Phantoms 'Not A Confident Team' Following Blowout Loss to Hershey

Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Hershey routs Lehigh Valley Wednesday night in Allentown.
It all came apart for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (27-32-4-3) in a bitter loss to the Hershey Bears Wednesday night at the PPL Center. The Phantoms' Atlantic Division rival scored early and often in a 8-0 blowout that extends the Phantoms' winless streak to eight games, leaving players in the locker room both frustrated and bewildered on how they can fix these kinds of results moving forward onto the final 10 games of the season.

Lehigh Valley's last win came back on March 2nd, and even that took a franchise-record 51 saves from Anthony Stolarz and a perfect three-for-three in the shootout to grab the two points in Syracuse at the beginning of the month.

"It started a couple weeks ago, I guess," Phantoms captain Colin McDonald said post game. "[We're] just not a confident team."

Chris Bourque (two goals, one assist) and Nathan Walker (one goal, two assists) led the way with three points each for the Bears. Dan Ellis recorded his 23rd win and fourth shutout of the season with a 21-save performance.

The Phantoms finish their four-game home stand this weekend with games Friday night against the Providence Bruins and Saturday against the Hartford Wolf Pack.


Scott Gordon:
Obviously the chances were generated [in the 1st period], but the amount of time we spent in the defensive zone - a lot of it stemmed from turnovers in our zone. To their credit they do a good job of being hard to check in defensive zone. They move & support well and [that led to] a lot of missed coverage."
Colin McDonald:
Nothing really went right. It kind of snowballed. You try to get yourself out of it & seems like you can't do anything right. There's really no other way to get out of this.You just have to forget about it & work that much harder. If you think you're working hard, you have to raise it another level.

Hershey had the momentum off the opening draw, creating chances and beginning the game with their skating legs under them. After the first few shifts, however, the Phantoms started to get to work - getting pucks in deep and forcing turnovers to create offensive chances. Unfortunately for Lehigh Valley, they were unable to capitalize on their several Grade-A scoring opportunities.

After Sam Morin out-muscled Riley Barber in the corner and was whistled for tripping, the Bears power play cashed in to take a 1-0 lead. A pass across the top of the crease from Nathan Walker to Travis Boyd didn't connect, but Boyd got the puck to the point to Chris Bourque and the Bears' leading scorer blasted a point shot past Martin Ouellette 6:19 into the opening period.

It went from bad to worse for the Phantoms as Mike Moore stickhandled his way into the slot and beat Ouellette with a sneaky shot about three and a half minutes later to extend Hershey's lead to 2-0. Moore's fifth of the season in 42 games was his fourth in 10 games against the Phantoms this season.

Ouellette's night came to an abrupt end exactly 12 minutes into the first frame after Dustin Gazley got to the edge with speed and blew past the Phantoms' defense, going forehand to backhand to increase Hershey's lead to 3-0 with eight minutes left before the first intermission. Connor Knapp came on in relief of Ouellette (three saves - six shots) after the goal.

The Bears dominated play in the middle frame, often spending long series of time in the Phantoms' defensive zone. Knapp weathered the storm as long as he could, but the flood gates broke open late in the 2nd period to the tune of four Hershey Bears goals in 4:48 of play.

Travis Boyd got the second period scoring surge started with his 19th of the season with 4:49 left before the second intermission. That was followed up by two goals 19 seconds apart by Erik Burgdoerfer and Nathan Walker. Chris Bourque capped the scoring before the period came to an end on his 2nd of the night and team-leading 28th of the season.

Jakub Vrana beat Knapp to the short side 4:51 into the final frame to make it 8-0 Hershey to cap the scoring.


Martin Ouellette (3 saves - 6 shots) got his second start of the season with the Phantoms tonight against Hershey, but was pulled 12 minutes into the first period. Connor Knapp (22 saves - 27 shots) started the game as the backup goalie, but entered the game midway through the opening frame.

Jason LaBarbera is going to be out for a bit, per head coach Scott Gordon, which was why Knapp's recall from Reading was required.

Three injured players from the team's last game on Sunday - Colin McDonald, Aaron Paluhsaj and Max Lamarche - were all full participants in practice Tuesday morning. McDonald and Palushaj were back in the Phantoms' lineup tonight.

Pavel Padakin was called up from Reading, while Joe Rehkamp was released from his PTO and returned to the Royals. Padakin slotted into the lineup on the fourth line tonight.

Scratches: Jason LaBarbera (undisclosed), Michael Parks (upper body), Max Lamarche (healthy), Dalton Smith (healthy), Jay Rosehill (healthy), Reece Wilcox (healthy) and Logan Pyett (out indefinitely)

Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics)

Danick Martel - Tim Brent - Aaron Palushaj
Petr Straka - Phil DeSimone - Chris Conner
Taylor Leier - Cole Bardreau - Colin McDonald
Tyrell Goulbourne - Steven Swavely - Pavel Padakin

Sam Morin - Mark Alt
Davis Drewiske - Christian Marti
Adam Comrie - Robert Hagg

Martin Ouellette - Connor Knapp


1st Period

5:09: LV - (PP) Morin, minor (tripping)
6:19: HER - PPG C. Bourque (27) - Boyd, Walker
9:44: HER - Moore (5) - C. Bourque, Barber
12:00: HER - Gazley (14) - R. Bourque, Walker
13:42: LV - McDonald, major (fighting)
13:42: HER - Stanton, major (fighting)

2nd Period

1:47: LV - (PP) McDonald, minor (interference)
11:46: HER - (PP) Siegenthaler, minor (intererence)
15:11: HER - Boyd (19) - Barber, Burgdoerfer
17:00: HER - Burgdoerfer (6) - Sill, Siegenthaler
17:19: HER - Walker (16) - R. Bourque, Bowey
18:59: HER - C. Bourque (28) - Bowey, Stanton

3rd Period

4:51: HER - Vrana (11) - unassisted
8:43: LV - (PP) Padakin, minor (slashing)
8:43: LV - Padakin, ten-minute misconduct
10:33: LV - (PP) Goulbourne, minor (tripping)
18:16: HER - (PP) Moore, minor (holding)


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