Wild Affair With Hershey Ends With 5-1 Loss

Saturday, April 18, 2015
Phantoms finish their season at home Sunday vs. W-B/Scranton.
It was another frustrating loss, a 5-1 decision, for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Giant Center tonight, but the real fireworks came at the end of the 2nd period after the horn had sounded.

Per multiple players post-game, a questionable decision by Hershey Bears forward, and former Phantom, Kris Newbury behind the play had head coach Terry Murray so furious that the Phantoms coach took his first penalty of the season.

Newbury made contact with goaltender Anthony Stolarz with referee Garrett Rank in the Phantoms offensive zone as the lone referee watching the play where the puck was. Rank never saw what happened behind the play and assessed Murray an unsportsmanlike penalty that gave Hershey a power play to start the third period.

The Bears scored 24 seconds into the final frame to blow the game open but the frustration by Murray didn't end there. Zack Stortini was called for a delay of game penalty on a defensive zone face-off with 9:05 left in regulation and after the Bears scored on that power play to make it 5-1 with 8:41 to play, both Murray and Stortini were ejected from the game.

Newbury wasn't done with Stolarz either, getting in his face after a whistle with 5:38 left and getting a slashing minor as well as a 10-minute misconduct to end his night before the Phantoms went after him.

After the jump, exclusive quotes from Brett Hextall on just how he and the Phantoms viewed Newbury's antics at the end of the 2nd period.


Brett Hextall on what team was so furious about at the end of the 2nd period:
[Kris] Newbury, behind the play, ... I don't know if he tripped our goalie or grabbed his stick and pulled it. Anyways, he made contact with Stolie way behind the play. Obviously with one ref, [Newbury] knows he's watching the play. He's a dirty player. They had him in Glens Falls last year, so they know his shenanigans. [Murray] was pretty mad about that and trying to defend his players.
Hextall on finishing at home:
Tomorrow night is going to be a fun game for us, playing at home last game of the year. It's fun for us in that building in front of that crowd, so that's what we are looking forward to.
Matt Konan on playing his first game in roughly 16 months:
It meant a lot. When you miss that amount of time, it kind of sucks. You feel like you don't know what's going to happen. Playing those last two games, I feel good. It feels good to get back in the swing of things - practice with the boys, start shooting again and start playing games. I want to win games, but it just feels great to get back in the lineup and play.
Konan on regular season finale:
I just want to get the win. Have fun, play hard. The points don't matter, but just a mental win going into summer is huge. 

The Phantoms were a bit sluggish at the start of the game and Hershey made them pay for it. Jakub Vrana made a nice pass from the wall on the right-wing by the face-off circle to the high slot to Jon Landry, who dangled to the left and out-waited Anthony Stolarz until an opening presented itself. Landry tapped in a bad-angle shot to give the Bears a 1-0 lead just 2:07 into the contest.

From there, the Phantoms seemed to have the edge in play. If not for a few sharp saves from Bears goaltender Pheonix Copley, the game could have had a much different feel. Copley twice stopped Kevin Goumas on mini-breakaways and also made a nice stop going from left to right to rob Jason Akeson on a back-door play from a resulting odd-man rush led by Nick Cousins.

The Bears started to generate more offensive pressure in the final minutes of the first period and made it a 2-0 game with less than a minute before the first intermission. Tomas Kundratek, in his first game back in the Bears lineup since March 18th, made a nifty outside-inside move on Oliver Lauridsen before picking the top left corner on Stolarz to extend the Bears' lead heading into the middle frame.

The Phantoms got off to a great start in the middle frame despite being shorthanded on a carry-over boarding minor from late in the first period. After a careless play by the Bears at their own defensive zone blue line, Kevin Goumas scooped up a loose puck and got it over to Brett Hextall. Hextall's bad angle shot beat Copley 1:19 into the period to bring the Phantoms within a goal at a 2-1 deficit.

A little over a minute later, the Phantoms got their first power play chance of the night and were looking to tie things up before a Nick Cousins holding minor negated the Phantoms power play and any momentum they were starting to build.

The Bears got back to their game from there and out shot the Phantoms 20-8 in the middle period, re-gaining their two-goal lead at the 7:13 mark on a bit of a bad luck play behind the Phantoms net. Robert Hagg had his man pinned against the boards behind the net and it appeared as though it would be an easy exit from the zone by Scott Laughton, but Laughton fell down and Joel Broda was in the right place at the right time - passing one from behind the net out in front to Chandler Stephenson for his 7th of the year to extend the Bears lead to 3-1.

Off the ensuing face-off, Derek Mathers and Liam O'Brien dropped the gloves in a very one-sided affair that saw Mathers deliver several punishing blows to O'Brien who was seen visibly upset in the penalty box after the bout.

Frustrations and questionable antics further buried the Phantoms after two minor penalties resulted in two power play goals by the Bears to cap the scoring at 5-1. These two teams don't play again until next season, but after 12 head-to-head meetings this year and plenty more on the docket for 2015-16 this rivalry is just starting to renew itself.


Anthony Stolarz ( saves - shots) got the start in net tonight for the Phantoms, with Rob Zepp getting the night off after facing 44 shots last night in Norfolk.

On defense, Brandon Manning and Steven Delisle remained out after sustaining injuries in the 2nd period of Tuesday night's home game against these same Bears.

Up front, no changes for the Phantoms. Jay Rosehill remained a healthy scratch.


Taylor Leier - Scott Laughton - Andrew Gordon
Danick Martel - Nick Cousins - Jason Akeson
Zack Stortini - Cole Bardreau - Brett Hextall
Petr Straka - Kevin Goumas - Derek Mathers

Robert Hagg - Mark Alt
Oliver Lauridsen - Jesper Pettersson
Nick Luukko - Matt Konan

Anthony Stolarz - Rob Zepp

Lehigh Valley Scratches: Steven Delisle (upper body), Austin Fyten (lower body - out for season), Shayne Gostisbehere (lower body - out for season), Blair Jones (undisclosed injury), Brandon Manning (back spasms), Darroll Powe (concussion-like symptoms) and Jay Rosehill (healthy)


1st Period

2:07: HER - Landry (3) - Vrana
19:12: HER - Kundratek (5) - Newbury, Mitchell
19:37: LV - (PP) Stortini, minor (boarding)

2nd Period

1:19: LV - SHG Hextall (6) - Goumas
2:45: HER - (PP) O'Brien, minor (slashing)
3:40: LV - (PP) Cousins, minor (holding)
7:13: HER - Stephenson (7) - Broda, O'Brien
7:15: HER - O'Brien, major (fighting)
7:15: LV - Mathers, major (fighting)
11:43: LV - (PP) Hextall, minor (tripping)
20:00: LV - bench minor, disputing the call (served by Straka)

3rd Period

0:24: HER - PPG Cornet (9) - Vrana, Boyd
1:56: HER - (PP) Kennedy, minor (interference)
10:32: HER - O'Brien, ten minute misconduct
10:55: LV - (PP) Stortini, minor (delay of game)
11:19: HER - PPG Boyd (1) - Djoos, Vrana
11:19: LV - Game misconduct to Terry Murray (abuse of officials)
11:19: LV - Ten-minute misconduct to Zack Stortini
14:22: HER - (PP) Newbury, minor (slashing)
14:22: HER - Newbury, ten-minute misconduct
15:28: LV - (PP) Akeson, minor (tripping)


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