Hey Mr. Wilson - Pens Shutout Phantoms 3-0

Saturday, April 4, 2015
Warmups from Wilkes-Barre earlier tonight.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins rookie goaltender Matt Murray recorded his league-leading 11th shutout of the season with a 21-save effort and I didn't mean to slight him by not putting his name in the headline - it's to the point where it's almost expected that Murray will shut things down on his opponent.

Murray was solid as ever and made all the necessary stops to help his team win, but I'd argue that Scott Wilson was the game-changer tonight. His two first period goals - a one-timer from the slot 6:27 in and a perfectly placed backhander after a burst of speed to blow past the defense with 2:10 left - were really all Murray and the Penguins needed.

Brian Dumoulin added a third period goal that really iced it and sent the final 9:10 of regulation into a game of going through the motions and waiting out the final horn.

After the jump, some post-game thoughts from Lehigh Valley Phantoms forwards Taylor Leier and Brett Hextall.


Taylor Leier on the team's performance:
We honestly didn't do much right out there. Nothing clicked tonight, it was frustrating.
Leier on if he liked anything about the Phantoms' play in the 2nd & 3rd periods:
No, nothing.
Brett Hextall:
You could tell they (WBS) took that loss last night personally. They played tonight like a playoff game ... a complete game. I think towards the end, instead of having a good push to try to get one goal, we just let up instead of digging down.
 More Hextall:
There's stuff to play for besides playoff. Obviously it's hard - it's frustrating, but there's no excuse for not working hard.

The Phantoms put themselves behind the eight-ball again tonight against the Penguins - their 8th 2-0 deficit in their last ten games - and against a stingy defensive opponent like W-B/Scranton (least goals allowed in the AHL to date) it's a recipe for disaster.

After a failed power play chance in the first eight minutes of play, Andrew Ebbett won a race to a loose puck and found a wide-open Scott Wilson posted up in the slot for a quick one-timer that put the Pens in front 1-0. WBS team-captain Tom Kostopoulos started the play with the chip into the offensive zone and was credited with a secondary helper on Wilson's 17th of the season at the 10:34 mark.

While Wilson's first goal was easy by most standards, he made it 2-0 with his second tally of the night on a great individual effort after another setup from Kostopoulos. Wilson got a step on the Phantoms defense and cut to the net - roofing a backhander over Zepp's glove with 2:10 left before the first intermission.

The Phantoms started the middle frame with a decided edge, and it appeared the Pens got a little casual with their play and attention to detail.

Luckily for the Pens, it didn't cost them in the 2nd period. Matt Murray stopped a Blair Jones breakaway after Jones split the WBS on a stretch pass, and came up big during a loose puck scramble - making two or three pad saves and getting some help from a Phantoms' fanned shot at an empty net at the tail end of a Phantoms power play.

The Phantoms penalty troubles re-surfaced at the tail end of the 2nd period and continued early in the 3rd - killing any possible momentum they might've had in the middle frame. The Penguins didn't convert on any of the three Phantoms' penalties committed in a span of 3:11, but got an extra insurance goal from Brian Dumoulin midway through the third on their way to the shutout win.


Rob Zepp (35 saves - 38 shots) got the start in net for Lehigh Valley tonight against W-B/Scranton. First-year pro Anthony Stolarz served as the team's backup for the second straight night.

With Derek Mathers suspended for one game and Kevin Goumas out of the lineup with an undisclosed injury, the Phantoms were forced to dress 10 forwards and seven defenseman - one short of the 18 skaters (non-goalies) a team is allowed to dress for a game.

Jesper Pettersson played the game on the 4th line wing with West Chester, Pa. native Nick Luukko returning to the lineup on the third pairing with Oliver Lauridsen.

Scratches: Austin Fyten (lower body), Shayne Gostisbehere (ACL injury), Kevin Goumas (undisclosed), Derek Mathers (suspension), Darroll Powe (concussion symptoms) and Jay Rosehill (suspended).

Lines (Starters in Bold & Italics)

Taylor Leier - Scott Laughton - Jason Akeson
Petr Straka - Blair Jones - Andrew Gordon
Zack Stortini - Cole Bardreau - Brett Hextall
Jesper Pettersson - Andrew Johnston

Robert Hagg - Steven Delisle
Adam Comrie - Mark Alt
Oliver Lauridsen - Nick Luukko

Rob Zepp - Anthony Stolarz


1st Period

6:27: WBS - (PP) Boak, minor (slashing)
10:34: Wilson (17) - Ebbett, Kostopoulos
17:50: Wilson (18) - Kostopoulos, Harrington

2nd Period

11:46: LV - (PP) Delisle, minor (tripping)
15:55: WBS - (PP) Leblond, minor (roughing)
18:54: LV - (PP) Delisle, minor (tripping)

3rd Period

0:23: LV - (PP) Alt, minor (hooking)
2:05: LV - (PP) Jones, minor (hooking)
10:50: WBS - Dumoulin (4) - Kuhnhackl, Uher


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