Phantoms Prevail Over Penguins in Preseason Finale

Sunday, October 4, 2015
The Phantoms concluded the preseason with a win at home over their rival, the Penguins.
In a game that was nearly a mirror image of Wednesday's game between these two teams, it was the Lehigh Valley Phantoms jumping out to a 3-0 lead and holding off a late Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins attack to survive with a 4-3 victory.

Petr Straka, Tim Brent and Nick Cousins put the Phantoms ahead by three entering the third period, but the no-quit Penguins made a game of it in the final frame - tallying three straight goals in the first nine minutes to even the score before an opportunistic turnover gave Lehigh Valley the win.

A loose puck squirted out in front of the Penguins' net and Danick Martel was in the right place at the right time, beating Tristan Jarry to the spot with 4:23 to play to give the Phantoms one final lead they wouldn't relinquish.

That concludes the preseason schedule for the Phantoms, who will have a week of practice leading up to the 2015-16 regular season opener against the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday, October 10th at the PPL Center.


Petr Straka on being relentless on the forecheck:
That's my game. I like to use my speed. It's actually something coach really wants from us this year so it helps my game and he pushes all of us to do it. I'm glad there is someone who pushes me to do it even more than I used to. Hopefully, I create enough turnovers to get some scoring chances off that.
Straka on his line with Bardreau & Conner:
Cole is a great player. He's kind of a grinder, but he can make plays too. He's a high energy guy, so it's really fun to be with him. Conner is an experience guy and he's really fast and skilled so we can put some serious pressure on the other team's defense.
Straka on ending preseason with a win:
It's always nice to win games. It's preseason, but still it was the last preseason game - it's going to be the feeling you want going into the regular season. Hopefully it will bring more energy in our work. We are going to bring it on Saturday.
Straka on the typical feisty style against the Penguins:
Obviously, against that team we have to set the pace. We have to let them know it's not going to be fun playing against us 12 times.
Danick Martel on his game-winning goal:
That's for sure. To get a real goal because last year the only goal I had here was an empty. To have a real goal here it's fun and to have the win we are going start the season on [a winning note].
Scott Gordon on the third period troubles:
I said before we went out on the ice to make sure we make them come 200 feet every shift. We didn't do that. We tried to make plays when we didn't have plays and as a result they were able to go on the attack. We spent too much time in our zone instead of grinding it out in the offensive zone.
Gordon on Colin McDonald's physical play:
I'd be surprised if you saw anything different in any game he plays. He will probably be one of our more consistent players this year. When I talked to his previous coaches, they all spoke pretty highly of him so we are fortunate that he is here.
Gordon on cleaning up defensively off the rush compared to last night:
It was a lot better. To their credit, they got a lot of shots but a lot of their offense came from shots off the wing and I thought we defended that better. We kept them a little more outside. It's pretty hard to stop a guy that's coming down the wall and has a willingness to shoot it at the net. He's not really looking to score, he's looking for a rebound. In those situations, we did a much better job of forcing them wide, keeping it wide and cleaning up the coverage on the entry towards the net.
Gordon on what he's stressing to his players:
The first thing I talked about before the game is our compete level had to be better than it was in the game last night. I saw that in the first and second periods for sure. Not that we didn't compete in the third period, but I just didn't think we played as smart of a game as we did in the first and the second.

The Phantoms took an early penalty, but were able to kill it off and take a 1-0 lead after a neutral zone turnover by the Penguins. Shayne Gostisbehere got a puck over to Petr Straka, who finished one off low to the blocker side on Tristan Jarry to get the Phantoms on the board first. Cole Bardreau also added an assist on the Phantoms' goal 10:51 into play.

Lehigh Valley's first power play was unsuccessful, but they capitalized on the 2nd one to take a 2-0 lead. After 45 seconds of possession in the offensive zone, Nick Cousins kept a puck in at the blue line and sent it down low to Taylor Leier who spun towards the net and put a shot on Jarry. Jarry made the stop, but Tim Brent was there to put in the rebound to make it a two-goal lead for the Phantoms with 3:46 left before the first intermission.

The Penguins out-shot the Phantoms 13-7 in the first frame, but veteran goaltender Jason LaBarbera was up to the task in the first 20 minutes. His rebound control and puck tracking skills were what you expected to see from a veteran like LaBarbera.

