Phantoms Bounce Back With Six-Goal Effort Against Hershey

Friday, December 18, 2015
Phantoms bounce back with 6-4 win over rival Hershey.
After taking a 1-0 lead early in the contest, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms surrendered three straight goals and trailed the Hershey Bears 3-1 with 8:06 left in the opening period.

Then, the game changer.

Team captain Colin McDonald lined up Bears defenseman Ryan Stanton with a big hit in the corner, and although a penalty wasn't called when Zach Sill dropped his gloves and attempted to fight McDonald it gave Lehigh Valley the momentum swing they were looking for to turn the tides.

The Phantoms got a power play on the very next shift and cashed in, propelling them to five straight goals to break open the game and bounce back with a big 6-4 win. Lehigh Valley went 3-for-6 on the power play, tallying a season-high three man advantage goals in the win.

The Phantoms (14-14-1-0) had six different goal scorers and six players pitched in multi-point efforts, including a game-high three points from Nick Cousins (1G-2A). The 8,111 fans at the PPL Center were sent home satisfied, concluding the Phantoms' five-game home stand on a positive note and giving the team a chance, with a win tomorrow night in Binghamton, to head into the week long break for the holidays with a winning record on the season.

After the jump, post-game reaction from head coach Scott Gordon, forward Nick Cousins and defenseman Maxim Lamarche on his first career AHL goal.


Scott Gordon on response tonight:
I like the way the team responded to the big hit by Colin McDonald. That was huge, seemed to get some emotion into the game for us given the situation. It didn't seem like much was going our way for a bit there and then obviously the hit O'Brien made on Alt allowed us to be on the power play for five minutes. The momentum that we gained in the end of the first period - getting that power play goal was huge.... carried over into the 2nd period.
Gordon on tonight's effort being a recipe for success moving forward:
We are slowly starting to figure out what we need to do to be successful. It's going to happen during the course of the year that we get a couple tough bounces against us..... sometimes you can't control some of the things that happen. At the end of the day, all you can control is your effort and that's what we did from after they got their 2nd goal with about nine minutes left in the period, we put our foot on the pedal and were able to generate a lot of offense.
Maxim Lamarche on his 1st career AHL goal:
I'm happy. [Palushaj] made a good pass to me across and I almost had, not an empty net but a big hole. I just tried to shoot and it went in.
Lamarche on getting an AHL role:
I'm just trying to help the team win, be hard every shift and enjoy the moment.
Nick Cousins on tonight's bounce back win:
It shows a lot of character that we have in this room. We were down 3-1 early in the 1st period, then power play strikes and then it's a different game from there. A big win for us.
Cousins on McDonald's hit in 1st period changing momentum:
Absolutely. He's our captain. That's the way he plays and he plays the right way. He's a big leader for us and a big momentum change in the game. We stuck with our composure there, big moment there for us and it comes from none other than our captain.
Cousins on the power play clicking tonight (3-for-6):
We have been working on it a lot lately. Once you get one early there on the power play, it gives you confidence. I think with AMac back there, he's probably the best in the league so we are fortunate enough to have him down here. We moved the puck really well and got traffic in front of the net. When we do that I think we are going to be successful.

The Phantoms came out firing against Hershey in the opening shift, nearly taking a 1-0 lead off a face-off win when Aaron Palushaj's shot from the circle just caught a piece of Bears' goaltender Justin Peters and darted into the corner.

On an offensive face-off win by Nick Cousins a few shifts later, the Phantoms did indeed take the 1-0 lead. Cousins won a face-off in the left-wing circle and the puck bounced off the boards to Sam Morin, who one-timed the puck off the bank from the boards and right past Peters 3:42 into the contest. It was Morin's second goal of the season and he stepped into it with a blast.

The lead was short lived as Hershey tied things up just 2:02 later on Paul Carey's 10th of the season. Aaron Ness carried a puck into the Phantoms' defensive zone and directed a puck toward Anthony Stolarz. Stolarz tried to direct the rebound to the opposite corner, but the puck went right to Carter Camper just below the face-off dot. Camper quickly shuffled it to the middle to Carey who beat Stolarz 5:44 into the opening period.

