Phantoms Survive With Shootout Win

Sunday, November 1, 2015
Phantoms and Bears met for the 1st of 12 scheduled meetings.
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms appeared to be in control this evening in Hershey with a 4-1 lead into the dying seconds of the middle frame, but a late 2nd period power play goal and 3rd period man advantage tally made it a one-goal game.

A game-tying goal with 2:07 left in regulation sent it to overtime and after the extra session didn't find a winner, it was onto the shootout. Taylor Leier opened the shootout with a goal before Hershey's Riley Barber tied it in the 3rd round. Sean Collins put the Bears ahead in the 8th round, but Brandon Alderson tied it back up in the bottom half of the 8th to keep the shootout going.

It wasn't until the bottom of the 10th round that the Phantoms came away with two points. Kevin Sundher, added by Lehigh Valley to a professional tryout (PTO) this afternoon, played the role of hero - scoring on the same exact move that Leier scored on in the first round.

These two teams rematch Friday at the PPL Center, with Hershey hitting the road for a Wednesday night game in Bridgeport before heading to Allentown to play what should be a well-rested Phantoms team who doesn't play during the week.


Scott Gordon on resiliency of the PK in overtime:
Great job. We might have given up one chance, but LaBarbera made a big save. We talked about it before the game and just refreshed them during the timeout. They executed it really well. There was always a presence in the shot lane, which was huge.
Gordon on importance of taking advantage in the 1st period:
It really was. To me, a little bit in the 2nd and 3rd we got away from the exact things we did well in the first period. We started to change it a little bit, we started to be a little too patient with the puck. They came out hard like you'd expect them to. They did a great job as far as drawing penalties. We took some bad, bad penalties. The PK on their 1st power play goal was something that shouldn't happen. We were completely in the wrong positions and we'll need to continue to work on that.
Gordon on LaBarbera:
He made some huge saves (in the shootout). He's been a yo-yo between here and Philadelphia. He hasn't gotten into a rhythm with practices and games. I think we haven't seen his A-game yet and when we get that it's going to be a lot easier for both him and ourselves. It's not his fault either. He's been on our roster maybe 4 out of the nine games. That was our objective to get him the start today versus on Friday.
Jason LaBarbera on the shootout:
I hate the shootout to be honest with you. It might have been one of the better ones I've had in my career. I felt really good with what I was doing, which was the complete opposite of how I felt in practice yesterday.
LaBarbera on getting the 1st win out of the way:
Finally, oh my. It felt good. I've felt good in the games I have played, just hadn't been getting the results. Even today, I gave up four goals. The numbers aren't great but the process has been good and that's all you can really look at right now.
Kevin Sundher on finishing shootout in 10th round:
It's something I'm comfortable with. In junior, I was always the guy to take shots in the shootout. I just wanted to go out there and make my move. Leier did the same thing earlier in the shootout, so as soon as that happened I knew it was probably going to be there. I did it and it worked.
Petr Straka on the finish:
It's what matters. We got the two points out of here. It's a tough building to play in. We didn't have much success here last year, so we'll take it. The way it worked out in the third wasn't what we wanted and it's not the first time it's happened to us so we need to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Straka on his first goal:
I saw we had two guys behind the net, I was in a high position to support Gostisbehere. Danick threw it in front because he knew was there, it went through their guy's skates and I got it through on my backhand.
Straka on his 2nd goal (shorthanded):
I was surprised what was going on there because neither of them were going for the puck. Maybe they were thinking the goalie was going to play it, but nobody did. I'll take it. It was a good chance to skate and get the puck and I got and buried it.

The Phantoms took advantage of a Bears team playing their third game in three nights in the opening period, out-shooting Hershey 17-8 and dominating most of the period.

After a ghostly tripping call on Samuel Morin slowed the Phantoms early momentum, Lehigh Valley got a power play of their own after getting back to their game - taking a 1-0 lead on the man advantage.

Petr Straka sent a cross ice pass to an open Morin at the left-wing circle. Morin sent a perfect low shot off Dan Ellis' pad and right to Danick Martel for an easy tap-in goal at 9:59 of the 1st period. It was Morin's first pro point.

From there, the Phantoms continued to control play, drawing another power play when Taylor Leier was hauled down going to the net with the puck on his stick. The Phantoms were unable to extend their lead with the man advantage, and the Bears got some late pressure before heading to the first intermission.

There was plenty happening in the middle frame both on and off the ice. The Bears tied things up at 1-1 just 1:40 into the second period on a 2-on-1 down low that saw Travis Boyd hit Christian Djoos at the back door, who was able to lift one past an out-stretched Jason LaBarbera to even the score.

The Phantoms didn't panic. In fact, they re-took the lead at 2-1 just about two and a half minutes later on a great pass from behind the net by Danick Martel out in front to Petr Straka, who made a defender miss before beating Ellis to the blocker side. Shayne Gostisbehere picked up a secondary assist on the play 4:11 into the 2nd frame.

