Penguins Prevail Over Phantoms in Preseason Opener

Wednesday, September 30, 2015
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms opened their preseason schedule in Wilkes-Barre against their rival - the Penguins.
In an entertaining preseason hockey game that featured four fights, seven goals and 66 shots between the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Lehigh Valley Phantoms saw the Penguins prevail over their rival Phantoms by a 4-3 count after opening a 3-0 lead in the opening seven and a half minutes.

Goals by Tom Kostopoulos, Clark Seymour and Brett Stern in the first period put the Phantoms behind the eight ball early, but Lehigh Valley got to their game in the middle frame - and at one point - had the game tied up at 3-3 before a breakaway goal by Adam Krause with 33.5 seconds left in the middle period gave the Penguins back a lead they wouldn't surrender.

Taylor Leier, Kevin Sundher and Danick Martel all tallied second period goals to make it a game, with Leier's goal 45 seconds into the period coming off of a great individual effort by a pure goal scorer.

The final score in a preseason game doesn't matter. The Phantoms and head coach Scott Gordon were pleased with how things went, especially considering the early 3-0 hole. The Phantoms had four days of practice learning a new system and less than a full compliment of what their opening roster will look like, so don't read too much into the loss as a sign of concern moving forward.

Full recap and thoughts from some of the Phantoms' players after the jump.


Taylor Leier on 1st game:
Coach was really happy with us and how we competed when we are all learning new systems and playing together for the first time. Pretty much everything we are doing is brand new - we've practicing it for four days now. We showed a lot of guts after being down 3-0, then came out really hard. It's nice to see stuff like that
Leier on his goal 45 seconds into the 2nd period:
I skated the puck past our blue line and through the neutral zone, and chipped it wide to [Straka] and he gave it back to me pretty quick. I kind of had more time than I thought and I ended up going right around the goalie and kind of out-waited him.

Leier on wearing an alternate captain's 'A':
It felt really good. It makes me feel really good that you're thought of leadership-wise. It's a proud thing to have on your jersey and I was honored to have it on mine.
Danick Martel on 1st game:

Tough first [period], but after that we picked it up. I think we saw the real team in the 2nd and 3rd periods. We'll be fine.

Martel on the swing of momentum in 2nd period:
In the first period, I think we were thinking systems and everything and in the 2nd and 3rd we just played. We were losing by three, so we just brought shots to the net, rebounded and scored.
Anthony Stolarz on rebounding from tough start:
I kind of just forgot about their start. I don't want to let that affect me and get ready for the next shot and keep going. I came in and we are down 3-0, and all I had to worry about was making the next save and we come back and tie it 3-3.
Stolarz on if he still sees tonight's performance as a confidence boost:
I think for me, I'm going to look at it as a positive. Obviously, I'm going to go back to the film and watch things and see what I have to improve on. I think there's definitely some things I'm going to see - a couple rebounds and definitely tracking the puck - but for me I'm going to want to go out there and build on this. I don't think I'm upset with my performance at all and I kind of want to keep going with it.
Cole Bardreau's 1st impressions:
I think the biggest thing there - a new coach, new systems and new groups of guys. There's obviously a little confusion, too much thinking and not enough just going out there playing. Like you said, we were a little shell-shocked there but I think once we got our feet and focused on working hard, getting to loose pucks and doing the simple things we turned it around there.
Bardreau on his fight against the much bigger Shane Bakker:
It's just something that's the way I like to play. I like to be the hard-nosed, gritty forward there - 3rd or 4th line guy. I don't know if the hit was cheap or not, but I kind of went after him and asked him and there it was.
 Scott Gordon's impresssions:
At the end of the day, I think that being down 3-0 and coming back is an important piece for us to know that we aren't going to quit.
We were kind of standing around and weren't closing in on people - weren't getting in on the forecheck. I think that's human nature. All of a sudden you're down 3-0, it's one of those things where your head is spinning and it seems like everything you're doing is wrong.
I think after we got back in here before the 2nd period we talked about moving the puck a little bit quicker, trying to make better decisions with the puck in the offensive zone and not only that, but move our feet in the offensive zone. Our guys did a better job as far as getting the puck and accelerating after they got the puck.

It was a fast start for the Penguins as they grabbed a 1-0 lead just 34 seconds into play. Matthew Maione wristed a point shot that WBS team captain Tom Kostopoulos re-directed past Anthony Stolarz to get the Pens on the board early.

The Pens weren't done there either, extending their lead to 2-0 after a failed Phantoms clearing attempt in their defensive zone. A loose puck rolled out to Clark Seymour at the center point, and the Pens defenseman flung a shot past a screened Stolarz to make it a two-goal lead 1:31 into the contest.

Derek Mathers tried giving the Phantoms a spark on the ensuing face-off, taking local Shavertown, Pa native Patrick McGrath to the ice in a fight, but the Penguins continued to swarm the Phantoms in the opening frame.

After the Phantoms seemed to turn the tides - killing off a minor penalty - the Penguins made it 3-0 on another shot through traffic. Defenseman Brett Stern took a pass from Christophe Lalancette and beat Stolarz to make it a three-goal game. Shane Bakker added a secondary assist on the WBS Pens' third goal of the period at the 7:33 mark.

Bakker was challenged to a fight by 5-10 forward Cole Bardreau on the next shift as the undersized Phantoms forward was looking to spark his team. Bardreau hung in there versus the much bigger Bakker (6-4, 210) and it seemed like the play began to even out.

