Phantoms Come Up Short in Binghamton

Saturday, December 19, 2015
Phantoms played their last game before the break in Binghamton tonight.
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms left it all out on the ice in third period, trailing 1-0. They were able to tie things up with 6:37 remaining in regulation on a great effort by Taylor Leier, but it wasn't meant to be tonight for the Phantoms.

With less than two and a half minutes to play, after the Phantoms had controlled a majority of the third period, a puck at the near boards took a weird bounce off a body and bounced right to Nick Paul who was away from the play in the slot. Paul made no mistake, burying one into basically an empty net for his first pro goal and the BSens prevailed with the 2-1 win.

Jason LaBarbera deserved a better result tonight, stopping 30 of the 32 shots he faced tonight - making several big time stops to keep his team in it and only trailing 1-0. It was the epitome of the way LaBarbera's season has gone so far, just not getting the end results despite doing a lot of things right.

Post-game reaction from head coach Scott Gordon, captain Colin McDonald and Taylor Leier.


Scott Gordon on the tying goal in the third period.
It was nice to get it, but at the end of the day it doesn't mean anything.
Gordon on the low-scoring game:
I was real happy with the first and third period. That's the way we want to play. In the 2nd, we got into a turnover problem. It wasn't so much that they scored on their chances as much as it was that we couldn't play offense.
Gordon on LaBarbera:
He's had a rough start the first half of the year with his injury. It's good for him to be able get two games in here and go into the break knowing that he gets some time to rest some more and build off of the two performances he had.
Colin McDonald on sticking with it to the end:
Yeah, I just think it's still not good enough. We just had such a good opportunity to get above .500 and just that inconsistency we've had kind of throughout this point in the year. I thought the third was good, but still disappointing. We just have to find a way to string together some wins here.
McDonald on the tying goal:
We had a couple good cycle shifts throughout the game. In those situations, I just try to get to the net. Like you said, those guys are good with the puck and pretty shifty. I just try to anticipate when the puck is going to the net and luckily the puck kind of bounced up off the goalie and I was able to get a stick on it.
Taylor Leier on the tying goal:
Me and [McDonald] stuck together the whole period, but we were kind of rotating centers. [Goumas] joined us for a few shifts and we had some good work down low. He kind of made a play to me in the slot and I just dragged it around a guy, weaved it through the defense and got a shot away. [Goumas] got a shot away and [McDonald] whacked it in. 
It was a good greasy goal. I kind of think we deserved one, but it too bad they got that bounce in the end to put it away.
Leier on still trying to get over the .500 mark:
I have confidence in our team that we'll be well over .500 by the end of the season. I think we are a really good hockey team. I think we just have to find a level of consistency where we can play like we did last night every night. We have had four or five chances to get over .500 now and we have kind of just barely, barely missed but I think we will get it after Christmas for sure.

The Phantoms and BSens played to a furious pace in the first five minutes, with both teams exchanging rushes in the opening shifts. After the Phantoms whiffed on their first power play, they found themselves shorthanded by two men for 1:28 after back-to-back eight minutes into the contest.

Jason LaBarbera came up with some big saves in the opening minute of the two-man penalty kill for the Phantoms, most notably a sliding save to get to his left after a pass from the point down low nearly beat him. LaBarbera recovered nicely and stopped all 12 shots he faced in the opening period to send the game into the second period scoreless.

The Phantoms came on late in the period, getting their second man advantage of the period with 3:57 left before the break and generating some chances.

BSens rookie goaltender Matt O'Connor came up big with thirty seconds left in the period after Kevin Goumas was left all alone in front. Goumas took a feed from Tyrell Goulbourne and had a mini breakaway, but was robbed by the lanky 6-foot-5 goaltender as Goumas couldn't lift a puck over the out-stretched BSens goalie.

The scoreless tie continued through the much of the middle frame, with both goaltenders making some solid saves to keep the scoreboard reading 0-0.

LaBarbera continued to be sharp and needed to be, as the Phantoms were out shot 11-4 in the 2nd period. After stopping Colin Greening on a play where the BSens forward got a puck sent to him all alone in front - similar to the play Goumas had in the 1st period at the same end of the rink - a neutral zone turnover picked up by Ryan Dzingel spelled trouble for the Phantoms.

Dzingel raced down the left wing, blew past the defense and drove to the net - roofing a puck over LaBarbera's shoulder for a goal scorers goal with 6:22 left in the 2nd period. Dzingel's 7th of the season gave the BSens the 1-0 lead, which they held onto heading to the third period.

The Phantoms got their game in the final frame, but it was too little too late for Lehigh Valley. They even tied the game at 1-1 on McDonald's tap in after a good series of moves by Leier to set the play up. It just wasn't meant to be and a bad bounce off the back of a leg sent a puck to the slot in the Phantoms' defensive zone for a gift-wrapped goal with 2:20 left to play that ended up being the difference.


Jason LaBarbera (30 saves - 32 shots) got the start in net tonight after backing up Anthony Stolarz on Friday night.

Defenseman Christian Marti (upper body) has been skating with the team at practice in a yellow non-contact jersey and is nearing a return.

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

Danick Martel (undisclosed) did not play tonight. Head coach Scott Gordon confirmed it was an injury.

Forward Tim Brent (undisclosed) missed his third straight game.

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), Danick Martel (undisclosed), Chris Conner (upper body), Matt Lashoff (undisclosed), Tim Brent (undisclosed) and Logan Pyett (out indefinitely).

Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics)

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

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

Jason LaBarbera - Anthony Stolarz


1st Period

4:52: BNG - (PP) Flanagan, minor (tripping)
8:01: LV - (PP) Drewiske, minor (high-sticking)
8:33: LV - (PP) MacDonald, minor (tripping)
16:03: BNG - (PP) Dzingel, minor (slashing)
2nd Period

0:04: LV - (PP) Leier, minor (high-sticking)
13:38: BNG - Dzingel (7) - O'Dell
16:29: BNG - (PP) Flanagan, minor (tripping)

3rd Period

13:23: LV - McDonald (1) - Goumas, Leier
17:40: BNG - Paul (1) - Lindberg, Fraser


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