Phantoms Get Team Effort in Big Win Over St. John's

Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Phantoms and IceCaps in the first of a two-game set at the PPL Center.
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms (3-4-0-0) came ready to play tonight in the Phantoms' Pink in the Rink Night and despite allowing the game's first goal tonight to the St. John's IceCaps (5-2-1-1), the home team was in control from start to finish in a 5-1 win in front of 6,929 fans at the PPL Center Wednesday night.

Nick Cousins tallied the Phantoms' first two goals of the evening, while Kevin Goumas, Shayne Gostisbehere and Taylor Leier also tallied scores for Lehigh Valley in the win. Anthony Stolarz stopped 17 of the 18 shots he faced to improve to 3-1-0 on the season.

These two teams rematch at PPL Center again on Friday night.


Scott Gordon on tonight's all-around good effort:
I was pleased especially with the first period. We talked about the importance of the first shift to set the tempo of the game. Even though we didn't get possession off our initial fore-checks, we didn't allow them to be able to get the puck and do anything from an attacking perspective.
Gordon on Mathers' fight bringing energy to the crowd & the team:
Great job by Derek there. He's a good presence on our bench, just like Rosie. Those guys are an important part of it. He's working at getting better at being a better player - that stuff will come to him. I was happy to see it.
Gordon on not being deflated after going down 1-0:
I think at that point you have to recognize, even though they got the goal, what the situation was in the game and at that point we were going pretty good. You can't control that puck going in the net in a sense, it's how you respond to it. They responded well.
Nick Cousins on tonight's win:
They got the first goal on the power play, but after that we took it to them. We played well in the offensive zone, our defense was moving we had all three forwards involved. I think that's when we are at our best. It was a good win.
Cousins on Mathers' fight giving the team energy in the opening minutes:
Absolutely. That's his role to bring energy and he brought energy for us tonight. That was a big fight, he got the win. It's good to see. We sort of built off that and took it to them the rest of the game.
Derek Mathers on the early fight:
It's a big part of my role out there. I've been out for awhile and I needed to make a statement when I'm back. I know Crisp, I fought him before. He gave me a fight and it went my way. If the guys fed off it that's a bonus, but I'm just doing my job and it seemed to work.
Shayne Gostisbehere on his first pro goal:
Felt like awhile now, some of the guys were getting on me. It definitely feels good to get that one off my back.
Gostisbehere on if the 1st goal loosened him up:
I shoot the puck a lot. Guys know that. I just stuck with it, tried to put pucks on net and good things happened.

The Phantoms fore-check has proven itself to be tough to play against, and they were getting in on the IceCaps from the opening shift. The night started with a bang, literally, when Derek Mathers and Connor Crisp dropped the gloves 2:42 into the contest. Mathers went to town on the IceCaps' forward, dropping him to his knees with a big right handed swing to Crisp's jaw.

Lehigh Valley was all over St. John's in the opening minutes, out-shooting the IceCaps by a 13-1 margin at one point. Unfortunately, the Phantoms didn't make the early pressure count.

A penalty at the tail end of the Phantoms' first power play of the night resulted in the 29th ranked PK taking to the ice to kill a penalty of their own. St. John's made them pay. Bud Holloway kept a puck in at the blue line and got it to the center point to Mark Barberio, who slid a pass to the right-wing circle for a one-timer by Sven Andrighetto that beat Anthony Stolarz to the glove side.

It appeared that all the Phantoms early work was wasted and they lost momentum. Not so fast. 55 seconds after the IceCaps took a 1-0 lead, the Phantoms responded with a goal of their own to tie things up.

Shayne Gostisbehere took a pass from his defense partner Andrew MacDonald and pinched down into the zone at the right wing half-wall. Gostisbehere spotted Nick Cousins going back-door and fed him a perfect pass across the top of Dustin Tokarski's crease for an easy tap in and Cousins' 2nd goal of the season with 5:06 before the first intermission.

After some late period penalties expired early in the middle frame, the Phantoms went back to work - taking the lead on Cousins' 2nd goal of the game 3:51 into the period. Cousins skated into the offensive zone, slowed to a stop from atop the right-wing face-off circle and let loose a laser of a wrist shot into the top shelf past Tokarski.

The IceCaps nearly tied it back up at 2-2 on the next shift, if not for several sharp saves by Stolarz. From there, the Phantoms added to their lead.

Kevin Goumas picked up his first of the season, finishing off an odd-man rush with Taylor Leier and Aaron Palushaj. Leier found Goumas trailing in the slot and he made no mistake about it, picking the top left corner on Tokarski to make it a 3-1 game 10:57 into the middle frame.

The Phantoms weren't done, making it 4-1 late in the period on Shayne Gostisbehere's first pro goal of his career. With the Phantoms on the power play, Gostisbhere got the puck from Tim Brent at the point and let loose a hard and low shot that eluded Tokarski with 2:35 before the 2nd intermission. Leier added a secondary assist on the play.

The Phantoms tallied their 5th straight goal of the contest midway through the third to cap the scoring at 5-1. Brent forced a turnover behind the IceCaps net and fed a backhand pass out to Leier in front for Leier's 1st of the night and third point of the contest. Palushaj added a secondary assist.


Anthony Stolarz (17 saves - 18 shots) made his first start of the season tonight for the Phantoms. Martin Ouellette backed him up in net.

None of the injured players - Cole Bardreau, Robert Hagg, Danick Martel, Colin McDonald, Michael Parks - returned to the lineup, but both Hagg and Martel skated in a limited capacity during Tuesday's practice.

On defense, Matt Lashoff returned to the Phantoms' blue line and Jesper Pettersson was the healthy scratch on defense.

Jay Rosehill was the veteran scratch tonight to allow Lashoff to return to the lineup. Derek Mathers took Rosehill's spot on the fourth line.

Phantoms Scratches: Robert Hagg (injured), Cole Bardreau (injured), Jesper Pettersson (healthy) Colin McDonald (injured), Michael Parks (injured), Danick Martel (injured) and Jay Rosehill (healthy/veteran)

Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics)

Taylor Leier - Tim Brent (A) - Aaron Palushaj
Petr Straka - Nick Cousins - Chris Conner
Tyrell Goulbourne - Kevin Goumas - Evan Rankin
Derek Mathers - Pavel Padakin - Brandon Alderson

Shayne Gostisbehere - Andrew MacDonald (A)
Davis Drewiske (A) - Matt Lashoff
Sam Morin - Mark Alt

Anthony Stolarz - Martin Ouellette


1st Period

2:42: LV - Mathers, major (fighting)
2:42: STJ - Crisp, major (fighting)
10:57: STJ - (PP) Ellis, minor (cross-checking)
12:56: LV - (PP) MacDonald, minor (tripping)
13:59: STJ - PPG - Andrighetto (3) - Barberio, Holloway
14:54: LV - Cousins (2) - Gostisbehere, MacDonald
18:48: STJ - (PP) Gregoire, minor (elbowing)
19:37: LV - (PP) bench minor, too many men (served by Alderson)

2nd Period

3:51: LV - Cousins (3) - Alt

10:57: LV - Goumas (1) - Leier, Palushaj
11:36: STJ - (PP) Hudon, minor (hooking)
16:42: STJ - (PP) de la Rose, minor (cross-checking)
17:25: LV - PPG Gostisbehere (1) - Brent, Leier

3rd Period

4:57: LV - (PP) Padakin, minor (high-sticking)
10:48: LV - Leier (3) - Brent, Palushaj


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