Phantoms Burned By Bears In Third Period

Saturday, December 5, 2015
Phantoms end weekend on a sour note in Hershey
The writing was on the wall.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms might have gotten out to a 1-0 lead in the first period, but it was a period largely controlled by the Hershey Bears who out shot the Phantoms 14-5 in the opening frame.

The Bears continued to pressure the Phantoms and sustain offensive zone time throughout the game, finally getting one past Anthony Stolarz with 9:37 left in the third period on their 39th shot of the game to even the score at 1-1. Unfortunately for the Phantoms, they couldn't respond and Chris Bourque finished off a 2-on-1 rush with 20.4 seconds left in regulation to give the Bears the 2-1 win and prevent the Phantoms from getting any points in the standings.

Stolarz was far and away the Phantoms best player tonight - getting charged with the loss despite making 42 saves on 44 shots. If not for their goaltender, the Phantoms would have been blown out at Giant Center this evening.

Some post-game thoughts from head coach Scott Gordon and forwards Nick Cousins and Colin McDonald after the jump.

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Scott Gordon's reaction to the loss:
I think it started with getting behind the eight-ball on special teams with the beginning of the game. We never got any rhythm going with our lines. We had probably our fullest lineup and we weren't able to take advantage of it. On paper, it looked like we were going to pretty good. At the end of the day, we got we deserved. We didn't deserve to win the game. Stolie almost stole it for us. We just didn't deserve the game.
Nick Cousins' thoughts:
I don't think we controlled the game, I think they controlled the whole game. If it wasn't for Stolie, it would have been six or seven to one.
Cousins on his goal, the end result:
The first period was sort of back and forth. I was lucky enough to find (Morin) coming in and just sort of found his rebound. It was nice to get that, but at the same time it's the win that's most important and they got it obviously. It's disappointing to say the least.
Colin McDonald's thoughts:
I think (the ice) was tilted against us the whole game. I'm not sure what happened, hopefully just one of those games for wahtever reason we didn't have it tonight. We simply didn't have it tonight, it was pretty ugly right from the get-go.
I think we couldn't have asked for a better situation. Lay an egg like we did tonight and then get these guys again on Wednesday. I think you'll definitely see a much better effort. We just have to play our game. There was really no sustained energy offensively at any point. These things happen once or twice throughout the year. We have to make sure we limit it to just that, only once or twice.

The Phantoms were pinned in their own zone most of the first half of the opening period, not registering their first shot on goal until there was about eight minutes left in the 1st frame.

Anthony Stolarz had to be stellar from the opening face-off and he was, stopping all 14 shots he faced in the 1st period - including several dangerous scoring chances while the Phantoms were shorthanded.

It wasn't until late in the period that the Phantoms got to the offensive attack, using their team speed to get an odd-man rush with under five minutes to play. Colin McDonald got the puck to Nick Cousins on the wing, who hit a a trailing Sam Morin joining the rush in the middle.

Morin's initial shot was stopped by Dan Ellis, but Nick Cousins got the rebound, spun around and flung the puck into the net to give the Phantoms a 1-0 lead with 4:57 left before the first intermission.

Hershey continued to pepper Stolarz with pucks in the middle frame - out-shooting the Phantoms 13-5 in the 2nd period - but the Phantoms netminder again stood on his head in net. His biggest save of the period came late in the 2nd period denying Carter Camper's backhander on a mini-breakaway right his right pad and then scrambling to make the 2nd save on the rebound attempt.

The Bears really wanted to tie things up in the third period, and after 10 minutes of solid pressure to start the final frame they evened the score at 1-1 on their 39th shot of the hockey game. Paul Carey came down the wing and flung a puck towards the net from a bad angle and it bounced in past Stolarz off Dustin Gazely with 9:37 left in the third.

The Phantoms continued to play on their heels and the Bears continued dominating play, eventually tallying the game-winning goal with just 20.4 seconds left to play. Travis Boyd and Chris Bourque teamed up for a 2-on-1 rush with Boyd getting it across to Bourque for the difference-making goal that left the Phantoms head to the locker room with zero points in the standings.


Anthony Stolarz (42 saves - 44 shots) got the start in net tonight for the Phantoms. Martin Ouellette served as Stolarz's backup.

Forwards Nick Cousins and Colin McDonald were re-assigned by Philadelphia and returned to the Phantoms' lineup up front against Hershey.

To make room, forwards Pavel Padakin and Jay Rosehill were scratched - Rosehill back to being a veteran scratch with the return of McDonald.

Jesper Pettersson left the game after a big hit he received in the opening shift of the game. There was no update on his condition after the game, but it's a lower body ailment that prevented him from returning to action.

Scott Gordon said after Friday's 3-1 win in Wilkes-Barre that Jason LaBarbera is getting closer to returning to game action.

Matt Lashoff was hit in the face with a stick by the follow-through a shot in Utica Wednesday night and although he took the warmup tonight in Wilkes-Barre, he sat out as a healthy scratch and Scott Gordon said Friday that he was fine and the team went back to the more traditional 12 forwards and six defensemen approach.

Michael Parks, out since 10/17 with an upper body injury, has skated the last two practices with the team per Gordon and is also getting closer to return.

Cole Bardreau is another injured guy close to returning to action. Earlier in the week Gordon ruled him out for this weekend's games but said it's possible he returns as soon as next week.

Scratches: Jason LaBarbera (injured), Christian Marti (injured), Cole Bardreau (injured), Kevin Sundher (injured), Michael Parks (injured), Chris Conner (injured - out six weeks), Matt Lashoff (healthy), Pavel Padakin (healthy), Jay Rosehill (healthy/veteran), Logan Pyett (out indefinitely)

Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics)

Taylor Leier - Tim Brent - Aaron Palushaj
Petr Straka - Nick Cousins - Colin McDonald
Tyrell Goulbourne - Kevin Goumas - Danick Martel
Evan Rankin - Joe Rekhamp - Brandon Alderson

Andrew MacDonald - Jesper Pettersson
Davis Drewiske - Robert Hagg
Sam Morin - Mark Alt

Anthony Stolarz - Martin Ouellette


1st Period

1:55: LV - (PP) Cousins, minor (cross-checking)
4:15: HER - (PP) Fyten, minor (tripping)
9:39: HER - (PP) Walker, minor (delay of game)
14;57: LV - Cousins (6) - Morin, McDonald
19:24: HER - (PP) bench minor, too many men (served by Stephenson)

2nd Period

3:17: HER - (PP) Camper, minor (delay of game)
8:12: LV - Brent, major (fighting)
8:12:HER - Lewington, major (fighting)
10:02: LV - (PP) Cousins, minor (holding)
10:39: HER - (PP) Carey, minor (slashing)
11:55: LV - (PP) Leier, minor (holding)
16:48: LV - (PP) Alderson, minor (slashing)

3rd Period

10:23: HER - Gazley (5) - Carey, Camper
15:11: LV - (PP) Morin, minor (hooking)
19:39: HER - Bourque (7) - Boyd, Stephenson


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