Phantoms 3rd Period Not Up To Par In Preseason Loss to Hartford

Saturday, October 3, 2015
Phantoms hosted their first preseason home game of the season tonight against Hartford.
A slow start to the third period plagued the Phantoms in their preseason home opener against the Hartford WolfPack tonight, as a goal 44 seconds into the final frame proved to be the game winner after the two teams played the first 40 minutes to a 1-1 tie.

While head coach Scott Gordon was pleased with how the players played under his new system tonight compared to Wednesday, he was unhappy with how the team got away from their game in the third.

Taylor Leier scored the lone Phantoms goal on a re-direct of a Shayne Gostisbehere shot on a power play, which at the time gave the Phantoms a 1-0 lead. Hartford responded late in the 2nd period with a power play goal of their own and added two more goals in the third in route to the 3-1 final score. WolfPack forward Marek Hrivik was involved in all three Hartford goals with a goal and two assists on the night.

Anthony Stolarz stopped 26 of the 29 shots that came his way and Gordon said post-game that Stolarz with the Phantoms' best player tonight. The Phantoms first year head coach also said that Jason LaBarbera will start in net for Lehigh Valley Sunday evening in the Phantoms' preseason finale at home against rival Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.


Head coach Scott Gordon:
I thought in the first period, we were okay. There was some things that I liked. Second period was better. I thought we had more puck possession in the offensive zone. We created some things offensively we didn't do the other night. We drew some penalties. And then the third period we got away from it.
As I explained to the players after the game, you can't continuously give up the chances that we gave up and expect your goalie to keep you in the game. For me, Stolarz was the best player for us tonight. The things that we gave up tonight were mistakes that shouldn't happen. As you start to play a team game, they won't.
Much better. We didn't really struggle coming out of our zone or with our defensive play. Overall, that was much better. The thing that was not good is how we came back into our zone. Most of the chances and shots that we gave up were off the rush. So that's definitely something that happens to be cleaned up.
Taylor Leier on playing the net front on the power play:
We put our power play together a couple days ago and that's how coach wants it. I'm actually most comfortable around the net. I played all three years of junior in front of the net and down low like I am now. I feel my comfort zone is there and I'm confident there so I'm happy with it personally.
Pavel Padakin on adjusting to pro hockey:
When you get to the pro level it's a little harder. First game, I felt I played pretty good. This game, I learned more stuff. After a couple minutes of the game, you're in it like everybody else. You're trying to escape like everyone else. At the pro level, every guy can skate.
Padakin on playing center:
It's not my normal position. In juniors, I was taking face-offs on the penalty kill but they put me at center and I am enjoying playing center. I hope the coaching staff likes it too.

It was a bit of a goaltender's duel in the first frame as Jeff Malcolm (Hartford) and Anthony Stolarz (Lehigh Valley) stole the show in the opening 20 minutes.

Shayne Gostisbehere joined a rush early in the period and after a give-and-go series of passes ended up with a hard shot from between the circles that bounced off Malcolm's mask. Expect to see 'Ghost' join the rush often this season.

While shorthanded, Stolarz made a pair of flashy glove saves - including one where he slid from right to left and robbed a WolfPack forward from notching what looked like a tap-in goal.
Danick Martel appeared to have scored for the Phantoms midway through the period, whistling one off either the crossbar or the white back-bar in the top shelf. The goal light came on, but the referee in position immediately waved no goal. No review.

Michael Parks just missed on a one-timer from just below the left-wing circle moments later and the Phantoms dominated play in the middle part of the period. Kevin Goumas made a great back-check in the neutral zone, lifting the stick of a Hartford defender and stealing the puck - sending Derek Mathers and Pavel Padakin, fresh off the bench, on an odd-man rush. Padakin stormed to the net and followed up his shot with a few whacks at the rebound, but Malcolm was able to keep it out of his net to keep the game scoreless.

Things opened up in the middle frame thanks to eight minor penalties called in a 14-minute span.

First, the Phantoms killed off 101 seconds of five-on-three before taking a 1-0 lead with a power play goal of their own. Nick Cousins got the puck to Shayne Gostisbehere at the center point and Ghost's blast was re-directed past Malcolm by Taylor Leier with five seconds to spare on the man advantage to put the Phantoms ahead. It was Leier's second of the AHL preseason and third if you include his goal with the Flyers in the NHL preseason.

The lead was short lived, however, after a failed pinch by Sam Morin led to a hooking minor by Kevin Sundher on an ensuing odd-man rush. Marek Hrivik was robbed twice in the period by Stolarz, but he set up Petr Zamorski for a one-timer that beat the Phantoms goaltender to the spot with 3:45 left before the 2nd intermission.

It appeared the Phantoms would have a golden chance late in the period as they received a two-man advantage of their own, but that was also short lived as an interesting holding the stick penalty on Robert Hagg negated the two-man advantage. The guy Hagg was called for holding up had broken his stick blocking a shot seconds before the two got tied up. Nonetheless, it was all knotted up at 1-1 heading to the third period.

Hartford capitalized on a brief power play carried over from Hagg's penalty to take their first lead of the night 44 seconds into the 3rd period. From there, it seemed the Phantoms were off their game - continuously getting caught off the rush by the WolfPack in the transition game.

Hrivik capped his three-point night eight minutes into the third, finishing off an odd-man rush for his first goal of the night to seal the victory for the visitors.


Anthony Stolarz (26 saves - 29 shots) got the start in net for the Phantoms tonight, with Martin Ouellette serving as backup.

In the 2nd of 3 preseason contests this year, the Phantoms dressed a much heavier lineup more closely resembling their opening night roster tonight against the WolfPack.

Brandon Alderson has joined the Reading Royals ECHL training camp and is no longer in Lehigh Valley.

Phantoms Scratches: Connor Knapp, Jason LaBarbera, Nick Luukko, Christian Marti (upper body), Cole Bardreau, Tyrell Goulbourne, Maxim Lamarche, Petr Straka, Colin McDonald & Logan Pyett.


Taylor Leier - Tim Brent (A) - Chris Conner
Danick Martel - Nick Cousins - Aaron Palushaj
Michael Parks - Pavel Padakin - Jay Rosehill
Derek Mathers - Kevin Sundher - Kevin Goumas

Robert Hagg - Shayne Gostisbehere
Davis Drewiske (A) - Mark Alt
Sam Morin - Jesper Pettersson

Anthony Stolarz - Martin Ouellette


1st Period

7:21: LV - (PP) Brent, minor (interference)
15:02: HFD - (PP) Summers, minor (tripping)

2nd Period

5:52: HFD - (PP) Oleksuk, minor (hooking)
7:33:  LV - (PP) bench minor, too many men (served by Palushaj)
7:52: LV - (PP) Goumas, minor (high-sticking)
10:23: HFD - (PP) Hughes, minor (interference)
12:18: LV - PPG Leier (2) - Gostisbehere, Cousins
16:04: LV - (PP) Sunder, minor (hooking)
16:15: HFD - PPG Zamorsky (1) - Nejezchleb, Hrivik
17:47: HFD - (PP) Tambellini, minor (hooking)
18:29: HFD - (PP) Andersson, minor (hooking)
18:49: LV - (PP) Hagg, minor (holding the stick)

3rd Period

0:44: HFD - PPG Andersson (1) - Zamorsky, Hrivik
3:13: LV - (PP) Rosehill, minor (roughing)
8:02: HFD - Hrivik (1) - McCarthy, Nejezchleb
11:15: HFD - (PP) Summers, minor (roughing)


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