Phantoms Blanked By Penguins Again

Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Penguins shutout the Phantoms for the second straight time.
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms (13-14-1-0) had trouble generating much in the offensive zone and ultimately, it resulted in a 3-0 shutout loss to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins whom to their credit have not allowed a goal in 180:29 after posting their third straight shutout win.

The Phantoms mustered just eight shots on net in the first 40 minutes of play, with several shot attempts not getting through or missing the net entirely. The defensive zone play wasn't terrible, but spending too much time defending and not enough attacking will slow down just about any team.

The Penguins were without their starting goaltender Matt Murray, along with forwards Conor Sheary and Kevin Porter, but Wilkes-Barre/Scranton didn't miss a beat - getting a full team effort to improve to 20-5-0-0 on the season.

Some thoughts from head coach Scott Gordon, defenseman Davis Drewiske and rookie forward Joe Rehkamp after the jump.

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Scott Gordon:
We had some critical moments where we had some chances - that one off the pipe and the shorthanded rush in the second period. That being said, the first period wasn't very good. We had two or three players who didn't have their best nights tonight.
We had a lot of shots miss the net. Credit to them for putting enough pressure on us to not allow us to get a lot of time to find that lane to the net. At the end of the day, we are putting the same pressure on their D and they are finding a way.
Davis Drewiske on the breakouts:
Our defensemen need to do a better job getting out of our zone clean so we have more energy to go play offense. When we are in the offensive zone, we have to do a better job getting the puck through to the net. We didn't do it enough [tonight].
Drewiske on approach to the final two games this weekend:
Nothing to save it for, so just get a good day of preparation in tomorrow and be ready to go on Friday.
Joe Rehkamp on adjusting to the AHL:
It's been going pretty well. Just have to get used to the bigger bodies, a little faster game. Would have liked to have a better outcome tonight but we just got out-competed. We have to come back and work hard tomorrow.
Rehkamp on having trouble gettnig shots through:
I think just trying to get if off our sticks quicker and get our bodies in there to get some traffic. Just competing harder in those areas where you can get those chances.

The Phantoms had some early pressure in the opening shifts of the game, but the Penguins took over and controlled most of the first period. It wasn't until about nine minutes in that the Phantoms got credit for their first shot on goal - a Nick Cousins drive to the net after Petr Straka fed a pass from the middle to the wing to hit Cousins in stride.

Shortly after that, the Penguins got on the board. Clark Seymour got off a hard shot from the point that changed direction on its way past Jason LaBarbera. Originally, it looked like Jean-Sebastien Dea got a stick on it in front of the Phantoms' goaltender but the goal stayed credited to Seymour - his first career AHL goal.

Replays showed the puck re-directing past LaBarbera off the heel of Phantoms' defender Maxim Lamarche's skate. Ty Loney and Josh Archibald were credited with the assists on the Penguins' opening goal 9:54 into the contest.

From there, LaBarbera had to be sharp in his first start since November 8th. The Pens racked up 11 shots in the opening period and if not for some solid stops amidst waves of pressure, the Phantoms would have skated back to the locker room for the 1st intermission trailing by a lot more than 1-0.

The Phantoms continued to have trouble getting pucks to the net in the middle frame, registering only five shots on net and spending a lot of time in their own defensive zone.

After a parade of early period penalties provided no scoring, a puck-handling gaffe by Jason LaBarbera ended up in the back of his net with 8:03 left in the 2nd period.

LaBarbera sent a pass from behind his net intended to clear the zone, but it was instead intercepted by J-S Dea. Dea skated the puck between the face-off circles and beat LaBarbera to the spot to extend the WBS lead to 2-0.

Taylor Leier caught the post on a shot late in the second period, and in the closing seconds of the middle frame Davis Drewiske just missed the net on a 2-on-1 shorthanded rush, but credit the Penguins with another stalwart defensive effort to keep the Phantoms off the board heading to the 3rd.

The Phantoms got more shots in on Tristan Jarry in the third period, but the Penguins rookie goaltender made all the necessary saves to complete the 17-save shutout.

Bryan Rust finished off a pass from Tim Erixon with 6:32 left in regulation to give the Pens the 3-0 final score.


Jason LaBarbera (22 saves - 25 shots) got his first start in over five weeks tonight returning from injury. Anthony Stolarz served as LaBarbera's backup.

Jesper Pettersson was re-assigned to Reading (ECHL), leaving the Phantoms with seven healthy defensemen on the roster.

Defenseman Christian Marti (upper body) has skated each of the last two days at practice in a yellow non-contact jersey and is nearing a return.

Forward Tim Brent (undisclosed) skated at practice Tuesday after not practicing Monday, but was not in the lineup tonight.

Chris Conner remains out with an upper body injury. He'll be out at least another four weeks per his original six-week timetable.

Scratches: Christian Marti (upper body), Kevin Sundher (lower body), Michael Parks (upper body), Brandon Alderson (healthy), Chris Conner (upper body), Tim Brent (undisclosed), Jay Rosehill (healthy) and Logan Pyett (out indefinitely)

Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics)

Taylor Leier - Joe Rehkamp - Danick Martel
Petr Straka - Nick Cousins - Aaron Palushaj
Tyrell Goulbourne - Kevin Goumas - Colin McDonald (C)
Evan Rankin - Cole Bardreau

Andrew MacDonald - Robert Hagg
Sam Morin - Mark Alt
Davis Drewiske - Maxim Lamarche
Matt Lashoff

Jason LaBarbera - Anthony Stolarz


1st Period

9:54: WBS - Seymour (1) - Loney, Archibald
18:52: WBS - (PP) Archibald, minor (hooking)

2nd Period

2:19: WBS - (PP) Rowney, minor (tripping)
2:25: LV - (PP) Leier, minor (interference)
3:41: LV - (PP) Morin, minor (closing hand on puck)
11:57: WBS - Dea (8) - unassisted
19:29: LV - (PP) Hagg, minor (roughing)

3rd Period

3:58: WBS - (PP) Rowney, minor (holding)
13:28: WBS - Rust  (1) - Erixon, O'Neill
19:59: WBS - O'Neill, minor (roughing)
19:59: WBS - Wilson, minor (roughing)
19:59: LV - Leier, minor (roughing)
19:59: LV - Martel, minor (roughing)


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