Penguins Power Past Phantoms in Home Opener

Saturday, October 17, 2015
Penalties and injuries plagued the Phantoms in Wilkes-Barre tonight.
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms got off to a fast start, taking a 3-0 lead in the first five minutes, but penalties plagued the Phantoms and allowed the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to get right back into the game as the home team ratted off five straight goals in route to a 6-4 win in a game between rivals.

The Phantoms got goals from Petr Straka, Jay Rosehill and Tim Brent to open the scoring, but it seemed every time the Phantoms took a penalty they paid for it. The Penguins finished the game 4-for-7 with the man advantage.

Will O'Neill and Tom Kostopoulos tallied two goals each and the Penguins team captain also added an assist, while rookie forward Dominik Simon had a game-high four point night including his first pro goal and three assists to pace the Penguins attack.

The Phantoms were also plagued by injuries, both before and during the game. They dressed a lineup that featured 11 forwards and seven defensemen after Danick Martel and Andrew MacDonald were injured last night in Springfield. Robert Hagg was dressed, but didn't play a single shift. Forwards Cole Bardreau and Michael Parks both left the game and didn't return, which saw the Phantoms play most of the third period with just nine healthy forwards.


Scott Gordon on what allowed Penguins back into the game:
I think it started with the penalties. We took a lot of penalties and all the good work we did in the first was kind of wasted. The penalties we took, playing with a short bench. 
Gordon on the roster tonight:
We had two guys go down with injuries tonight, and now all of a sudden we are shorthanded for what seemed like most of the second period. We dug a hole. That being said, I really loved how the guys came out in the third period and played. That to me was the biggest takeaway from the game - how hard they played in the third period.
Jay Rosehill on what happened after the 3-0 lead:
We got into penalty trouble. If we can stay away from being a man down, with that start - that lead is something you want to hold onto but it got away from us. I think we battled back pretty good and showed some determination in the third. A couple bounces and we could have gotten back into it.
Rosehill on the lack of healthy skaters:
We lost a lot of bodies. Not trying to make excuses or anything, but it's the shortest bench I've played with in awhile. It obviously didn't help the fact, but again in the second the penalty troubles is what did it for us.
Tim Brent on the momentum swing:
I think we came out and gained some momentum. Three goals in the first period for us is a good start, for sure. And then penalties kind of bit us. You certainly saw the momentum change when that happened. They did a good job of capitalizing on those.
Brent on battling through the depleted roster:
It's a grind. It's something we are going to have to deal with all year, so it's important that we learn from our mistakes tonight. I think the third period we did a real good job not giving up and really battling.

It was a fast start for the Phantoms in the first period, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first 5:06 of play on goals from Petr Straka, Jay Rosehill and Tim Brent.

Just 1:11 into play, Chris Conner burst down the right-wing and beat his man - taking the puck straight to the net. Matt Murray made the initial save, but the WBS defense didn't clear out Petr Straka from skating right to the top of the crease and stuffing the rebound in to open the scoring.

The Phantoms' 2nd goal was one that Murray definitely would like to have back. Jay Rosehill stole a puck in the Pens' defensive zone and his weak backhander eluded the Pens' goaltender on it's way to the back of the net. Rosehill's first of the season was unassisted and gave Lehigh Valley a 2-0 lead.

The rivalry and bad blood started 3:31 into play when Kael Mouillierat delivered an open-ice hit and started a brawl, which ended with Steve Oleksy stepping in to take on Petr Straka, who was sticking up for a teammate. The Phantoms scored on the resulting power play to take a 3-0 lead after a nice move by Tim Brent. Taylor Leier and Cole Bardreau added the assists and Lehigh Valley seemed to be in control.

Not so fast. Five unanswered goals by the Penguins - one in the 1st period and four in the 2nd period - gave the home team a commanding lead in a game they truly dominated from the 5:06 mark of the first period on.

Will O'Neill got the Pens on the board with the first of many power play goals scored by the Pens, cutting the lead to 3-1 with 11:38 left in the 1st period. Dominik Simon got the puck to the point, where O'Neill blasted a point shot that changed directions on Jason LaBarbera.

A late first period penalty on the Phantoms gave the Penguins some carry-over power play time to work with and the Pens wasted little time cashing in. Scott Wilson made a nice move to get a mini-breakaway and although LaBarbera made the save, team captain Tom Kostopoulos stuffed in the rebound to get the Pens within a goal at 3-2 just 28 seconds into the middle frame.

The Pens continued to control play from there, as Nicklas Andersen beat LaBarbera with a point shot after great work by Simon down low on a fore-check caused a turnover. Simon got the puck back to Andersen for the blast 4:26 into the second period to tie things up at 3-3.

