Phantoms Fall in OT to Hartford Despite Strong Effort

Saturday, February 21, 2015
Hartford extends Phantoms home skid to seven games.
Sometimes when you're in the midst of a losing skid at home like the Lehigh Valley Phantoms are, it seems like you just can't catch a break. Tonight's 5-4 overtime loss to the Hartford WolfPack was a prime example of this.

"I really like the way we played," head coach Terry Murray said after the game. "We played as good a game as we have played on the road when we were winning just recently. We had everyone on board. Everything was there except the goaltending, it wasn't good enough."

The Phantoms controlled play in the majority of tonight's contest, especially in overtime - outshooting Hartford 7-2 - but the lone mistake made by the Phantoms ended up in the back of their net with 1:12 left in the extra session.

"I thought we played pretty well," Nick Cousins said, adding," One bad miscue there in overtime and they go down and score, but I think we outplayed them for the most part of the game. Obviously one point isn't what we were looking for, but we have to take the positives of tonight and build on it this week."

The Phantoms came out firing on all cylinders, dominating the first eight minutes of play and getting the game's first power play as a result of their hard work. They were unsuccessful on the man advantage, but had several scoring chances. Things were looking up.

Then, a sloppy line change at the tail end of the man advantage led to a shorthanded rush by Hartford and an eventual goal by Ryan Bourque - a hard shot from the left wing face-off circle that eluded Martin Ouellette with 9:55 left in the 1st.

Minus the one mistake, it was one of the better first periods that the Phantoms have played at home in recent memory. 

The flood gates opened in the middle frame, with both teams combining for five goals in a back-and-forth period. 

Zack Stortini scored two goals on deflections in front of WolfPack goaltender Jeff Malcolm off shots from the point. His first of the night tied the game at 1-1 off a one-timer from Jesper Pettersson. His second of the game was a tip of Brandon Manning's point shot from the center point. 

Both times Stortini scored, Hartford responded to re-gain the lead. Tyler Brown squeezed a bad angle shot through Ouellette 12 seconds after Stortini's first tally to regain Hartford's one-goal lead & Danny Kristo beat Ouellette on another one that the Phantoms netminder would like to have back. 

Ouellette's night ended after Kristo's goal made it 3-2 Hartford with 11:39 left in the 2nd, as he was victimized for three goals on seven shots. Anthony Stolarz, who started last night and was pulled in the second period, came on in relief of Ouellette.

The Phantoms tied the game back up at 3-3 on the fifth goal scored in the period. After hitting two posts in the first period, Akeson found twine on a shorthanded chance - dangling the puck into the slot and going top shelf on Jeff Malcolm.

Hartford took a 4-3 lead on the opening shift of the third period on Chris Bourque's 20th of the season, but the Phantoms went back to work and eventually forced overtime after a laser of a wrist shot by Nick Cousins on a power play with 7:36 left in regulation. 

Unfortunately for the Phantoms they couldn't finish the WolfPack off in overtime, but if the positives from tonight's game are re-enforced in practice throughout the upcoming week the Phantoms will be back in the win column next weekend when they host Binghamton on Saturday night.


Martin Ouellette (4 saves - 7 shots) got the start in net tonight against Hartford. After being pulled late in the 2nd period last night, Anthony Stolarz served as the team's backup goaltender until coming on in relief of Ouellette 8:21 into the 2nd period. Stolarz finished with 14 saves on 16 shots.

Much as you would expect after a pair of losses this week, there were a few lineup changes.

On defense, Jesper Pettersson returned to the third pairing alongside Oliver Lauridsen. Steven Delisle was scratched for Pettersson.

Up front, Darroll Powe missed tonight's game with what was termed as being sick by the team. Derek Mathers made his return to the lineup after a recent stint as a healthy scratch.

Scratches: Steven Delisle (healthy), Shayne Gostisbehere (ACL surgery in November), Blair Jones (lower body) and Darroll Powe (sick)


Petr Straka - Nick Cousins - Jason Akeson
Taylor Leier - Scott Laughton - Andrew Gordon
Jay Rosehill - Austin Fyten - Brett Hextall
Zack Stortini - Kevin Goumas - Derek Mathers

Brandon Manning - Mark Alt
Adam Comrie - Robert Hagg
Oliver Lauridsen - Jesper Pettersson

Martin Ouellette - Anthony Stolarz


1st Period

8:13: HFD - (PP) Lindberg, minor (high-sticking)
10:05: HFD - SHG R. Bourque (10) - Allen, McIlrath
13:53: LV - (PP) Lauridsen, minor (interference)
18:20: LV - (PP) Goumas, minor (tripping)

2nd Period

4:14: LV - Stortini (12) - Pettersson, Cousins
4:26: HFD - Brown (4) - Nehring, Kristo
4:51: HFD - (PP) Spinell, minor (holding)
5:20: LV - PPG Stortini (13) - Manning, Akeson 
8:21: HFD - Kristo (17) - Lindberg, McIlrath
9:44: LV - (PP) Stortini, minor (tripping)
11:05: LV - SHG Akeson (17) - Laughton
16:24: HFD - (PP) O'Donnell, minor (high-sticking)
19:36: HFD - Vaive, major (fighting)
19:36: LV - Fyten, major (fighting)

3rd Period

0:26: HFD - Bourque (20) - unassisted 
11:59: HFD - (PP) McIlrath, minor (cross-checking)
12:24: LV - PPG Cousins (17) - Manning, Akeson
16:52: LV - (PP) Laughton, minor (boarding)
19:17: HFD - (PP) Allen, minor (high-sticking)


5:48: HFD - Lindberg (16) - unassisted 


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