Phantoms Fighting For Their Playoff Lives Following Loss to Binghamton

Saturday, March 5, 2016
Jay Rosehill and Zack Stortini's 1st period fight brought back memories of old time hockey. Photo: Nina Weiss/The Home News
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms (27-28-2-3) fired 71 shots on net in two games this weekend, but were only rewarded with one goal. Tonight in Binghamton, the Phantoms fell behind early despite a similarly strong effort as compared to last night against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

The theme of the weekend, and the season for that matter, has been a multitude of prime scoring chances for that have gone unrewarded and mistakes at inopportune time that proved costly. At this time of the season, it's commonplace.

Mark Fraser and former Phantom Jason Akeson gave the BSens a 2-0 lead on early period goals in both the first and second frames. Petr Straka tallied the Phantoms' lone goal to break a personal 14-game goalless drought in the second period to cut the deficit to 2-1, only to have Max McCormick put the proverbial dagger in the side of Lehigh Valley with 8:28 left in regulation after a dominant start to the final frame by the Phantoms.

Scoreboard Watch: Hartford and Bridgeport were off tonight, but Providence defeated Portland in regulation to pull into third place in the Atlantic Division - 8 points ahead of the Phantoms with three games in hand on Lehigh Valley. Portland remains six points ahead of the Phantoms in fourth place  but with four games in hand on Lehigh Valley. Bridgeport in fifth place holds the final playoff spot and is seven points ahead of the Phantoms with two games in hand.


Scott Gordon:
We definitely generated some great chances. The goals we gave up, the first was a questionable play there that Stolie had tied it up. The second goal, they didn't make a play on it once and the next thing you know it's the back on the net. They really didn't do anything to deserve it. Down 2-0 and we didn't come out from it.
We are digging ourselves a hole. Until we're out of it, we're in.
Jay Rosehill on his fight with Stortini:
He just likes to crowd the face-off circle and play that game. I'm not going to stand back and let him do whatever he wants. He didn't seem interested at first but after awhile he did and away he went.
It's kind of the only way I've really done it. I'm not a dominant left-hander or anything, but it seems to open up the fights and make it so it's not a hugfest because I just find those the most frustrating fights so if you're going to fight you might as well fight.
Rosehill on team reaching breaking point:
It's big time frustration. We have had good starts to the last couple of games but pucks aren't going into the net. We need to stay on the formula that has gotten us those good periods. It just seems that few mistakes here and there are ending up in the back of our net and it's costing us. 

In a hotly contested first period, the Phantoms and Senators played an opening 20 minutes that felt like old-school hockey. There were several big hits, both legal and highly questionable. Referee Evgeny Romasko seemed to lose control from early in the first period.

With the Phantoms on a power play after Sam Morin was tripped in the neutral zone, Anthony Stolarz made a right pad save on a Kyle Flanagan shorthanded breakaway. The puck remained under his pad for literally five seconds without a whistle. With the power play time clicking off the clock and no whistle coming, the Phantoms dug the puck out from under Stolarz only to have Flanagan - who was in the crease already from his breakaway - steal the puck and pass it to Mark Fraser for a shorthanded goal that caused both Stolarz and the Phantoms' bench to grow irate.

The early 1-0 BSens lead stood up in the first period, but the real gem of the period was this heavyweight fight between Jay Rosehill and former Phantom Zack Stortini with 4:56 left before the first intermission.

The flaring tempers from the first period cooled off in the middle frame, but after the Phantoms were hemmed in their own zone for a long shift the trend of former Phantoms scoring on Lehigh Valley continued. Jason Akeson, acquired by Ottawa from Buffalo in a seven player AHL trade leading up to the trade deadline, found a seam and sneaked a shot that eluded Stolarz to extend the BSens lead to 2-0 just 5:20 into the middle frame.

From there, however, the Phantoms started generating the majority of the game's scoring chances. It seemed like another night where they would not be rewarded but they made it a one-goal game with 8:55 left before the second intermission.

After numerous chances on an extended shift in the offensive zone, Cole Bardreau followed up his rebound attempt and dished it across to Petr Straka who broke a personal 14-game goalless drought for his 18th of the season to cut the Phantoms'deficit to 2-1.

It was all for not however, despite 10 shots in the first half of the third period. Max McCormick put the BSens ahead for good with 8:28 left in regulation to complete the 3-1 final score.


Anthony Stolarz (24 saves - 27 shots) made his 10th straight start tonight for Lehigh Valley.

Jason LaBarbera had previously been ruled out of this weekend's games. His hand injury suffered from taking a puck on the bench last weekend is fine, but it's the nagging/lingering injury first reported here a week or so ago that is keeping him out of the lineup. Martin Ouellette will serve as the backup tonight.

Defenseman Mark Alt left Friday night's game in the second period and did not return. He sat out with an undisclosed injury that is not expected to be serious.

Max Lamarche stepped back into the lineup for Alt.

Dalton Smith returned to the lineup tonight as Tyrell Goulbourne sat as a healthy scratch, missing his first game all season for Lehigh Valley.

No other lineup changes for Lehigh Valley

Scratches: Mark Alt (undisclosed), Kevin Sundher (lower body since 12/27), Tyrell Goulbourne (healthy), Michael Parks (upper body since 10/17), Jason LaBarbera (upper body), Tim Brent (hand/wrist surgery) and Logan Pyett (out indefinitely).

Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics):

Petr Straka - Cole Bardreau - Colin McDonald (C)
Taylor Leier (A) - Phil DeSimone - Chris Conner
Danick Martel - Kevin Goumas - Aaron Palushaj
Dalton Smith - Joe Rehkamp - Jay Rosehill

Davis Drewiske (A) - Christian Marti
Sam Morin - Max Lamarche
Adam Comrie - Robert Hagg

Anthony Stolarz - Martin Ouellette


1st Period

5:13: BNG - (PP) Dziurzynski, minor (tripping)
5:40: BNG - SHG Fraser (1) - Flanagan
12:04: BNG - (PP) McCormick, minor (boarding)
15:04: BNG - Stortini, major (fighting)
15:04: LV - Rosehill, major (fighting) 
18:36: BNG - (PP) Keranen, minor (tripping)

2nd Period

5:20: BNG - Akeson (9) - Varone, Keranen
11:05: LV - Straka (18) - Bardreau, McDonald
18:26: LV - (PP) Bardreau, minor (high-sticking)

3rd Period

11:32: BNG - McCormick (10) - Robinson, Dziurzynski
13:56: LV - (PP) Leier, minor (boarding)
14:05: BNG - Keranen, minor (hooking)
14:05: LV - Goumas, minor (holding)
18:54: BNG - (PP) Dziurzynski, minor (hooking)


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