The physical play and questionable hits picked up in the middle frame, but things didn't boil over until after the Phantoms made it 3-0. Danick Martel flew down the left wing, creating a 3-on-2 rush for the Phantoms that Cousins would finish off. Cousins hung back as the trailer and received a perfect pass in the high slot, going bar-down on Jarry with a snipe of a goal to give the Phantoms a three-goal cushion for LaBarbera.

Directly after the goal, Penguins' fighter Patrick McGrath dropped his gloves and wrapped up Jay Rosehill, who surprisingly looked uninterested in the fisticuffs. That changed quickly, and once Rosehill dropped his gloves it wasn't long before he took McGrath to the ice.

Things seemed secure for the Phantoms entering the third with a 3-0 lead, but things quickly went sour for the home team in final frame. First, it was Sahir Gill ending LaBarbera's shutout bid 2:32 into the period as he found a way to get a loose puck into the back of the net.

The Phantoms had back-to-back power plays directly after Gill's goal, but were unable to re-gain momentum. Ty Loney finished off a pass from John McCarron moments later to make it a one-goal game and Oskar Sundqvist tied things up with an unassisted goal 1:19 later.

Luckily for the Phantoms, a defensive zone turnover by the Penguins behind their own net bounced out in front right to Martel, who beat Jarry with a quick shot to put the Phantoms in front for good.


Jason LaBarbera (34 saves - 37 shots) got the start in net for the Phantoms tonight, with Martin Ouellette serving as backup.

Defenseman Matt Lashoff has joined the Phantoms on a professional tryout (PTO). He brings experience to the back end and gives the Phantoms another depth option while Logan Pyett is out with injury. All indications point to Lashoff starting the regular season on the Phantoms roster.

Derek Mathers and Connor Knapp have been re-assigned to Reading (ECHL). I didn't see Kevin Goumas or Kevin Sundher downstairs post-game, so it's likely those two were also sent to Reading as well.

Phantoms Scratches: Anthony Stolarz, Mark Alt, Nick Luukko, Jesper Pettersson, Michael Parks, Kevin Goumas, Logan Pyett and Kevin Sundher

Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics)

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

Sam Morin - Robert Hagg
Shayne Gostisbehere - Maxim Lamarche
Davis Drewiske (A) - Matt Lashoff

Jason LaBarbera - Martin Ouellette


Tristan Jarry (20 saves - 24 shots) got the start in net for the Penguins. Brian Foster was the backup.

The Penguins dressed a largely light lineup, with most of the regulars getting the night off.

WBS Scratches: Matt Murray, Casey DeSmith, Reid McNeill, Barry Goers, Steve Oleksy, Brett Stern, Will O'Neill, Paul Cianfrini, Derrick Pouliot, Tom Kostopoulos, Riley Brace, Scott Wilson, Matia Marcantuoni, Cody Wydo, Derek Army, Kael Mouillerat, Conor Sheary, Christophe Lalancette, Tom Sestito, Tyler Biggs, Adam Krause, Jean-Sebastien Dea and Bryan Rust.


Adam Krause - Oskar Sundqvist - Anton Zlobin
Dominik Simon - Carter Rowney - Josh Archibald
Shane Bakker - Sahir Gill - Ty Loney
Patrick McGrath - Jarrett Burton - John McCarron

Niclas Andersen - Clark Seymour
Nick Petrecki - Ryan Parent
Matthew Maione - Mickael Beauregard

Tristan Jarry - Brian Foster


1st Period

2:19: LV - (PP) Cousins, minor (boarding)
7:47: WBS - (PP) Seymour, minor (hooking)
10:51: LV - Straka (1) - Gostisbehere, Bardreau
14:44: WBS - (PP) Sundqvist, minor (hooking)
16:14: LV - PPG Brent (1) - Leier, Cousins

2nd Period

4:54: LV - (PP) McDonald, minor (interference)
9:49: WBS - (PP) Simon, minor (elbowing)
15:09: LV - Cousins (1) - Martel
15:13: WBS - McGrath, major (fighting)
15:13: LV - Rosehill, major (fighting)
19:12: LV - (PP) Conner, minor (tripping)

3rd Period

2:32: WBS - Gill (1) - unassisted
2:46: WBS - (PP) McGrath, minor (roughing)
4:47: WBS - (PP) Maione, minor (slashing)
7:44: WBS - Loney (1) - McCarron, Gill
9:03: WBS - Sundqvist (2) - unassisted
14:21: WBS - Loney, major (fighting)
14:21: LV - Brent, major (fighting)
15:37: LV - Martel (2) - unassisted
18:11: LV - (PP) Morin, minor (slashing)


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