Five is Fine - Phantoms Sweep Penguins, Extend Win Streak Heading to All-Star Break

Saturday, January 30, 2016
Phantoms head to the break on a roll.
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms swept the home and home series with the Atlantic Division leading Penguins by a 5-3 score Saturday night in Wilkes-Barre, stretching their season-high win streak to five games as teams head into the AHL All-Star break.

Colin McDonald is a sure-fire candidate for the CCM/AHL Player of the Week Award, as he added to his already ridiculous offensive totals with two goals tonight - giving him 10 points (six goals, four assists) in four games this week,

The Phantoms also got goals from Taylor Leier, Chris Conner and Pavel Padakin, the latter of which tallied his first career AHL goal that turned out to be both controversial and the game-winner.

"It felt really good, especially when the team wins the game and my goal is the game-winning goal," Padakin said of his first AHL goal, adding, "Great work by Tyrell [Goulbourne] in front of the net because he kind of put the goalie down and that’s why I scored. And Phil [DeSimone] - all the guys did a huge job. I’m really thankful and happy."

After not getting any bounces their way during the five-game losing skid that preceded the five victories, the Phantoms aren't feeling sorry about getting the two points tonight and heading into the break with confidence.

"Of course it’s a streak, especially after the hard start to the season," Padakin said after the game. "I think we just need to keep it up and work hard. That’s all it is. Play the way we did tonight and yesterday in the third period and we can beat any team in this league."

More reaction from the Phantoms' fifth straight win after the jump.


Scott Gordon on tonight's effort:
That was a solid effort. I really liked the way we played & competed tonight. It's been trending that way for awhile now, we just have to keep it going.
Gordon on his team's composure late in the second period:
A game like that, obviously they have a lot of frsutration. I think it's their 5th loss in six games. They have been winning so much, it's a little adversity. We've had our share of adversity this year and I think our guys been exposed to enough that they can keep their composure, and that's what we did.
Gordon on Colin McDonald's week (6G-4A):
He probably could have had a seventh if he wanted to go for that second empty net. He's really getting into his game, he seems to have a good mix with Cole and that's obviously important thing for us to have another line that can produce points.  They've been a huge line for us this week.
Gordon on the five-game win streak:
I think every team in our division has had a streak and we haven't had one. The key for us, we need to make sure we keep building on it. I don't know if we made any headway as far as moving up and getting closer to a playoff spot but I do know that our guys are finding a way to play with a little more consistency.
Taylor Leier on his 2nd period tip in goal that got Phantoms going:
I got excited. I kind of just put my hands up in the air. I know I tipped and I heard the post. For me to hear post and in was nice. I've had a lot of posts and outs this year, so it was nice to see that go in. 
Leier on the five-game winning streak heading into the break:
I think I told you a week or two ago we should have won those five that we lost in a row, so I think we had it coming and we deserve it. 

The Phantoms got off to a strong start in the opening period and had the better of play, but back to back penalties gave the Penguins momentum and eventually a 1-0 lead 9:05 into the contest.

Just four seconds after Andrew MacDonald was called for high-sticking, the Pens won a face-off and capitalized with a power play goal from their All-Star representative Will O'Neill. Kael Mouillierat won the draw to Conor Sheary, who left it at the point for O'Neill and he blasted it through a well-timed screen by Tom Kostopoulos to give the Penguins the lead.

Instead of waiting for the third period to climb back into the game like they did last night against the Penguins, the Phantoms got right to work in the middle frame - tallying three straight goals to jump ahead 3-1.

First, Taylor Leier re-directed MacDonald's point shot past Jarry just 34 seconds into the period on a carry-over power play from a Penguins penalty late in the first period.

Then, Colin McDonald gave the Phantoms the lead just two seconds after a Penguins penalty had expired - setting up shop atop Jarry's crease and knocking in a pass from behind the net by Chris Conner 5:04 into the middle frame. The goal was McDonald's fifth of the week and eighth of the season.

The Phantoms weren't done there, as Conner made a perfect toe-drag move past a sliding WBS defender before picking the top corner on Jarry to extend the Phantoms lead to 3-1 just 38 seconds after they took the lead.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton got to their game shortly after a fight broke out between Max Lamarche and Reid McNeill, getting a power play and scoring 37 seconds into it to cut the Phantoms' deficit to 3-2.

