Phantoms Earn One Point In Goaltender's Duel

Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Phantoms & BSens played quite an entertaining Tuesday night game.
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms (15-16-1-1) did everything but score tonight in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Binghamton Senators.

They dominated the first period, racking up 17 shots and taking a 1-0 lead on another Andrew MacDonald power play goal. MacDonald now has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in his last 10 games.

From there, it was a goaltender's duel between Anthony Stolarz (39 saves - 40 shots) and Matt O'Connor (26 saves - 27 shots) until the BSens' goalie left the game with a lower body injury after making four or five highlight reel saves during a Phantoms' 5-on-3 power play. 

Chris Driedger came on in relief and stopped all 12 shots he faced and all three attempts in the shootout to steal two points for Binghamton.Matt Puempel tied the game at 1-1 just 1:08 into the third period and tallied the lone shootout goal.

The Phantoms still earn a point in the standings and are 1-0-0-1 on their current five-game road trip, which continues on Thursday night in Hershey with a special 5:00 p.m. ET face-off on New Year's Eve before a weekend trip to Maine to take on the Portland Pirates on Saturday and Sunday.

Would you like to see the coverage of the team while they're on the road continue? Please lend a helping hand to keep me providing live coverage of the team while they're on the road this season by making a secure donation to my GoFundMe page.


Scott Gordon on the 1st period being one of better periods this season:
Yeah it was. You can't really find too many faults with the first period. We established the momentum, took the lead.
Gordon on not being able to buy a 2nd goal
We had the five-on-three and had some great chances and then followed it up some chances on the five-on-four. Overall, the power play did a great job tonight. It was one of those nights where we certainly put ourselves in a position to get opportunities on our power play.
Taylor Leier on the 1st period:
I thought we played good the whole game. I don't know, it's just the last two times we played in this rink we haven't been able to score too many goals. O'Connor, until he got hurt, was on fire so give that guy credit.
I just think everyone had an aggressive attitude. We were shooting the puck. If we do that every period and every game, we are going to wear teams down and win most games. I give them credit too though. The goalie who came in for O'Connor played well too.
Leier on the 5-on-3 in the 2nd period:
Their goaltender was their best penalty killer, he made some unbelievable saves. [Cousins] wanted to throw his stick in the crowd.
Leier on staying positive despite frustrating end result:
The key to a long season is try to stay as even keel as you can. Don't get too high, too low. Games are so close together, we have to reset our minds in about an hour and focus on just hanging and getting our bodies ready for Hershey.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms put forth arguably their best period of the season in the first frame tonight against the Binghamton Senators. From the opening face-off they controlled the play and possessed the puck in the offensive zone both early and often.

After the two teams played to a scoreless first half of a period, the Phantoms got the game's first power play after a hooking minor to Eric O'Dell. Much like Sunday in Wilkes-Barre, they made their first man advantage count.

Petr Straka got a puck to Nick Cousins, who fed Andrew MacDonald at the center point. MacDonald's blast re-directed off a BSens' penalty killer on its way past Matt O'Connor to give Lehigh Valley the 1-0 lead with 9:21 left in the opening frame.

The Phantoms continued to dominate the first period, racking up 17 shots and generating chances on almost every shift. The second line of Taylor Leier, Nick Cousins and Aaron Palushaj seemed to nearly score a goal two or three times late in the period, but credit O'Connor and his 16-first period saves to keep Binghamton within a goal heading into the first intermission.

The middle frame was much more even in terms of both teams generating some pressure and scoring chances. Binghamton was stronger in the first half of the period, opening up a 7-2 shots advantage early on and forcing Anthony Stolarz into making several tough saves to keep his team ahead 1-0.

Later in the period, the Phantoms got back to their dominating play from the first frame - drawing back-to-back power plays and getting a 5-on-3 man advantage and poised to add to their lead. Instead, a series of unreal saves by O'Connor helped the BSens kill off both penalties and remain behind by only one goal.

At the tail end of O'Connor's series of highlight reel stops, he pulled himself from the game - favoring a lower body injury. Backup Chris Driedger came on in relief with 2:59 left to play in the period and the two teams headed to the third period with a 1-0 score favoring the Phantoms.

The BSens came out with the early jump in the third period and evened the score just 1:08 in after Matt Puempel re-directed Mike Kostka's point shot through traffic. It was Puempel's 10th of the season.

From there, the two teams exchanged series of pressure with the Phantoms having to kill off two power plays late in the third to get the 1-1 game into overtime.

It appeared that Binghamton had won it during the 3-on-3 extra session with 50.2 left, but a BSens forward hopped over the boards thinking his teammate was heading for a change and the guy spun back into play to set up the goal that didn't count.

The BSens were whistled for too many men, but the Phantoms couldn't capitalize on the power play before falling short in the shootout.


Anthony Stolarz (39 saves - 40 shots) got the start in net tonight for the Phantoms, with Jason LaBarbera coming off a 35-save shutout on Sunday.

Defenseman Matt Lashoff returned to the lineup tonight after missing the last four games due to injury. 

Forward Danick Martel also got back in the Phantoms lineup tonight after missing the last three games with an injury.

Scott Gordon confirmed forward Evan Rankin re-signed another PTO contract Sunday, and also confirmed tonight that he is indeed injury. No further update on that.

Scratches: Christian Marti (upper body since 11/20), Evan Rankin (undisclosed since 12/19), Kevin Sundher (lower body since 11/27) Michael Parks (upper body since 10/17), Brandon Alderson (illness), Maxim Lamarche (since 12/19), Chris Conner (upper body since 11/28), Jay Rosehill (healthy) and Logan Pyett (out indefinitely)

Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics)

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

Andrew MacDonald - Davis Drewiske (A)
Sam Morin - Mark Alt
Matt Lashoff - Robert Hagg
Jesper Pettersson

Anthony Stolarz - Jason LaBarbera


1st Period

9:58: BNG - (PP) O'Dell, minor (hooking)
10:39: LV - PPG MacDonald (5) - Cousins, Straka

2nd Period

7:50: LV - (PP) Cousins, minor (holding)
14:14: BNG - (PP) Schneider, minor (hooking)
15:47: BNG - (PP) Mullen, minor (slashing)

3rd Period

1:08: BNG - Puempel (10) - Kostka
3:41: BNG - (PP) Hobbs, minor (tripping)
7:02: LV - (PP) Goulbourne, minor (tripping)
16:02: LV - (PP) Morin, minor (boarding)


4:09: BNG - (PP) bench minor, too many men (served by Flanagan)



Leier - no goal
Straka - no goal
Cousins - no goal


Schneider - no goal
Lindberg - no goal
Puempel - GOAL


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