Phantoms Unable to 'Force' Overtime in Star Wars Night Loss to Binghamton

Sunday, January 10, 2016
Petr Straka sets up in the slot during Sunday's game against Binghamton.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..

Episode V: Binghamton - The Phantoms' Menace

It is a time of civil war. The Binghamton Senators came into this part of the galaxy looking to continue their recent success against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, having a 3-1-0 record against Lehigh Valley entering tonight's game. 

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms put forth a formidable effort for the third straight night, again out-playing their opponent while 5-on-5. Just as in their two previous games this weekend, the Phantoms weren't able to finish some of their Grade A scoring chances.

With puck-luck not on their side, the Phantoms came up on the short end of a 2-1 score to the Binghamton Senators Sunday evening on Star Wars Night at PPL Center in front of a sellout crowd of 8,440 fans. On the season, the BSens are 4-1 against the Phantoms in five meetings.

Andrew MacDonald returned to the Phantoms' lineup and the first power play of the night generated several quality chances. The man-advantage unit had good puck possession and movement, but couldn't find the back of the net.

Anthony Stolarz rebounded from Friday night's game against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. After being pulled Friday night surrendering four goals on 11 shots in 15:54 of work, the Phantoms' All-Star looked more like his normal self - stopping all but two of the 20 shots Binghamton sent his way.

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Scott Gordon on out-playing opponent but coming up short again:
I don't think there's any doubt that 5-on-5 we weren't in our zone. I'd be hard pressed to go back and watch the game and find any breakdown. We came out of the zone with great breakouts and defended well. That's obviously a positive sign for us.
Gordon on Stolarz rebounding from Friday's game:
It was good to see. The only time the game was a little uncertain was on their power play. It wasn't bad penalty killing, they were just able to keep pucks in. Stolie made some big saves to keep us in the game at that point.
Gordon on Nick Paul's puck luck again:
The way that goal went isn't usually how we defend a three-on-two. Puck goes board-to-board, hits a skate and goes back to the guy and he throws it toward the net. Those are the types of breaks we aren't getting. Even though we are playing well, it's a battle to get a goal right now.
Anthony Stolarz on rebounding from Friday's game:
I took the Wilkes-Barre game out of my mind and just go out there and play and get things going again. I watched some clips and went over the game. I didn't think it was anything bad. As a goalie you have to come up with a big save or two but I think puck luck has a lot to do with it too. It's just the way it goes sometimes.
Stolarz on Binghamton's 2nd goal:
It was a bouncing puck. It goes off his stick, off the shaft and kind of goes over my glove. It's just the way it goes sometimes, you can't get too frustrated.  
Nick Cousins on his goal that tied the game in 3rd:
Gagner made a nice play on the wall and caught me with speed. I made a move around the defender and used the other D as a screen. Goalie was pretty hot all night so it was fortunate enough to go in. Big goal for us, but they came right back and scored I think the next shift. The goal doesn't really mean anything now.
Cousins on his line getting chances, Gagner's attitude:
I think [Gagner and I] had seven shots each on net. We created a lot off the rush and moved our feet. When we play like that we're going to be hard to play against. Obviously Gagner has come down here and had a good attitude so far and he's been fun to play with. Leier and I have had chemistry since the start of training camp so I thought our line played pretty well tonight.
Cousins on how frustrating it is to out-play the opponent and still come up short:
Yeah, definitely. It seems like Binghamton has had our number this year. We cant seem to win in their barn and they play a pretty stingy defensive game when they come here. The power play has to be better. I think it was 0-for-5 tonight. That's unacceptable. We have to go back to the drawing board on the power play and figure it out from there.

The Phantoms had the early jump on Binghamton after the opening face-off, drawing a power play 4:09 into play and firing away with their 1st man advantage - possessing the puck for basically the full two minutes and generating four or five solid chances.

