Phantoms Sneak Past Providence Behind Laughton's Shootout Winner

Friday, March 13, 2015
Phantoms win their second straight road contest amid five-game road trip.
Hockey games in mid-March start to look more like playoff battles when two teams like the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and Providence Bruins - both fighting for playoff position in the Eastern Conference - matched up against each other Friday night at the Dunkin Donuts Center.

Colin Stuart gave Providence a 1-0 lead on a deflected power play point shot from Steve Eminger 17:06 into the 1st period. Adam Comrie blasted a slap shot past PBruins goaltender Jeremy Smith on a 5-on-3 power play with 1.1 seconds left before the first intermission to tie it.

That was it.

The PBruins, for the most part, did a good job of clogging the neutral zone tonight - limiting the Phantoms to just 17 shots through regulation. Lehigh Valley pressured offensively in overtime, especially in the 3-on-3 play in the final 3:35 of the extra session, but headed to the shootout looking for the extra point in the standings.

After two scoreless rounds in the shootout, Scott Laughton beared down in the third round and fooled Smith with a move he said he used in juniors often.

"We knew they won 11 in a row at home and they were hot. They've been playing good hockey. We just squeaked one out and that's what we need to do here late in the year. We have to pick up points everywhere we can get them."

Rob Zepp stopped 33 of the 34 shots he faced in regulation and overtime before stopping both of the first two PBruins shooters. On Alexander Khokhlachev's shot attempt in the third round, Zepp made a sprawling attempt to make a save and Khohlachev's shot rang off the post to seal the win for Lehigh Valley.

"He made a little fake on me and I bit a little," Zepp said on Khokhlachev's third round shootout attempt. "I just tried to extend my leg and at the last second timing to kick my foot up just to make him think a little bit more like he didn't have the open net. Maybe it made him force it. Fortunately for us, he hits the post and we win,"

The win gives the Phantoms a pair of thrilling wins to start their season-high five-game road trip, which continues tomorrow night in Bridgeport against the Sound Tigers. The two points tonight moves the Phantoms back to within seven points of a playoff spot and they'll look to narrow the deficit to five points Saturday night at the Webster Bank Arena against a Bridgeport team last in the Eastern Conference.

A penalty on Comrie in the opening minute of play got the PBruins rolling, and although the penalty went by without a goal Providence carried the edge in play for most of the period - largely out shooting and out chancing the Phantoms in the opening frame.

After unsportsmanlike minor on Brett Hextall gave the PBruins their second man advantage of the period with 4:23 left before the first intermission, Steve Eminger's point shot was tipped past Zepp by Colin Stuart to give the PBruins a 1-0 lead with 2:54 left in the 1st.

Nick Cousins drew a Phantoms power play in the final minute of the period and it became a two-man advantage for Lehigh Valley 25 seconds later following a hooking minor on Ben Sexton. Luckily for the Phantoms, they cashed in on the two-man advantage and tied the game at 1-1 with just 1.1 left on the clock before the 1st intermission.

Jason Akeson's shot in the slot was blocked, but he re-collected the puck and got it to Comrie at the point. Comrie stepped into a slap shot that whistled past Smith and popped the water bottle behind him for his 4th goal of the season.

The PBruins continued to hold an edge in play in a fast-moving middle period, out shooting the Phantoms 10-4 in the period and getting another power play - their third of the night - about five minutes into the period after a cross-checking minor on Cousins.

The Phantoms killed that one off, but continued to have trouble breaking the puck out of their own zone - being hemmed in for most of the middle frame registering just 10 shots on net through 40 minutes of play.

Lehigh Valley showed some flashes of offense in the third, but after a failed power play chance midway through the 3rd and a flurry of pressure in the final two minutes the Phantoms headed to overtime for the 20th time this season. The Phantoms had several chances to end it in overtime, particularly on a Mark Alt breakaway attempt that Smith was just able to get a piece of with his skate on a sliding save.


Rob Zepp (33 saves - 34 shots) got the start in net for the Phantoms tonight against Providence. Rookie Anthony Stolarz backed up Zepp in net.

There were no lineup changes for Lehigh Valley tonight compared to their last game Wednesday night in Toronto.

Steven Delisle remained the healthy scratch on the back end, while Maxim Lamarche remained in the lineup on the Phantoms' blue line.

Up front, Blair Jones (lower body) and Petr Straka (upper body) were both still out with their respective injuries.


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

Adam Comrie - Mark Alt
Robert Hagg - Jesper Pettersson
Oliver Lauridsen - Maxim Lamarche

Rob Zepp - Anthony Stolarz

Lehigh Valley scratches: Steven Delisle (healthy), Shayne Gostisbehere (ACL surgery, out indefinitely), Blair Jones (lower body since 1/16) and Petr Straka (upper body since 3/7).


1st Period

0:52: LV - (PP) Comrie, minor (tripping)
15:37: LV - (PP) Hextall, minor (unsportsmanlike)
17:06: PRO - PPG Stuart (13) - Eminger, Griffith
19:19: PRO - (PP) Florek, minor (slashing)
19:44: PRO - (PP) Sexton, minor (hooking)
19:58: LV - PPG - Comrie (4) - Akeson, Gordon

2nd Period

4:56: LV - (PP) Cousins, minor (cross-checking)

3rd Period

8:37: PRO - (PP) Randell, minor (tripping)


Lehigh Valley

1. Cousins - miss
2. Akeson - miss
3. Laughton - GOAL


1. Phillips - miss
2. Griffith - miss
3. Khokhlachev - miss


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