Stolarz Slows Penguins, Cousins Completes Phantoms' Shootout Win

Saturday, December 13, 2014
Anthony Stolarz is starting to show confidence in his game.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms have given their fans plenty of exciting finishes at the PPL Center in their first 12 home games, with all but three of the games being decided by one goal including six overtime games. There was no shortage of excitement tonight in a 2-1 shootout win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

It was very much a goaltender's duel tonight between two talented rookies in the Pens' Matt Murray (23 saves/ 24 shots) and the Phantoms' Anthony Stolarz (44 saves/45 shots). The Phantoms held onto a 1-0 lead from early in the 1st period all the way to the final 2:08 of regulation before Jean-Sebastien Dea tied the game on a goal-mouth scrum to force overtime.

There was plenty of action in the extra session, as Dea and Jayson Megna controlled the puck for quite awhile in the Phantoms' defensive zone, but they were unable to get one past Stolarz until the shootout.

In the shootout, Josh Archibald and Dea tallied goals for the Penguins but they were outdone by the Phantoms as Petr Straka, Taylor Leier and Nick Cousins tallied goals for the home team. Cousins' shootout winner was especially impressive, as he nearly came to a complete stop at the top of Murray's crease before undressing the goalie and winning the game.

The win pushes the Phantoms (11-10-2-1) within two points of third place Binghamton in the East Division, with a game in hand on the BSens. The loss clips the Penguins' (15-9-1-2) lead in the East Division to just three points over Hershey a the Bears defeated Binghamton 5-2 tonight. The Phantoms finish their three game weekend in Atlantic City against Albany, while the Penguins return home to host the aforementioned Hershey Bears.

Much like last night up in Binghamton, the Phantoms got off to a good start off the opening face-off. Tonight, the Phantoms needed only 1:15 to take a 1-0 lead on the Penguins.

Darroll Powe sprung Brett Hextall through the neutral zone and although Murray stopped Hextall's shot from just inside the blue line, the rebound jetted right to Petr Straka who banged home the rebound to give the Phantoms a 1-0 lead.

The Phantoms held some early pressure in the first five minutes of the period, but it was the Penguins getting to their game for most of the period - drawing two Phantoms' penalties and peppering Stolarz with 16 1st period shots. Luckily for the Phantoms, Stolarz was up to the task in the first 20 minutes behind a strong effort from the penalty killers.

The game remained scoreless until late in the third period, despite several pushes from the Penguins to tie the game in the first 57 minutes of regulation. The Phantoms got a strong performance from Stolarz & enough help from the offense to get the two points.


1st Period

1:15: LV - Straka (6) - Hextall, Powe
4:54: WBS - Payerl, major (fighting)
4:54: LV - Delisle, major (fighting)
8:54: LV - (PP) Powe, minor (hooking)
12:33: LV - (PP) Gordon, minor (slashing)

2nd Period

13:00: LV - Lauridsen, minor (cross-checking)
13:00: WBS - (PP) Marcantuoni, double-minor (high-sticking)

3rd Period

12:07: WBS - (PP) Kuhnhackl, minor (interference)
17:52: WBS - Dea (7) - Megna, D'Agostino


No Scoring


WBS - Josh Archibald (Goal), Conor Sheary (No Goal), J-S Dea (Goal) and Jayson Megna (No Goal)

LV - Petr Straka (Goal), Jason Akeson (No Goal), Taylor Leier (Goal) and Nick Cousins (Goal)


Matt Murray (23 saves - 24 shots) got the start in net for the Penguins, with veteran Jeff Zatkoff backing him up.

No changes on defense as the same six were in the lineup tonight. Alex Boak took the warmups, but was a healthy scratch.

With Bryan Rust and Bobby Farnham called up to Pittsburgh, there was some line shuffling up front from the Penguins. Sahir Gill - a healthy scratch last night - slotted back into the lineup, while recently re-assigned Jayson Megna started on the top line.


Conor Sheary - J-S Dea - Jayson Megna
Tom Kuhnhackl - Sahir Gill - Josh Archibald
Tom Kostopoulos - Carter Rowney - Adam Payerl
Pierre-Luc Leblond - Matia Marcantuoni - Dominik Uher

Taylor Chorney - Scott Harrington
Reid McNeill - Derrick Pouliot
Nick D'Agostino - Barry Goers

Matt Murray - Jeff Zatkoff

WBS Scratches: Alex Boak (healthy), Nick Drazenovic (lower body) and Anton Zlobin (out for season, shoulder surgery)


Anthony Stolarz (44 saves - 45 shots) got the start in net for the Phantoms, with veteran Rob Zepp serving as the team's backup.

One change on defense as Brett Flemming rotated in on the third pairing for Jesper Pettersson.

No personnel changes up front, but all four lines were different than Friday night versus Binghamton.


Jason Akeson - Blair Jones - Andrew Gordon
Taylor Leier - Nick Cousins - Zack Stortini
Peter Straka - Darroll Powe - Brett Hextall
Jay Rosehill - Kevin Goumas - Austin Fyten

Brandon Manning - Mark Alt
Robert Hagg - Steven Delisle
Oliver Lauridsen - Brett Flemming

Anthony Stolarz - Rob Zepp

Scratches: Jesper Pettersson (healthy), Shayne Gostisbehere (ACL-injury) and Derek Mathers (healthy)


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