Comeback Kids - Phantoms Rally From 2-0 Deficit For OT Win

Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Phantoms score three unanswered in a come-from-behind win over rival Hershey
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms (12-12-1-0) avenged Saturday's loss in Hershey with a come-from-behind win of their own Wednesday night to kick off a five-game home stand at the PPL Center.

It wasn't looking good for the Phantoms with under 10 minutes to play in the third period trailing 2-0, but sharp shooting from Petr Straka and Danick Martel in the final 8:38 of regulation evened the game and sent the Phantoms to overtime with momentum on their side.

In the extra session, Anthony Stolarz (19 saves - 21 shots) came up big with two nice saves in the 3-on-3 overtime while Sam Morin had broken his stick and Lehigh Valley cashed in on an odd-man rush of their own with Taylor Leier setting up Nick Cousins for the game-winning goal with 1:15 left in OT.

It was a bit of a role reversal tonight as the Phantoms out-worked the Hershey Bears for a majority of the night and came away with the two points. The Phantoms remain home for a pair of games this weekend against another rival in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Friday and the Springfield Falcons on Saturday.

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Scott Gordon on the comeback:
I told the guys after the 2nd period that were shorthanded for eight minutes [in the 2nd period]. To me, it was a question of getting more 5-on-5 time because I thought in the 1st period we played really well 5-on-5.
Gordon on rebounding from Saturday's loss in Hershey:
Our play in the offensive zone was a night and day different than what it was in Hershey [Saturday], We actually played in the offensive zone. We had some extended zone time. 
Nick Cousins on the comeback:
It was huge. I think we out-battled them to be honest. They got a lucky power play goal and a 4-on-4 goal, but I think we took it to them most of the play and it just carried over into the third and we got our bounces. A couple nice shots from Straka and Martel and it's a new game. We were lucky enough to get that one in overtime.
Cousins on his game-winning goal in OT:
I think I was screaming from the other blue line at [Leier] that I was open. He made a nice heads up play and I just beat him blocker side. I was actually going to go back to [Leier] but the guy made a good read and it sort of opened up. I just closed my eyes and shot it and it went in, so we'll take it.
Petr Straka on his goal to get Phantoms on the scoreboard:
It was pretty tight coming down the wall. There wasn't much room to squeeze, but somehow I got through. I was able to create some space and I just cut off the angle a little bit and saw Ellis going off the post a little bit. I saw the hole opening up, I tried to rip it. Sometimes you miss the net and it goes out of the zone. This time it just worked out perfectly - I don't think it could've went better than that.

The Phantoms had the early pep in their step in the rematch, jumping out to a 4-0 shot advantage in the opening minutes of play and getting in on the attack - something they hadn't done much of Sunday in Hershey.

With Sam Morin in the box for cross-checking, the Bears ended the Phantoms' streak of 16 consecutive successful penalty kills to take a 1-0 lead 6:09 into the opening period. Chris Bourque took a pass from Riley Barber at the center point and fed Connor Carrick at the top of the face-off circle for a hard one-timer that sneaked past Stolarz.

The Phantoms had some good chances on a power play of their own just two minutes later, but Bears goaltender Dan Ellis came up with some sharp saves to keep Hershey in front - most notably glove saves on both Nick Cousins and a rebound that Sam Morin looked to have past the Bears' goalie.

Things got chippy late in the 1st period as Cousins took exception to a high-hit he took at the Phantoms' defensive zone blue line from Nathan Walker and dropped his gloves with the 5-8, 186 pound forward - landing several punishing blows before the two fell to the ice.

It looked like the Phantoms reverted to their old ways in the middle frame, as Hershey dominated most of the period and took a 2-0 lead 9:06 into the 2nd during a 4-on-4 situation. Credit Travis Boyd with some excellent stick work in the Phantoms' defensive zone, weaving his way to the net and finding Mike Moore on the back door play for an easy tap-in past Stolarz.

Stolarz really kept the Phantoms in it in the the second half of the period as the Phantoms headed to the box three straight times. The Phantoms' netminder made some big saves, including a big blocker save on Paul Carey on a 2-on-0 breakaway with Chandler Stephenson. Stephenson sent the puck across to Carey, but Stolarz slid from his left to right to get his blocker on it and deflect it into the corner.

The Phantoms let back-to-back power plays early in the third period go by the wayside and it appeared they would go away quietly into the night. Not tonight.

Petr Straka, who was point-less in his last four games, found a puck and put a perfect shot to the top corner on Ellis, popping the water bottle and getting the Phantoms' within a goal with 8:38 to play.

From there, the momentum swung the Phantoms way and it was Hershey clinging to a one-goal lead in a role reversal from Saturday in Hershey. With 2:59 left in regulation, Taylor Leier sent a perfect bank pass off the boards to Danick Martel in the offensive zone and Martel made no mistake - picking up the pass and firing a laser top shelf on Ellis to tie things up at 2-2.

Lehigh Valley finished off the game with a third highlight reel type goal in overtime, with Leier finding Cousins on a 3-on-2 rush and Cousins skating to the middle of the ice and firing one high-blocker on Ellis from the edge of the face-off circle with 1:15 left in the extra session to cap the comeback.


Anthony Stolarz (19 saves - 21 shots) got the start in net tonight for the Phantoms, with Jason LaBarbera back from injury and serving as the team's backup. For LaBarbera, it was his first time suiting up for a game since November 14th.

Jesper Pettersson (lower body) didn't play tonight after leaving the opening minute of Sunday's game with injury, taking a big hit behind the Phantoms' net in the first period at GIANT Center.

Tim Brent had a nagging ailment that kept him out of the lineup tonight. Scott Gordon didn't offer much of an update, but the injury seems minor. Gordon said the team has two games this weekend and if he's ready to go Friday he'll be in.

Scratches: Martin Ouellette (healthy), Christian Marti (upper body), Jesper Pettersson (lower body), Cole Bardreau (undisclosed), Kevin Sundher (lower body), Michael Parks (upper body), Chris Conner (undisclosed), Tim Brent (undisclosed) and Logan Pyett (out indefinitely).

Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics)

Taylor Leier - Danick Martel - Colin McDonald (C)
Petr Straka - Nick Cousins - Aaron Palushaj
Tyrell Goulbourne - Kevin Goumas - Brandon Alderson
Jay Rosehill (A) - Joe Rehkamp - Evan Rankin

Sam Morin - Mark Alt
Matt Lashoff - Robert Hagg
Davis Drewiske (A) - Maxim Lamarche

Anthony Stolarz - Jason LaBarbera


1st Period

5:48: LV - (PP) Morin, minor (cross-checking)
6:09: HER - PPG Carrick (6) - Bourque, Barber
8:05: HER - (PP) Barber, minor (tripping)
18:42: LV - Cousins, major (fighting)
18:42: HER - Walker, major (fighting)
19:17: HER - (PP) Burgdoerfer, minor (tripping)

2nd Period

7:57: LV - (PP) Rosehill, minor (interference)
8:20: HER - (PP) Carrick, minor (tripping)
9:06: HER - Moore (2) - Boyd, Bowey
10:03: LV - (PP) bench minor, too many men (served by Rankin)
14:55: LV - (PP) Alt, minor (cross-checking)
18:10: LV - (PP) Morin, minor (cross-checking)

3rd Period

3:49: HER - (PP) Bourque, minor (slashing)
5:44: HER - (PP) Lewington, minor (boarding)
11:22: LV - Straka (15) - McDonald, Martel
13:01: LV - (PP) Martel, minor (boarding)
17:01: LV - Martel (9) - Leier, Morin


3:45: LV - Cousins (7) - Leier


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