Then, things got a little crazy.

After Straka's goal, the Phantoms put their marker board on the glass behind the bench directly in front of some Bears fans in the front row, blocking their view of play. The fans stood and starting pounding on the glass showing their displeasure and play was stopped to calm the situation. The fans at Giant Center, who were basically silent at that point, started to get very loud and chanting at that Phantoms bench to take the marker board down. After a brief delay, they took it down after play had resumed. A very strange sight indeed.

Meanwhile, "Marker Board Gate" seemed to work in the Phantoms favor. Aaron Palushaj finished off a rebound of Tim Brent's shot 1:38 later to put Lehigh Valley ahead 3-1. Davis Drewiske picked up a second assist on the play, getting the puck to Brent for the intial shot on Ellis.

After Drewiske took a minor penalty 6:42 into the period and the Phantoms were shorthanded, Straka struck again. He won a race to a loose puck just inside the Phantoms' offensive zone blue line and beat Ellis on the breakaway to make it a 4-1 lead. Straka's 2nd of the game and team-leading 6th of the season with 11:52 left in the 2nd put the Phantoms back in control.

Hershey made it interesting in the final seconds of the 2nd period, with Sean Collins banging home a puck on the doorstep with 7.9 seconds before the second intermission to make it a 4-2 game. The power play goal was a chance for the Bears to climb back into the game.

After it seemed the Phantoms were in control to start the final frame, a penalty midway through the period gave Hershey a chance to make it a one-goal game and they did. Christian Djoos fed a cross-ice pass at the point to Chris Bourque, who one-timed one past LaBarbera to make it a 4-3 game with 10:42 left to play in regulation.

Another Phantoms penalty - this one to Straka with 5:06 left in regulation - gave the Bears continued pressure in the Phantoms' defensive zone. Lehigh Valley was able to kill off the Bears' power play, but with 2:07 left the Bears knotted things at 4-4 on a Zach Sill tally that got stuck in the top corner of the net.


Jason LaBarbera (29 saves - 33 shots) got the start in net for Lehigh Valley. Anthony Stolarz served as LaBarbera's backup.

Jesper Pettersson dressed as a 7th defenseman for the Phantoms as a late lineup addition. Derek Mathers took the warm up, but was the healthy scratch and the Phantoms went with 11 forwards and seven defensemen.

Up front, three changes to the lineup as both Evan Rankin (upper body) and Nick Cousins (upper body) were out of action today after sustaining injuries in the 3rd period of Friday night's game against St. John's. Also, Chris Conner was called up to the Philadelphia Flyers.

Brandon Alderson and Jay Rosehill slotted back into the lineup up front for the Phantoms. Kevin Sundher was added to the Phantoms roster from Reading (ECHL) on a professional tryout (PTO).

Phantoms Scratches: Robert Hagg (injured), Cole Bardreau (injured), Evan Rankin (injured), Colin McDonald (injured), Michael Parks (injured), Nick Cousins (injured) and Derek Mathers (healthy)

Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics)

Taylor Leier - Tim Brent (A) - Aaron Palushaj
Brandon Alderson - Danick Martel - Petr Straka
Tyrell Goulbourne - Kevin Goumas - Evan Rankin
             Jay Rosehill - Kevin Sundher

Shayne Gostisbehere - Andrew MacDonald
Davis Drewiske - Matt Lashoff
Sam Morin - Mark Alt
   Jesper Pettersson

Jason LaBarbera - Anthony Stolarz


1st Period

3:34: LV - (PP) Morin, minor (tripping)
9:05: HER - (PP) O'Brien, minor (tripping)
9:59: LV - PPG Martel (3) - Morin, Straka
13:37: HER - (PP) Carrick, minor (holding)

2nd Period

1:40: HER - Djoos (1) - Boyd, Carey
4:11: LV - Straka (5) - Martel, Gostisbehere
5:39: LV - Palushaj (3) - Brent, Drewiske
6:42: LV - (PP) Drewiske, minor (tripping)
8:08: LV - SHG Straka (6) - Lashoff, LaBarbera
18:48: LV - (PP) Lashoff, minor (holding)
19:52: HER - PPG Collins (1) - Bourque, Ness

3rd Period

8:17: LV - (PP) Martel, minor (holding)
9:18: HER - PPG Bourque (3) - Djoos, Barber
14:54: LV - (PP) Straka, minor (holding)
17:53: HER - Sill (1) - Mitchell, O'Brien


2:54: LV - (PP) Brent, minor (hooking)



Carrick - NO
Bourque - NO
Barber - YES
Mitchell - NO
Boyd - NO
Camper - NO
Gazley - NO
Collins - YES
Carey - NO
Walker - NO


Leier - YES
Straka - NO
Martel - NO
Palushaj - NO
Gostisbehere - NO
Padakin - NO
Brent - NO
Alderson - YES
Goulbourne - NO
Sundher - YES


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