Four is More - Phantoms Come From Behind Against Penguins

Friday, January 29, 2016
Lehigh Valley makes it four in a row with a come from behind win against the Penguins. Photo: Nina Weiss/The Home News
Through 40 minutes of play, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms were out-worked and out-competed by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Luckily for the Phantoms, they were only down by a score of 2-0 entering the third period.

It was only then, with a little more than 14 minutes left in regulation that the Phantoms got on their horse and worked their way back into the game. Three straight goals, by Davis Drewiske, Cole Bardreau and Chris Conner, actually gave the Phantoms a brief lead before the Penguins tied it at 3-3 and sent the game to overtime.

At that point, the fact that the Phantoms had managed to get a point out of the game was impressive enough. What Bardreau did in the extra session to give the Phantoms their fourth straight win was something spectacular.

After Conner had broken his stick in the defensive zone during the 3-on-3 overtime and the Phantoms were hemmed in their own zone for over a minute, Bardreau was able to break up the play and send Nick Cousins on the attack. Cousins' shot was stopped by Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry, but after a long shift Bardreau headed not to the bench but instead drove to the net - finding a fluttering rebound and knocking it out of mid-air past Jarry to lift the Phantoms to a come-from-behind overtime win,

The goal was Bardreau's fifth of the week in three games played. With six points (5G-1A) in three games this week, Bardreau is pushing teammate and linemate Colin McDonald (4G-4A) for the AHL's Player of the Week Award.

These two teams complete the home and home series Saturday night in Wilkes-Barre before the league goes on a two-day break for the 2016 AHL All-Star Classic.


Scott Gordon's thoughts:
I certainly didn't see that coming, but at the end of the day we played 20 minutes out of that game and were very fortunate to come out with the win and obviously we are thrilled about it. We just have to make sure we carry over from the third period into tomorrow night's game.
Gordon on what went wrong in the first 40 minutes:
We just weren't competing. It wasn't anything complicated. Face-offs were the best indicator - we were winning face-offs and not getting to the loose pucks. We were not getting any pressure on them and letting them walk out of the zone. The lack of physical play, the complete, the battling - it just wasn't there for us for two periods.
Gordon on the game-winning goal, defensive play that set it all up:
All three of those guys did an unbelievable job. I've never seen a broken stick in the 3 on 3 and I don't think they could have played it any better. You want the guy without the stick to be out top and the two guys with the stick to be down low. You could hear them from the bench communicating and making sure that that happened and making the appropriate switches. As nice as the goal was it took a lot of heads up play in the defensive zone by those three guys
Cole Bardreau on his game winning goal, five goals this week:
Getting lucky... I was honestly hoping Cousins buried the first one so I wouldn't have to worry about it but, no I've been trying change my game. Instead of being a perimeter player just getting to the net and collecting the garbage. A few weeks ago I probably would have steered off and gone to the bench but just go there and luckily enough for me it went in.
Bardreau on the long shift in OT with Conner's broken stick:
We showed good push back. We didn't hit the panic button and I don't think we gave them too many quality opportunities during that sequence. 
Chris Conner on finally getting some bounces to go their way:
I think there was games where we played well and didn't get the wins. Tonight I don't think we played very well for two periods and were able to come out in third and play well and get some bounces to get the extra points.
Conner on the four-game win streak:
Obviously it's huge. I think we've been battling hard but at the same time I think we have to keep focus on the next game and come out and keep getting points every game. I think we've learned a lot over the course [of the season] up until this point. We have one game left [before the All-Star break]. I think it gives the guys confidence going down the stretch where we're going to need win games to make the playoffs. We want to keep this going as long as we can.

The Phantoms and Penguins played a pretty even first 10 minutes in the opening period, but from there back-to-back penalties on Lehigh Valley gave the Penguins momentum and a 1-0 lead.

Jason LaBarbera stopped a point shot from Will O'Neill, but Tom Kostopoulos was able to hack and whack the puck past him with 5:21 left in the 1st period to give put the Penguins ahead.

From there, the Penguins kept on the offensive and went into the first intermission ahead 1-0 on the scoreboard and 14-6 in shots.

