a beautiful spinning wrist shot through the slot, giving the Beast a 4-2 lead entering the game`s final frame.

Brampton came out of the gates with a lot of jump in the first period, dominating possession in the Quad City zone, and were rewarded for their play halfway through the frame. With Bennett Schneider in the box for tripping, Wild snapped home his first of the night to open the scoring at 9:51.

The Brampton captain added his second of the game to extend the Beast lead to three at 7:50 of the third period, coming down the right side and whipping a wrist shot past the glove of Miller.

Quad City came back twice from one goal deficits early, capitalizing on their special teams both times. Defenceman Matt Duffy`s point shot deflected off a Brampton stick, and past Rollheiser into the net at 15:19 of the first to tie the game at one.

Beast defender Steven Tarasuk scored at 16:32 to restore the lead for Brampton heading into the second period.  The goal was Tarasuk`s first of the season, and first since coming over from the Missouri Mavericks as a free agent.

Quad City answered with Justin Fox`s team leading 17th goal, a short-handed tally off a two-on-one break at 3:48 of the second. The goal kept Fox`s personal hot streak alive, giving him six points in the last four games.

David Ling capped off the scoring for the Beast with another power play blast from the point at 17:36 of the third. The goal was Ling’s fifth and the Beast’s sixth power-play marker in as many games.

Milner had himself a rough night, facing just 19 shots and giving up all six of the Brampton goals. The Mallards goaltender came into the game second in the league in both goals against average and save percentage. The two teams will square off again Sunday afternoon and Monday morning.

Notes: Friday was Mandarin Lunar Day Celebration Night at the game… Beast forward Chad Painchaud was named ECHL player of the week, after recording nine goals in three games during last week’s action… The Beast improved to 11-0-0 when leading after two periods of play… The team held a moment of silence for Elijah Marsh before the game, the three year old passed away Thursday in a Toronto hospital after being found outside with no vital signs earlier that morning.