Puck-Luck Dooms Phantoms in Shutout Loss to Penguins

Friday, December 11, 2015
Penguins get the better of Lehigh Valley tonight at the PPL Center.
More times than not in a 4-0 game, the team with four goals played a much better overall game than the team who was shutout. You can argue that wasn't the case tonight as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms drew seven power plays, hit five posts and missed a few empty net chances that could have changed the complexion of the game.

The Phantoms simply didn't finish their chances.

The Penguins, meanwhile, went two-for-five with the man advantage and their opening goal of the contest was scored two seconds after a Phantoms' penalty had expired. Dominik Simon and Scott Wilson tallied two goals each for the Pens in the win. Matt Murray stopped all 23 shots he faced to pick up his fourth shutout of the season and that was that.

Luckily for the Phantoms, they're right back at it tomorrow night at home against the Springfield Falcons. There isn't too much time to think about this one for Lehigh Valley.

Thoughts from Taylor Leier, Mark Alt and Scott Gordon after the jump.


Scott Gordon on the 0-for-7 power play not as bad as the stat looks:
The power play, we spent almost the entire time in the offensive zone. We did a great job of battling, but we just didn't score. Hit a couple posts. Usually when you have that much offensive zone time on the power play, I thought our guys did a good job of keeping possession but ultimately we couldn't get one past their goaltender. When that type of stuff happens it's probably not your night.
Gordon on how the game wasn't as bad as the final score reads:
It wasn't a 4-0 game, we clearly spent a lot of time in the offensive zone tonight. I think an indicator of that is the amount of penalties we drew tonight. I liked the pace that we played at. We didn't spend a lot of time in the defensive zone. The result isn't wanted, but the work ethic was there Wednesday and tonight and another indicator is the fact that we gave up 20 shots. When you can do that in back-to-back games against two good team, you're doing something right. The end result doesn't look that way, but for me it's a sign of our team heading in the right direction.
Taylor Leier on tonight's loss:
I don't know if it was us just not bearing down on our chances or puck-luck. Obviously it wasn't going in for us tonight - I think we had five posts as a team and missed a couple of empty nets and I thought we out-played them. Tip the hat to them, they capitalized on their chances but at the same time I think we deserved a better fate tonight.
Leier on how many penalties he drew tonight:
I think it was four tonight. That's part of my game and one of my strengths - moving my feet and making defenders defend me. I thought I had my legs tonight and wasn't really getting tired so every time I had the puck I was trying to make something happen. It was too bad we couldn't score one on the power play.
Mark Alt on tonight's loss:
It just didn't go our way tonight. Sometimes that happens. 
Alt on what went wrong:
We had a lot of chances on the power play. I don't think it was anything glaring to me (that we did wrong). We got opportunities but we just didn't capitalize as well as we normally do. 

An early penalty put the Phantoms on the penalty kill and although Lehigh Valley killed it off, the Penguins kept possession of the puck in the offensive zone and took the 1-0 lead two seconds after the penalty expired.

Kevin Porter got a puck to the point for Tim Erixon and Erixon's shot was deflected in the high-slot by Dominik Simon - changing directions and catching Anthony Stolarz heading in the wrong direction. The puck appeared to be deflected in by a high-stick but there was no review and the goal stood 2:49 into the contest.

The Phantoms had their fair share of opportunities in the 1st period, namely back-to-back power plays in the first half of the period that they were unable to cash in on. The second of the two Phantoms power plays were cut short due to a goaltender interference minor, and the Penguins made it 2-0 with a power play goal of their own.

Derrick Pouliot fed Conor Sheary between the face-off circles and Sheary slid it across to the top of the right-wing face-off circle to a wide open Scott Wilson. Wilson buried a one-timer past Stolarz high to the glove save on a perfectly placed shot with 5:01 left in the opening period to extend the Pens' lead to two goals.

In the second period, the Phantoms had three more power plays go by the wayside and despite out-shooting the Penguins 12-6 in the middle frame found themselves on the wrong end of another goal.

Will O'Neill pinched in in the offensive zone and got the puck in front to Carter Rowney, whose shot was stopped by Stolarz. Rowney got the rebound and slid it across to Simon for his second of the night and second straight multi-goal game.

The bad bounces continued in the third for the Phantoms, who hit several posts. The Penguins capitalized on a power play to cap the scoring at 4-0 on a nice passing display that saw Sheary to Tom Kostopoulos to Wilson for a one-touch shot into the net in basically the blink of an eye.

Tonight marked the first time all season Anthony Stolarz surrendered more than three goals, but it's tough to pin the loss solely on him if at all.


Anthony Stolarz (16 saves - 20 shots) got the start in net for the Phantoms tonight - his fifth straight start. Jason LaBarbera served as the team's backup goaltender for the second time this week.

Cole Bardreau returned to the Phantoms lineup after missing the last 13 games due to injury.

Tim Brent returned to the lineup after missing Wednesday's game against Hershey. Unfortunately he left the game in the second period holding his left arm. Brent didn't return and Scott Gordon offered no update on his status moving forward.

With Bardreau and Brent back in, Brandon Alderson and Joe Rehkamp were bumped out as healthy scratches.

Jesper Pettersson (lower body) missed his second straight game with an injury suffered in the 1st period last Saturday in Hershey.

Scratches: Martin Ouellette (healthy), Christian Marti (upper body), Jesper Pettersson (lower body), Kevin Sundher (lower body), Michael Parks (upper body), Brandon Alderson (healthy), Chris Conner (undisclosed), Logan Pyett (out indefinitely) and Joe Rehkamp (healthy).


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

Matt Lashoff - Robert Hagg
Sam Morin - Mark Alt
Davis Drewiske (A) - Maxim Lamarche

Anthony Stolarz - Jason LaBarbera


1st Period

0:47: LV - (PP) Leier, minor (high-sticking)
2:49: WBS - Simon (10) - Erixon, Porter
7:13: WBS - (PP) Dea, minor (tripping)
12:40: WBS - (PP) Oleksy, minor (interference)
14:27: LV - (PP) Palushaj, minor (goaltender interference)
14:59: WBS - PPG Wilson (12) - Sheary, Pouliot

2nd Period

0:30: WBS - (PP) Mouillierat, minor (tripping)
7:21: WBS - (PP) Simon, minor (hooking)
8:15: LV - (PP) Lashoff, minor (delay of game - closing hand on puck)
12:22: WBS - (PP) Oleksy, minor (high-sticking)
16:32: WBS - Simon (11) - O'Neill, Rowney

3rd Period

5:03: WBS - (PP) Oleksy, minor (kneeing)
11:12: WBS - (PP) bench minor, too many men (served by Kostopoulos)
11;58: LV - (PP) Lashoff, minor (tripping)
13:28: LV - (PP) Alt, minor (tripping)
14:26: WBS - PPG Wilson (13) - Kostopoulos, Sheary
15:46: WBS - Pouliot, minor (roughing)
15:46: LV - Straka, minor (roughing)


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