Hershey extended the lead to 3-1 with two goals just 1:24 apart in the middle of the period. First, Carey returned the favor - setting up Camper for a re-direction on a power play goal to make it a 2-1 Bears lead. Then, Chandler Stephenson sent Chris Bourque down the right wing and Bourque blew past everyone - just sneaking his shot in past Stolarz as the Phantoms' goaltender got a piece of it but not enough to keep it from getting behind him.

A 1-0 lead evaporated on the Phantoms, but they didn't call it quits. In fact, a big hit by team captain Colin McDonald seemed to swing momentum into Lehigh Valley's favor. The Bears were penalized on the following shift seeking retribution for McDonald's hit on Ryan Stanton, sending the Phantoms to the power play.

With a second penalty assessed to Hershey - giving the Phantoms 19 seconds of two-man advantage - Lehigh Valley made it a one goal game. Nick Cousins won a face-off and Petr Straka gained control, getting the puck back to Andrew MacDonald on the point. MacDonald's point blast deflected off of a Bears' defender's skate and past Peters to make it a 3-2 game with 3:12 left before the first intermission.

The Phantoms erupted for 16 shots in the opening frame, with most coming in the final five minutes of the period. Bourque grabbed a hold of Tyrell Goulbourne and took him to the ice after a series of Phantoms pressure to give Lehigh Valley another man advantage with 27.2 seconds left.

Lehigh Valley didn't score on the carryover power play time to start the middle frame, but went on a five-minute power play 5:04 into the 2nd period after a match penalty for checking to the head was assessed on Liam O'Brien, who blasted Alt's face into the back dasher. Morin jumped in and stood up for his defense partner and dropped the gloves with Hershey's enforcer.

The Phantoms made O'Brien and the Bears pay, tallying two goals on the ensuing man advantage to take the 4-3 lead. First, Cousins took a pass from MacDonald and sniped one through traffic past Peters 5:58 into the period to tie the game at 3-3. Then, Maxim Lamarche tallied his first career AHL goal on a beautiful shot from below the right-wing face-off dot, darting over Peters' shoulder to make it a 4-3 Phantoms lead with 10:18 left in the period.

The Bears started to string together some consistent offensive zone time of their own late in the period, but to no avail. Stolarz made a few solid stops and the Phantoms' defense did a good job of getting in shooting lanes, blocking shots and keeping the puck to the outside.

Hershey continued to press the issue early in the third period, but were unable to get one by Stolarz to tie the game. Instead, the Phantoms made it five unanswered goals and took a commanding 6-3 lead with third period goals from Mark Alt and Cole Bardreau before Hershey tacked on a meaningless goal with 8.2 seconds left to complete the 6-4 final score.


Anthony Stolarz (22 saves - 26 shots) got the start in net tonight after backing up Jason LaBarbera on Wednesday night.

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.

Matt Lashoff didn't practice yesterday and is out with an undisclosed injury.

Forward Tim Brent (undisclosed) skated at practice Tuesday after not practicing Monday, but was reported to have skated in a yellow non-contact jersey Thursday by the team.

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), Chris Conner (upper body), Matt Lashoff (undisclosed), Tim Brent (undisclosed), Jay Rosehill (healthy) and Logan Pyett (out indefinitely).

Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics)

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

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

Anthony Stolarz - Jason LaBarbera


1st Period

3:42: LV - Morin (2) - Cousins
5:44: HER - Carey (10) - Camper, Ness
9:11: LV - (PP) McDonald, minor (high-sticking)
10:29: HER - PPG Camper (3) - Carey, O'Brien
11:54: HER - Bourque (10) - Stephenson, Moore
14:31: HER - (PP) O'Brien, minor (interference)
16:48: LV - PPG Leier (8) - MacDonald, Straka
19:32: HER - (PP) Bourque, minor (holding)

2nd Period

3;21: LV - (PP) Goumas, minor (tripping)
5:04: HER - (PP) O'Brien, major (checking to the head)
5:04: HER - O'Brien, major (fighting)
5:04: HER - O'Brien, game misconduct
5:04: LV - Morin, major (fighting)
5:58: LV - PPG Cousins (8) - MacDonald, Straka
9:42: LV - PPG Lamarche (1) - Palushaj, Cousins

3rd Period

3:59: LV - (PP) Goulbourne, minor (slashing)
8:37: LV - Alt (2) - Morin, Palushaj
15:43: LV - Bardreau (1) - MacDonald, Lamarche
19:51: HER - Boyd (4) - Gazley, Carey


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