Phantoms Fall To Hartford 3-2

Friday, March 20, 2015
Blair Jones returned to the lineup after the longest injury absence of his hockey career.
A fast start by Hartford was all they needed to hang on for a 3-2 win over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms tonight in Connecticut. The Phantoms found themselves down 2-0 on a pair of power play goals against in the first period and were never able to fully recover - twice making it a one goal game only to have Hartford hang on in the third for the win.

Recently signed by Philadelphia to an entry level contract after finishing up a four-year career with Cornell University, rookie Cole Bardreau made his AHL debut count tonight - tallying his first pro goal on a deflection of a Steven Delisle shot 7:07 into the 2nd period to bring the Phantoms within a goal at 2-1.

Blair Jones, playing in his first game since mid-January since recovering from a lower body injury, tallied a goal in his first game back - his 6th of the season - 8:19 into the third but it wasn't enough to force overtime.

The Phantoms (29-25-6-1) have no time to get down on themselves, with an important face-off against the Worcester Sharks at the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass. Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. ET before returning home on Sunday to host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to conclude a three-game weekend for the Phantoms.


Forward Blair Jones

On returning to lineup:
It's nice to feel like part of the team again, just get back into a competitive atmosphere. It sucks we lost but it was nice to have that competition again.
Slow start, but overall impressions of the game:
I think we took a few too many penalties probably, but that's the way it goes some games. They scored their first two power plays and it obviously kind of put ourselves behind the eight ball to start the game. As far as the rest of the game went, I thought we were pretty solid. We played hard and our goalie played well. It was an important game but we have two more in the next day and a half here so we should probably move on. 
Message after Friday's game:
With the games the next two days, we need to re-focus and make sure we come with a playoff mentality for the next 48 hours because this essentially can set ourselves up to push for a late spot. It doesn't matter where you finish, as long as you get in the playoffs so we just need to sneak in and you never know what can happen from there.


The WolfPack jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period on a pair of power play goals orchestrated by the trio of Chris Mueller, Oscar Lindberg and Carl Klingberg. After the Phantoms failed on a power play chance of their own in the opening minutes of play, Hartford capitalized on their 1st man advantage of the night to take a 1-0 lead.

Rob Zepp stopped Klingberg's shot from the slot, but the rebound squirted out to the right of the goal and Mueller was in the right place at the right time - smacking the rebound past Zepp with 7:16 left in the opening period to open the scoring.

The WolfPack power play wasn't done there, striking on their next chance a few minutes later after a Blair Jones checking to the head minor. The goal that made it 2-0 Hartford was a nice display of passing between the aforementioned WolfPack trio with Lindberg finishing off a tic-tac-toe passing play in the slot for his 20th goal of the season.

A much better effort in the second period drew the Phantoms within a goal after Bardreau tallied his first pro goal - starting the play by keeping a loose puck alive in the offensive zone. Bardreau got the puck to Scott Laughton, who found Steven Delisle open at the blue line. Delisle fired a shot from the point that was deflected past Yann Danis by Bardreau with 12:53 left in the middle frame.

The Phantoms held a distinct edge in play in the middle period and appeared to have Hartford right where they wanted them despite trailing 2-1 entering the final frame.

The Phantoms failed to score on an early third period power play, though Adam Comrie nearly tied it after blowing past the Hartford defense and getting robbed on a backhander by the pad of Danis. Later on that shift, it was Ryan Bourque tallying what would turn out to be the game-winner - pushing Hartford ahead 3-1 at that point 2:23 into the third.

Jones would get the Phantoms to within a goal at 3-2 with 11:41 to play, finishing off a nice effort by Taylor Leier to use his body to protect the puck along the half-wall and get it to Jones in front for the tap in at the top of Danis' crease. Unfortunately for the Phantoms, they couldn't find a game-tying goal in the final minute with the goalie pulled for the extra attacker.


Rob Zepp (29 saves - 32 shots) got the start in net tonight for Lehigh Valley, with rookie Anthony Stolarz backing him up.

On defense, there were a pair of changes. Brandon Manning was returned from Philadelphia and returned to the Phantoms lineup as did Steven Delisle - a healthy scratch in each of the last three games. Maxim Lamarche was re-assigned to Reading (ECHL) upon the announcement of Manning's re-assignment and Jesper Pettersson sat as the team's seventh defenseman and healthy scratch.

Up front, there were three changes. Blair Jones returned to action after missing the last 24 games with a lower body injury. Petr Straka returned to the lineup after missing the last three games with an upper body injury. Recently signed out of Cornell University, Cole Bardreau made his AHL debut tonight.

To make room for those three, Derek Mathers and Kevin Goumas were both scratched and Nick Cousins was recalled to Philadelphia after last Saturday's 4-2 win in Bridgeport.

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


Jason Akeson - Scott Laughton - Andrew Gordon
Taylor Leier - Blair Jones - Zack Stortini
Jay Rosehill - Austin Fyten - Brett Hextall
Darroll Powe - Cole Bardreau - Petr Straka

Brandon Manning - Mark Alt
Adam Comrie - Steven Delisle
Oliver Lauridsen - Robert Hagg

Rob Zepp - Anthony Stolarz


1st Period

3:22: HFD - (PP) Summers, minor (holding)
12:12: LV - (PP) Manning, minor (high-sticking)
12:44: HFD -PPG Mueller (12) - Klingberg, Lindberg
14:44: LV - (PP) Jones, minor (checking to the head)
15:44: HFD - PPG Lindberg (20) - Klingberg, Mueller

2nd Period

3:47: LV - Hextall, minor (roughing)
3:47: HFD - Hrivik, minor (roughing)
4:33: LV - (PP) Straka, minor (hooking)
7:07: LV - Bardreau (1) - Delisle, Laughton
10:43: LV - (PP) Stortini, minor (hooking)
13:13: HFD - (PP) Summers, minor (hooking)

3rd Period

0:16: HFD (PP) - C. Bourque, minor (hooking)
2:23: HFD - R. Bourque (11) - Kostka, Mueller
8;19: LV - Jones (6) - Leier, Hextall
9:17: LV - (PP) Hagg, minor (high-sticking)


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