Devils Sweep Season Series With Phantoms

Thursday, January 29, 2015
Phantoms need to dig deep amidst some adversity.
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms looked very much like a team that had not skated in five days in a 4-1 loss to the Albany Devils tonight. The Devils took an early lead and with the neutral zone trap-style they play (exactly the same as their NHL club in New Jersey) it's very difficult to come back from.

The Devils got goals from Joe Whitney, Mike Sislo, Ben Thomson and Brandon Burlon while Zack Stortini re-directed in a power play point shot in the third period for the Phantoms' lone goal of the night. Rob Zepp stopped 28 of the 31 shots he faced in net for the Phantoms, but was out done tonight by Scott Wedgewood (35 saves on 36 shots).

The Phantoms (20-17-4-1) are back in action tomorrow night at home versus division rival Hershey, but will continue to be without their top line center Blair Jones. In his post-game press conference, Murray said Jones (lower body - out since 1/16) will be out awhile and will miss up to seven weeks. The news is troubling for a team who dressed 11 forwards tonight and is in the bottom of the barrel when it comes to goals scored.

The first period looked much like the first period of hockey following a five-day layoff - not a ton of crisp passes and clean zone exits/entries.

Joe Whitney finished off a cross-ice feed from Paul Thompson off the rush to put the Phantoms in a 1-0 hole just 3:41 into play.

From there, each team saw a power play go to the wayside and the Devils seemed to be the more alert team, leading the Phantoms by one goal and out shooting them 11-7.

The Phantoms started the middle frame with some chances, but two goals by Albany 1:22 apart opened things up to a 3-0 lead for the Devils. Mike Sislo beat Zepp with a high hard shot at 5:40, assisted by Corbin McPherson and Brandon Burlon. Moments later, a bad angle shot by Ben Thomson found its way past Zepp to really take the life out of the building.

Tempers flared in the second half of the middle frame, and it seemed that anytime the Phantoms had a quality chance in the offensive zone the shot hit Wedgewood in the chest and the Devils goaltender snared any rebound chances.

The Phantoms forced the issue in the third period and after killing off an extended two-man advantage for the Devils, broke Wedgewood's shutout bid with 9:12 left to play on a two-man advantage of their own. A hard point shot from Brandon Manning was re-directed in by Stortini to cut the Devils lead to 3-1, but unfortunately for the Phantoms it's as close as they would get tonight.

Brandon Burlon added an empty net goal on a shot from behind his own net with 1:44 left to complete the 4-1 final.


Rob Zepp (28 saves - 31 shots) got the start in net tonight for the Phantoms - his first AHL start since January 10th.

With Petr Straka and Ryan White called up to Philadelphia, the Phantoms dressed seven defensemen and 11 forwards. Injured forwards Darroll Powe (upper body since 12/27) and Blair Jones (lower body since 1/16) both remained out of the lineup.

Murray said Jones is going to be out long term and will miss at least seven weeks. Murray also said that while Powe is getting closer to returning from concussion-like symptoms, he needs to be symptom free and pass baseline testing before being ready to return to the lineup.

Scratches: Mark Alt (broken hand), Shayne Gostisbehere (ACL injury), Blair Jones (lower body) and Darroll Powe (upper body).


Taylor Leier - - Jason Akeson
Zack Stortini - Nick Cousins - Andrew Gordon
Jay Rosehill - Austin Fyten - Brett Hextall
Derek Mathers - Kevin Goumas - Brandon Alderson

Brandon Manning - Robert Hagg
Adam Comrie - Steven Delisle
Oliver Lauridsen - Brett Flemming
Jesper Petterrsson

Rob Zepp - Anthony Stolarz


1st Period

3:45: ALB - Whitney (17) - Thompson, Sestito
4:53: LV - (PP) Flemming, minor (cross-checking)
8:52: ALB - (PP) - K. Zajac, minor (high-sticking)
11:42: ALB - Kelly, minor (slashing)
11:42: LV - Rosehill, minor (slashing)

2nd Period

5:40 : ALB - Sislo (9) - McPherson, Burlon
7:02: ALB - Thomson (6) - Zajac, Scarlett
10:46: LV - (PP) Pettersson, minor (high-sticking)
13:52: LV - (PP) Alderson, minor (high-sticking)
17:17: ALB - (PP) D. Zajac, minor (interference)
17:17: LV - Flemming, minor (roughing)
17:17: ALB - Burlon, minor (roughing)

3rd Period

3:40: ALB - (PP) Pelley, minor (holding)
6:50: LV - (PP) Rosehill, minor (cross-checking)
7:07: LV - (PP) Akeson, minor (boarding)
9:46: ALB - (PP) Matteau, minor (tripping)
10:34: ALB - (PP) Burlon, minor (roughing)
10:48: LV - PPG Stortini (7) - Manning, Akeson
18:16: ALB - Burlon (5) - Sestito


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