BRAMPTON, Ont. – Adam Hughesman scored a game-winning breakaway goal to help the Reading Royals defeat the Brampton Beast 6-3, in an energy filled affair on Friday night.
Hughesman capitalized just 2:20 into the third period to cement Reading’s lead in a back and forth affair. The spectacular individual play saw Hughesman come from behind the net and stick handle Ryan DeMelo out of position, before scoring through his legs.
Royals Bryant Molle, scored the opening goal 53 seconds into the game with a shot off the left circle that flew past the left pad of Brampton’s DeMelo.
Brett Flemming’s fifth goal of the season at 5:26 of the third period was the Royals fifth score of the game and chased DeMelo out of his net.
The Beast replaced their starter with the freshly acquired goaltender Parker Van Buskirk, who was signed by Brampton the morning of the game.
Royals (40-16-4-2) were able to develop a solid forecheck all night. Reading created many of its scoring chances from the blue line and capitalized on multiple rebounds to take the second game of a three-game series.
“That’s a good team we played against,” said Van Buskirk. “They apply a lot of pressure”
Inside the first minute it was clear the Beast (21-37-3-0) were going to have a tough night. The all-Canadian side did regroup, however, the back and forth pace saw the lead change four times during the game, ultimately not in their favour.
Beasts’ Cal Wild and Tyson Fawcett scored early to establish a Brampton lead they could not hold. The home team’s biggest highlight came from forward Bobby Hughes, who scored a pretty breakaway goal at 18:36 of the second period to tie the game 3-3.
Royals capitalized on many of their chances and were able to find offence from most of the team, as 11 players recorded a point on Friday night.
Readings’ Ryan Cruthers scored his 16th of the season at 7:42 on the power play to tie the game at two. David Marshall scored at 16:25 of the second period and Kevin Walrod ended the night by scoring an empty-net goal to give Reading the 6-3 victory.
Martin Ouellette (15-8-1-1) started for the Royals on Friday night. The Saint-Hippolyte, QC., native was steady for Reading, making 25 saves. The stability was not equalled by his Beast counterpart.
It was not the best night for the Beast-starting goalie. DeMelo (3-4-0-0) was the first Brampton goaltender to have played six straight games this season, this after being acquired on March 5.
Despite the early goal, DeMelo showed signs of brilliance in the first period. However, he was unable to settle down and was pulled for Van Buskirk early in the third-period.
“In a situation like that on any level you’re trying to keep it to a two goal lead and make sure it stays that way and give our team a chance down the stretch,” said Van Buskirk.
The newly-acquired Beast goaltender was able to make a couple big saves, including a break-away stop in his ECHL debut.
“It felt good,” said Van Buskirk. “Sometimes it’s maybe a blessing, you’re thrown in and you don’t have enough of an opportunity to think about what’s happening.”
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