The Phantoms starting generating a more consistent attack in the second half of the period, drawing two power plays in the final 6:17 of the period, but headed to the locker room for the first intermission trailing the Penguins 3-0.

Lehigh Valley got to their game in the middle frame, although they didn't tally a power play goal with the 35 seconds of carry over time from the first period. Petr Straka pushed a puck ahead to Taylor Leier in the offensive zone and Leier did the rest, racing by a WBS defender on the left wing, dancing along the goal line and going forehand to backhand on Pens goaltender Brian Foster to get Lehigh Valley on the board. Logan Pyett also added an assist on the play 45 seconds into the 2nd period.

The Phantoms made it a one-goal game midway through the hockey game after Stolarz made an impressive stop on a Penguins' 4-on-1 rush. Cole Bardreau fed Kevin Sundher a pass at the left-circle, who beat Foster high to the blocker side to cut the Penguins' lead to 3-2.

An impressive scrap by Tyrell Goulbourne gave the Phantoms continued momentum with 6:47 left in the middle period. Danick Martel tied the game at 3-3 with 2:11 left after a strong play from Michael Parks on the right wing set up the shot from the slot by Martel, who fought one past Foster to even things up.

The Phantoms had the Penguins on their heels until a turnover led to an Adam Krause breakaway goal on Anthony Stolarz with 33.5 seconds left in the 2nd period. Krause's goal restored the Penguins lead at 4-3 heading into the locker room for the second intermission.

Much like the Penguins were able to do last season, they kept the Phantoms at bay holding a one-goal lead in the third period. The Phantoms were only able to generate seven shots in net in the final frame, with five of the seven coming in the final six minutes of regulation.

Lehigh Valley had a chance to tie things up with 3:40 to play with their 4th man advantage of the night, but were unable to even the score. They pulled Stolarz for the extra attacker with 1:35 left, but it was to no avail.


Anthony Stolarz (36 saves - 40 shots) got the start in net for the Phantoms. Connor Knapp was the backup and did not play.

Jason LaBarbera was expected to get the start tonight, but was instead up with the Flyers as the backup to Michael Neuvirth.

Defenseman Logan Pyett and forwards Taylor Leier and Petr Straka wore alternate captain A's for the Phantoms tonight against the Penguins.

Several AHL regulars were not in the lineup tonight. After Monday's training camp practice, head coach Scott Gordon hinted that Wednesday's lineup would be primarily 1st and 2nd year players and guys on tryouts.

LV Scratches: Jason LaBarbera, Martin Ouellette, Mark Alt, Robert Hagg, Davis Drewiske, Christian Marti (shoulder surgery), Jesper Pettersson, Geoff Walker, Shayne Gostisbehere, Aaron Palushaj, Kevin Goumas, Chris Conner, Nick Cousins, Tim Brent and Jay Rosehill.

Lines (Starters in Bold & Italics)

Taylor Leier (A) - Cole Bardreau - Brandon Alderson
Petr Straka (A) - Danick Martel - Pavel Padakin
Tyrell Goulbourne - Michael Parks - Cam Reid
Kevin Sundher - Robert Czarnik - Derek Mathers

Sam Morin - Logan Pyett (A)
Adam Comrie - Maxim Lamarche
Sam Windle - Nick Luukko

Anthony Stolarz - Connor Knapp


Brian Foster (16 saves - 19 shots) got the start in net for the Penguins and played the first two periods as scheduled. Casey DeSmith (7 saves - 7 shots) closed things out in net for the Pens in the third period.

WBS Scratches: Mickael Beauregard, Carter Rowney and Paul Cianfrini


Tom Kostopoulos - Sahir Gill - Ty Loney
Riley Brace - Jarrett Burton - Adam Krause
Cody Wydo - Christophe Lalancette - Derek Army
Patrick McGrath - Shane Bakker - John McCarron

Matthew Maione - Harrison Ruopp
Nick Petrecki - Ryan Parent
Brett Stern - Clark Seymour

Brian Foster - Casey DeSmith


1st Period

0:34: WBS - Kostopoulos (1) - Maione, Gill
1:31: WBS Seymour (1) - unassisted
1:31: LV - Mathers, major (fighting)
1:31: WBS - McGrath, major (fighting)
5:18: LV - (PP) Windle, minor (delay of game)
7:33: WBS - Stern (1) - Lalancette, Bakker
7:49: LV - Bardreau, major (fighting)
7:49: WBS - Bakker, major (fighting)
13:43: WBS - (PP) Burton, minor (hooking)
18:35: WBS - (PP) Maione, minor (slashing)

2nd Period

0:45: LV - Leier (1) - Straka, Pyett
10:40: LV - Sundher (1) - Bardreau
13:13: LV - Goulbourne, major (fighting)
13:13: WBS - Seymour, major (fighting)
17:49: LV - Martel (1) - Parks, Padakin
19:26: WBS - Krause (1) - Bakker

3rd Period

2:53: WBS - (PP) Petrecki, minor (slashing)
2:53: WBS - Petrecki, minor (unsportsmanlike)
2:53: WBS - Petrecki, major (fighting)
2:53: LV - Mathers, minor (unsportsmanlike)
2:53: LV - Mathers, major (fighting)
2:53: LV - Mathers, game misconduct (two-fight rule)
16:20: WBS - (PP) Maione, minor (tripping)


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