Saturday's Morning Skate 1/3

Saturday, January 3, 2015
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms picked up their 5th road of the season last night.

A pair of East Division opponents squared off last night, while the Hershey Bears used the Friday night off as an extra day to get ready for an important match up with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins tonight at the Giant Center.

Last night I was live from Wilkes-Barre as the Penguins shutout the Binghamton Senators. Tonight I'll be live from Binghamton (weather permitting, of course) as the BSens look to rebound with home game against their rival from the Northeast Division, the Syracuse Crunch. 

East Division Standings (through 1/2's games)

1. Penguins (20-12-1-2) - 43 points

2. Hershey (16-12-4-1) - 37 points

3. Phantoms (15-12-4-1) - 35 points

4. Binghamton (15-4-2-1) - 33 points

5. Norfolk (12-19-1-1) - 26 points

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton - 5, Binghamton - 0

In Wilkes-Barre, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins posted their second straight shutout - a 5-0 win over Binghamton - to increase their East Division lead over the idle Hershey Bears to six points.

The Penguins (20-12-1-2) got a total team effort. They scored three goals in a span of 4:10 in the first eight and a half minutes of the game and rode a 30-save shutout performance from rookie goaltender Matt Murray (7-6-2, 3 SO's) to victory.
Nick Drazenovic led the way with two goals and an assist, while Conor Sheary (1G-1A), Tom Kostopoulos (0G-2A) and Taylor Chorney (0G-2A) all tallied two points each for the Penguins. Rookies Sahir Gill and Matia Marcantuoni also tallied their first career AHL goals in the win for the Pens, who travel to Hershey looking to extend their East Division lead to eight points over their intra- state rival Saturday night at Giant Center. 

Lehigh Valley - 3, Norfolk - 2 (OT) 

In Norfolk, the Admirals got a pair of power play goals from recently re-assigned forward Dany Heatley - the second of which tied the game at 2-2 in the final minute - but it was the Lehigh Valley Phantoms getting the game winning goal in overtime to get the two points.

The Phantoms trailed 1-0 for most of the night, before tallying two goals in the final 6:59 of regulation to take a 2-1 lead into that final minute. Brandon Alderson, recently called up from ECHL Reading, tallied a goal in his first game back with the Phantoms while Jason Akeson gave the Phantoms their first lead of the night with 1:48 to play after a shorthanded goal.

In overtime, it was Nick Cousins with his 8th goal of the season to lift the Phantoms past the Admirals. Rob Zepp stopped 34 of 36 shots to pick up his first win since returning from the NHL, while Admirals goaltender John Gibson stopped 31 of 34 in the loss. The two teams rematch at The Scope Arena in Norfolk, Virginia tonight at 7:15 p.m. ET.

Other Eastern Conference Scores 

Syracuse - 2, Albany - 1 (SO)

Hartford - 4, St. John's - 2

Portland - 5, Springfield - 3

Providence - 4, Bridgeport - 2

Manchester - 2, Worcester - 1

Saturday's Eastern Conference Schedule

Albany @ Bridgeport, 7:00 p.m. ET

St. John's @ Hartford, 7:00 p.m. ET

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton @ Hershey, 7:00 p.m. ET

Providence @ Portland, 7:00 p.m. ET

Worcester @ Springfield, 7:00 p.m. ET

Syracuse @ Binghamton, 7:05 p.m. ET

Lehigh Valley @ Norfolk, 7:15 p.m. ET


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