Hershey Downs Lehigh Valley in Phantoms' Preseason Opener

Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Penguins fans should mark October 29th on their calendars - the WBS Pens first visit to this newly built  PPL Center.
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms opened their preseason schedule at the newly built PPL Center with a 3-1 loss to the Hershey Bears, with several big names like Robert Hagg, Shayne Gostisbehere and Scott Laughton not in the lineup. The Phantoms travel to Hershey to take on these same Bears at Giant Center on Friday night in the second of three preseason games on the Phantoms' schedule.

Brett Hextall tallied the lone goal for the Phantoms. Only fitting that the son of general manager Ron Hextall - who was in attendance, scored the first AHL goal in the PPL Center, even if it's only the preseason.

Promising rookie goaltender Anthony Stolarz got the start in net, stopping 15 of the 18 shots he faced. Bears goaltender Pheonix Copley put on a strong performance in net as well, stopping 23 of 24.

After killing off back-to-back penalties early in the first, the Phantoms took a fortuitous bounce in the neutral zone and were off to the races.

Kevin Goumas sprung out of the penalty box and scooped a loose puck at the offensive blue line, storming into the zone and firing a shot on Bears' goaltender Pheonix Copley. Copley made a nice save on Goumas' shot, but Brett Hextall - son of Flyers GM Ron Hextall - was there for the rebound and jammed the puck home to put the Phantoms in front 1-0.

The Phantoms killed off three Hershey power plays in the first frame.

It was Hershey in penalty trouble in the middle frame, but it didn't keep the Bears from tying the game. Bears forward Joel Broda pounced on a turnover and fired an uncontested shot past Anthony Stolarz 3:22 into the 2nd period to even the game at 1-1. Brody's shorthanded goal was unassisted.

From there, the Phantoms continued to draw power plays - including 58 seconds of two-man advantage time - but were unable to take the lead due in large part to some fantastic saves by Bears goaltender Pheonix Copley.

Phantoms netminder Stolarz also had some big stops in the 2nd period, including a nice pad save on a toe-drag and shoot play from Dustin Gazley late in the period.

Ultimately, the Phantoms inability to score on the man advantage prevented them from getting the win tonight. Unofficially, the Phantoms went 0-for-8 on the power play.

The Bears rallied in the third period, taking the lead at 2-1 on a great individual effort from Stanislav Galiev. Galiev flew into the zone and split the defense, using a nice combination of a toe-drag and spin move to give himself room to fire the puck over Stolarz' glove 11:11 into the final frame.

Less than three minutes later, Braden Primm finished off a play to extend the Bears' lead to 3-1, the game's final tally. Broda and Michal Cajkovsky registered assists on the goal at 13:52 of the third.

ROSTER NOTES - Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Anthony Stolarz got the start in net for the Phantoms.

Shayne Gostisbehere and Scott Laughton were re-assigned by the Flyers this afternoon, but both were scratched for tonight's game. Zack Stortini is on waivers and will be re-assigned to the Phantoms upon clearing waivers tomorrow at noon.






ironpigpen said...

Phantoms # 44 was DOMENIC MONARDO, the former Lake Superior State captain who scored 27 goals (46 pts) in 70 games for the ECHL's Reading last season.

TonyAndrock said...

Thanks for that. The Phantoms didn't have a #44 listed on their roster last night on the paper they gave to us and post-game was a little dicey being their first game and I forgot to ask.

ironpigpen said...

No problem ... It's pre-season, everybody knows how it can go ... Monardo is one of the players 'on-the-bubble' for a roster spot at the the AHL level, as are a number of players who were in the line-up for both the Bears and Phantoms the other night.

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