After killing the penalty, Binghamton took a 1-0 lead just 13 seconds later. Ryan Dzingel and Eric O'Dell came into the Phantoms' defensive zone and Dzingel got the puck over to O'Dell who did the rest, cutting to the net and putting one top shelf on Anthony Stolarz 6:22 into the 1st period.

From there, the Phantoms continued to dominate play but were unable to get one past BSens' goaltender Scott Greenham despite out shooting Binghamton 12-4 in the first period.

The second period was much of the same for Lehigh Valley, who at one point held a 19-6 advantage in shots. The Phantoms were able to generate offense, but weren't able to put one past Greenham.

They were close a few times - particularly during a 4-on-3 power play with under five minutes left in the middle frame. Petr Straka hit a post, but the Phantoms headed to the final frame trailing Binghamton 1-0.

In the final frame, it appeared the Phantoms were finally able to break through and light the lamp. Nick Cousins took a pass from Sam Gagner in stride and made a nice move around a defender in the neutral zone before using the other BSens' defenseman as a screen for a laser of a wrist shot from the high slot that went high-blocker on Greenham, tying the game at 1-1 just 5:28 into the third period.

Unfortunately for the Phantoms, they were burned by some bad puck luck with Nick Paul being the benefactor of a lucky bounce again against Lehigh Valley. Only 1:37 after Cousins tied things up, Paul was able to get the shaft of his stick on a bouncing puck from Oscar Lindberg that was just enough to get it past Stolarz to give Binghamton a 2-1 lead they wouldn't look back on.

The Phantoms had their fair share of chances throughout the game but weren't able to finish. They finished the game 0-for-5 on the power play after their first man advantage in the opening period showed promise.


Anthony Stolarz (18 saves - 20 shots) got the start in net tonight for the Phantoms, with Jason LaBarbera backing up after playing last night in Albany.

Andrew MacDonald returned to the lineup after missing the last three games with an undisclosed injury. With MacDonald's return, Robert Hagg took the warmup skate but was a healthy scratch.

Chris Conner did not play tonight for Lehigh Valley, but after just returning from a five-week absence it's not overly surprising he was given the day off. MacDonald's return also meant that a third veteran player had to be scratched.

Cole Bardreau slotted back into the lineup after sitting out Saturday night in Albany.

Scratches: Robert Hagg (healthy), Evan Rankin (healthy), Kevin Sundher (lower body), Michael Parks (upper body), Chris Conner (healthy/veteran), Matt Lashoff (healthy/veteran), Jay Rosehill (healthy/veteran) and Logan Pyett (out indefinitely)

Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics)
Petr Straka - Tim Brent - Colin McDonald (C)
Taylor Leier - Nick Cousins - Sam Gagner
Danick Martel - Sam Gagner - Aaron Palushaj
Tyrell Goulbourne - Cole Bardreau - Joe Rehkamp

Andrew MacDonald (A) - Jesper Pettersson
Sam Morin - Mark Alt
Davis Drewiske (A) - Max Lamarche

Anthony Stolarz - Jason LaBarbera


1st Period

4:09: BNG - (PP) Dziurzynski, minor (roughing)
6:22: BNG - O'Dell (13) - Dzingel
7:46: BNG - (PP) Fraser, minor (roughing)
11:20: LV - (PP) Goulbourne, minor (holding)
19:48: LV - (PP) Bardreau, minor (elbowing)

2nd Period

5:24: LV - (PP) Cousins, minor (high-sticking)
8:36: BNG - (PP) Lepine, minor (roughing)
11:10: LV - Bardreau, major (fighting)
11:10: BNG - Dzingel, major (fighting)
13:27: LV - MacDonald, minor (unsportsmanlike)
13:27: BNG - Schneider, minor (unsportsmanlike)
14:23: BNG - (PP) Flanagan, minor (goaltender interference)
17:40: LV - (PP) Morin, minor (delay of game)

3rd Period

5:28: LV - Cousins (9) - Gagner, Drewiske
7:05: BNG - Paul (3) - Lindberg, Schneider
12:46: BNG - (PP) Mullen, minor (delay of game)


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