Things got out of hand after a questionable call that allowed the Phantoms fourth goal to count. Tyrell Goulbourne was pushed onto the Penguins' goaltender and Pavel Padakin fired a shot in. The red light went on, as it's the goal judge's job to turn the light on whenever a puck crosses the line regardless of the situation. The fact that referee Olivier Gouin waved emphatically that the Phantoms goal counted baffled many and caused the entire Penguins bench into a frenzy.

It was a crucial moment in the game. It extended the Phantoms lead to 4-2 with 2:12 left in the 2nd period. The Penguins went into frustration mode and all control was lost. A scrum between Mark Alt and Oskar Sundqvist away from the play. A blatant two-handed slash by Tom Kostpoulos on Davis Drewiske. Things got ugly.

Things cooled off in the final frame in terms of borderline wreckless and dangerous hits, but the Penguins made it interesting with 10:13 to play as Scott Wilson tallied his league-leading 22nd goal of the season to cut the Phantoms lead to 4-3.

Lehigh Valley was able to hold on and add an empty net goal with 47.9 seconds left to complete the 5-3 win as McDonald tallied his second of the night and sixth goal of the week.


Anthony Stolarz (24 saves - 27 shots) got the start in net tonight for the Phantoms, with Jason LaBarbera serving as backup after picking up the win over W-B/Scranton last night.

Robert Hagg returned to the lineup after sitting out as a healthy scratch last night. Christian Marti was the Phantoms' lone healthy scratch on defense.

Aaron Palushaj missed his third straight game and is day-to-day after a Liam O'Brien slew-foot Monday night in Hershey.

Scratches: Christian Marti (healthy), Kevin Sundher (lower body), Michael Parks (upper body), Petr Straka (lower body), Tim Brent (hand/wrist surgery), Jay Rosehill (undisclosed) and Logan Pyett (out indefinitely)


Taylor Leier - Nick Cousins - Chris Conner
Danick Martel - Cole Bardreau - Colin McDonald (C)
Tyrell Goulbourne - Philip DeSimone - Pavel Padakin
Kevin Goumas - Joe Rehkamp

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

Anthony Stolarz - Jason LaBarbera


1st Period

2:38: WBS - (PP) Sestito, minor (roughing)
6:53: LV - (PP) Goulbourne, minor (hooking)
9:01: LV - (PP) MacDonald, minor (high-sticking)
9:05: WBS - PPG O'Neill (6) - Sheary, Rowney
13:02: WBS - Archibald, minor (roughing)
13:02: WBS - (PP) Oleksy, minor (roughing)
13:02: LV - Lamarche, minor (roughing)
16:18: LV - (PP) Cousins, minor (cross-checking)
19:45: WBS - (PP) McCarron, minor ()

2nd Period

0:34: LV - PPG Leier (12) - MacDonald,
3:02: WBS - (PP) Sundqvist, minor (interference)
5:04: LV - McDonald (8) - Conner, MacDonald
5:42: LV - Conner (10) - Leier
8:44: WBS - (PP) bench minor, too many men (served by Loney)
10:29: LV - Lamarche, major (fighting)
10:29: WBS - McNeill, major (fighting)
10:29: LV - Bardreau, minor (roughing)
10:29: WBS - Kostopoulos, minor (roughing)
10:29: LV - (PP) Martel, minor (slashing)
11:06: WBS - PPG Wilson (21) - Mouillierat, Sheary
11:06: LV - (PP) Rehkamp, minor (hooking)
17:48: LV - Padakin (1) - MacDonald, DeSimone
18:56: LV - (PP) Alt, double-minor (roughing)
18:56: LV - Morin, minor (roughing)
18:56: WBS - Sundqvist, minor (roughing)
18:56: WBS - O'Neill, minor (roughing)
19:43: WBS - (PP) Kostopoulos, minor (slashing)
19:43: WBS - (PP) Kostopoulos, minor (unsportsmanlike)

3rd Period

6:23: LV - (PP) Rehkamp, minor (interference)
9:47: WBS - Wilson (22) - Sheary, O'Neill
19:12: LV - ENG McDonald (9) - unassisted
19:59: WBS - (PP) Kostopoulos, minor (high-sticking)
20:00: LV - Martel, minor (roughing)
20:00: WBS - Sestito, minor (roughing)


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