Phantoms Falter In Toronto to Finish Five-Game Road Trip

Friday, March 18, 2016
Phantoms finish road trip with frustrating overtime loss in Toronto. Photo: Nina Weiss/The Home News
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms (27-30-4-3) appeared again to be well on their way to a regulation win up 2-0 on the Toronto Marlies with under six minutes left in the third period. Instead, as has often happened during the team's five-game road trip, the Phantoms surrendered the lead before ultimately falling in overtime to the American Hockey League's top team.

The overtime loss extended the Phantoms' win-less skid to six games (0-4-2) and further pushes them towards elimination from the postseason. With 12 games left on their regular season schedule, the Phantoms now trail two teams fighting for the final playoff spot - the Portland Pirates and Hartford Wolf Pack - by seven points.

The Pirates will make up one of their three games in hand on Lehigh Valley Saturday night in Bridgeport. The Wolf Pack will only have one game in hand on the Phantoms after they take on Springfield tomorrow night.

Lehigh Valley now returns home for their first home game since March 4th when they host those same Portland Pirates Sunday evening at the PPL Center at 5:05 p.m. ET.

Quick recap of events after the jump.


A fast moving first period saw the Phantoms and Marlies enter the first intermission scoreless. The two teams played a pretty even period until Lehigh Valley took three penalties in the final 5:22 of play. What was once a 3-2 shots advantage for the Phantoms ended with a Marlies 10-3 edge, aided by those man advantages.

Anthony Stolarz needed to be sharp late in the period, coming up big on some hard shots from Kasperi Kapanen and some nifty moves by Brendan Leipsic to send the Phantoms into the middle frame in a scoreless tie.

Lehigh Valley played much better in the second period, taking a 1-0 lead on a power play of their own 4:44 into the middle frame. After the Marlies had cleared a puck out of their own defensive zone, Adam Comrie sent a stretch pass to Tim Brent at the Phantoms' offensive zone blue line attempting to catch Toronto amidst a line change.

Brent nudged one to the middle to a speedy Chris Conner and although Conner's shot was stopped by Alex Stalock, Brent was in position to lift the rebound over the down and out Stalock for his 6th of the season - his first goal in his third game back from injury.

From there, Stolarz continued to stand on his head - sending the Phantoms to the third period with a 1-0 lead stopping all 20 shots that came his way through 40 minutes.

Petr Straka took a breakaway stretch pass from Dravis Drewiske and made it a 2-0 Phantoms lead with 5:53 left in regulation on a beautiful backhander for his 19th of the season. After weathering the Marlies' storm through most of the third period, it looked as though Lehigh Valley would finally catch a break.

Not so fast.

Directly after Straka's goal, Comrie was whistled for a penalty and the Marlies made it a one-goal game when Sam Carrick tallied a power play goal to end Stolarz's shutout bid after 32 straight saves. After a Mark Alt infraction expired, Brendan Leipsic scored seconds later to tie the game at 2-2 with 2:36 left in regulation to force overtime.

The Phantoms dominated the opening two minutes of the three-on-three session, but were unable to net the game winning goal. Taylor Leier and Chris Conner were denied on the opening shift and that was followed up by a pair of chances from Tim Brent and Petr Straka on the following shift. Instead, a turnover in the defensive zone ended up on Colin Smith's stick atop the right-wing face-off circle and the newly acquired Marlies forward buried it to the top shelf to complete Toronto's comeback.


Anthony Stolarz (34 saves - 37 shots) got the start in net tonight for Lehigh Valley. Jason LaBarbera served as the team's backup for the second time this week.

Colin McDonald took the morning skate, but did not play and is considered day-to-day with a upper body injury.

With McDonald out of the lineup, Jay Rosehill returned to the lineup to face his former team.

Max Lamarche (upper body since 3/12) was also a full participant in today's morning skate in Toronto, which is an encouraging sign that he's nearing a return to the lineup. Lamarche remained out tonight.

Scratches: Colin McDonald (undisclosed), Michael Parks (upper body - out for season), Max Lamarche (upper body since 3/12), Joe Rehkamp (healthy) and Logan Pyett (out indefinitely)

Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics):

Taylor Leier - Cole Bardreau - Chris Conner
Petr Straka - Tim Brent - Aaron Palushaj
Tyrell Goulbourne - Phil DeSimone - Danick Martel
Jay Rosehill - Steven Swavely - Dalton Smith
Sam Morin - Mark Alt
Davis Drewiske - Christian Marti
Adam Comrie - Robert Hagg

Anthony Stolarz - Jason LaBarbera


1st Period

5:41: TOR - (PP) bench minor, too many men (served by Martin)
14:38: LV - (PP) Hagg, minor (holding)
17:45: LV - (PP) bench minor, too many men (served by Conner)
19:51: LV - (PP) bench minor, too many men (served by Palushaj)

2nd Period

4:06: TOR - (PP) Doherty, minor (tripping)
4:44: LV - PPG Brent (6) - Conner, Comrie
9:58: LV - Smith, major (fighting)
9:58: TOR - Doherty, major (fighting)
16:33: TOR - (PP) Percy, minor (interference)
16;55: TOR - (PP) Frattin, minor (hooking)
19:10: LV - (PP) DeSimone, minor (tripping)

3rd Period

9:30: TOR - (PP) Arcobello, minor (slashing)
11:03: LV - (PP) DeSimone, minor (slashing)
14:07: LV - Straka (19) - Drewiske, Palushaj
14:23: LV - (PP) Comrie, minor (cross-checking)
14:31: TOR - PPG Carrick (12) - Arcobello, Leipsic
15:22: LV - (PP) Alt, minor (hooking)
17:24: TOR - Leipsic (18) - Brennan, Lindberg


2:32: TOR - Smith (18) - Brennan, Lindberg


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