The Pens added two more power play goals in the period to take a 5-3 lead into the third. O'Neill tallied his second goal of the night at the 7:26 mark, and Simon set up in the high slot and beat LaBarbera high-glove with 1:45 left before the second intermission to complete the five unanswered goals.

The Phantoms made it a game early into the third as Nick Cousins stole a puck and went bar-down on Matt Murray to make it a 5-4 game, but that's as close as Lehigh Valley would get. Kostopoulos put the nail in the coffin with his second of the night with 7:59 to play to seal the 6-4 win after a nice set up from Simon and Oskar Sundqvist, the latter of which threaded the needle to Kostopoulos in front of the net to cap the scoring.


Jason LaBarbera (25 saves - 31 shots) got the start in net after Anthony Stolarz picked up the win in Springfield on Friday night.

Colin McDonald remains out with an undisclosed injury. Scott Gordon said Friday night in Springfield that McDonald will miss a few weeks.

Danick Martel, who blocked a shot in the 2nd period last night against Springfield, also did not play.

It got interesting on defense, as Andrew MacDonald didn't take the warmup with an apparent middle-body sustained last night in Springfield. Also, Robert Hagg took the warmup skate but left early. Hagg appeared on the bench for the game, but didn't play.

Michael Parks left in the 2nd period after a big hit behind the net from Reid McNeill and did not return after favoring an upper body ailment. Cole Bardreau also left the game with an apparent injury and didn't return.

Both Jesper Petterrson and Matt Lashoff made their season debuts with the Phantoms tonight on defense.

Phantoms Scratches: Robert Hagg, Colin McDonald (out a few weeks - undisclosed), Danick Martel (injured), Andrew MacDonald (ribs) and Logan Pyett (out indefinitely - sarcoma)

Phantoms Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics)

Taylor Leier - Tim Brent (A) - Aaron Palushaj
Petr Straka - Nick Cousins - Chris Conner
Tyrell Goulbourne - Cole Bardreau 
Jay Rosehill - Pavel Padakin - Michael Parks

Shayne Gostisbehere - Matt Lashoff
Davis Drewiske (A) - Mark Alt
Sam Morin - Jesper Pettersson

Jason LaBarbera - Anthony Stolarz


Matt Murray (saves - shots) got the start in net for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Tristan Jarry served as the backup.

With Bryan Rust called up to Pittsburgh and Tyler Biggs still injured, the Penguins had just 12 healthy forwards on the roster.

Tim Erixon was re-assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton but was quickly called back up to Pittsburgh a day later after Beau Bennett was placed on injured reserve to open a spot on the 23-man NHL roster for Erixon to be added.

Penguins Scratches: Harrison Ruopp (healthy), Tyler Biggs (injured) and Barry Goers (injured)

Penguins Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics)

Scott Wilson - Kael Mouillierat - Conor Sheary (A)
Dominik Simon - Carter Rowney - Josh Archibald
Dominik Uher - Oskar Sundqvist - Tom Kostopoulos (C)
Tom Sestito - Jean-Sebastien Dea - Matia Marcantuoni

Derrick Pouliot - Steve Oleksy
Reid McNeill - David Warsofsky
Nicklas Andersen - Will O'Neill

Matt Murray - Tristan Jarry


1st Period

1:11: LV - Straka (2) - Conner, Alt
3:31: LV - Rosehill (1) - unassisted
3:49: WBS - (PP) Mouillierat, minor (elbowing)
3:49: WBS - Oleksy, major (fighting)
3:49: LV - Straka, major (fighting)
5:06: LV - PPG Brent (1) - Leier, Bardreau
7:12: LV - (PP) Morin, minor (holding)
8:22: WBS - PPG O'Neill (1) - Simon, Kostopoulos
11:19: LV - (PP) Padakin, minor (tripping)
14:55: LV - (PP) Morin, minor (hooking)

2nd Period

0:28: WBS - PPG Kostopoulos (1) - Wilson, Sheary
4:26: WBS - Andersen (1) - Simon
5:41: LV - (PP) Rosehill, minor (goaltender interference)
7:26: WBS - PPG O'Neill (2) - Dea, Rowney
9:22: WBS - (PP) McNeill, minor (holding)
17:25: LV - (PP) Pettersson, minor (hooking)
18:15: WBS - PPG Simon (1) - Rowney, Dea

3rd Period

1:45: LV - Cousins (1) - unassisted
3:16: WBS - (PP) McNeill, minor (cross-checking)
3:40: LV - (PP) Cousins, minor (holding)
12:01: WBS - Kostopoulos (2) - Sundqvist, Simon


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