Things opened up in the middle frame, as teams at one point exchanged odd-man chances in thrill a minute hockey. There was a questionable line change shortly after the non stop action by the Penguins that allowed them to temporarily skate with six skaters on the ice, and while it didn't give them an instant advantage Josh Archibald took a breakaway pass from Tom Sestito and beat LaBarbera to make it 2-0 Penguins on the resulting shift.

Reid McNeill picked up a secondary assist on Archibald's eighth of the season, and he was the guy who jumped onto the ice early before defenseman Tim Erixon was able to get off. Erixon actually fell in the neutral zone on his way to the bench and it was McNeill who turned a quick transition up to Sestito to start the play.

The Penguins began to get into penalty trouble late in the middle frame, and the Phantoms had 1:47 of two-man advantage time to make it a one goal game in the final three minutes of the period. They managed just one shot and had several other attempts blocked down by the Pens' defense and headed to the second intermission trailing 2-0.

Lehigh Valley turned things up a notch in the final frame, much like you would expect a team trailing 2-0 to do. They turned a two-goal deficit into a tied game after two goals 4:55 apart by Davis Drewiske and Cole Bardreau.

First, Drewiske took a pass from Max Lamarche just atop the right-wing face-off circle and fired a shot that bounced in past Jarry after deflecting off a Penguins defender in front. It was Drewiske's third goal in his last eight games and it gave the Phantoms some life with 14:05 left in regulation.

Then, Bardreau tied things up at 2-2 after finding a loose puck atop Jarry's crease after Conner made a nice move in the corner to shake off a defender and get the puck out in front for Bardreau to send home.

After a Kostopoulos slashing minor gave the Phantoms their 5th power play of the night, Conner was able to bank one in off Jarry from a bad angle to give Lehigh Valley three unanswered goals and a 3-2 lead.

The lead was short lived as the Penguins tied things up on the next shift. O'Neill kept a Phantoms clearing attempt in the offensive zone and fired a shot on net that Kael Mouillierat cleaned up with 3:18 left in regulation to force overtime.

In the extra session, the Phantoms appeared to be in trouble as Conner broke his stick in the defensive zone and Lehigh Valley was hemmed into their own zone for quite some time. Luckily for Lehigh Valley, they didn't panic. Bardreau was able to break up the Penguins attack and skate it out of the zone and hit a fresh-off-the-bench Nick Cousins with a pass that sent Cousins in 1-on-1 the other way.

Cousins' shot handcuffed Jarry and floated into the air, where Bardreau skated to the crease and batted out of mid-air past the Penguins goaltender to complete the 4-3 overtime win.


Jason LaBarbera (27 saves - 30 shots) got the start in net tonight for the Phantoms. Anthony Stolarz served as the team's backup goaltender.

Robert Hagg was removed from the lineup and sat out as a healthy scratch. Christian Marti took his place in the lineup and the Phantoms went with 11 forwards and seven defensemen again.

There were no other lineup changes for the Phantoms besides in net and on the back end. Aaron Palushaj missed his second straight game still feeling effects of the questionable slew-foot hit he took in Monday night's game.

Scratches: Robert Hagg (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)

Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics)

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

Andrew MacDonald - Max Lamarche
Sam Morin - Mark Alt
Davis Drewiske - Adam Comrie
Christian Marti

Jason LaBarbera - Anthony Stolarz


1st Period

11:49: LV - (PP) Marti, minor (tripping)
13:38: LV - (PP) Morin, minor (boarding)
13:38: LV - Morin, major (fighting)
13:38: WBS - Sestito, major (fighting)
14:39: WBS - PPG Kostopoulos (12) - O'Neill, Mouillierat

2nd Period

2:37: WBS - (PP) Erixon, minor (slashing)
8:34: WBS - Archibald (8) - Sestito, McNeill
11:05: WBS - (PP) Oleksy, minor (delay of game)
16:51: WBS - (PP) Oleksy, minor (boarding)
17:04: WBS - (PP) Seymour, minor (delay of game)
19:12: LV - (PP) Cousins, minor (high-sticking)

3rd Period

5:55: LV - Drewiske (3) - Lamarche, McDonald
10:50: LV - Bardreau (6) - Conner, Martel
14:55: WBS - (PP) Kostopoulos, minor (slashing)
16:16: LV - PPG Conner (9) - Leier, MacDonald
16:42: WBS - Mouillierat (8) - Sheary, O'Neill


4:16: LV - Bardreau (7) - Cousins


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