Five is Fine - Phantoms Blank Rival Penguins

Saturday, April 9, 2016
Martin Ouellette is playing on top of his game lately. Photo: Nina Weiss/The Home News
For the second time this season, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms have won five straight games. It wasn't the best performance of the year, as the Phantoms were out-shot by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins by a wide margin of 40-22 and largely out-chanced, but the Phantoms scored some timely goals and rode their hot goaltender Martin Ouellette to the finish line in a 4-0 win.

Ouellette posted his second consecutive shutout with his 40-save effort, his fifth straight win with the Phantoms and has extended his shutout streak to 145 minutes and 10 seconds without allowing a goal dating back to April 1st's game up in St. John's. To say he's playing with confidence is an understatement, especially early on when the Penguins were really dominating.

In fact, the Phantoms did not get their first shot on goal until midway through the first period. Their first goal didn't come until their 10th shot of the contest with 2:35 left in the second period, but Adam Comrie's 7th of the season gave Lehigh Valley a 1-0 lead thanks to Ouellette's 28 saves through 40 minutes of regulation.

Comrie tallied twice more in the third period, sandwiched between a hard-working rebound goal by Tim Brent, to complete the hat trick - his first as a pro - and while the Penguins power play went 0-for-8 tonight the Phantoms were able to cash in for two power play goals of their own. Special teams play changed the outcome of the game.

Nicolas Aube-Kubel tallied his first career pro point on an assist on the Phantoms' opening goal on a play that he jokingly credited to his skate (more on Aube-Kubel in the post-game comments). Travis Sanheim didn't get on the scoresheet but played on the second power play unit and saw some time on the penalty kill, finishing the game with a plus one rating. Sanheim looked a little unsure of himself in the first few shifts of the game, but became more confident and poised as the game went along.

It's a quick turnaround for the Phantoms, who begin a home and home series with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Saturday night at the PPL Center in downtown Allentown, Pa. where they'll look to make it a season-high six straight wins.

Thoughts from head coach Scott Gordon, Adam Comrie, Martin Ouellette and pro debuts from Travis Sanheim and Nicolas Aube-Kubel after the jump.


Head coach Scott Gordon:
The first period we were shorthanded for six of it. They play a style that ices the puck and even when you are in the right place sometimes you don't come up with those pucks and that's how they establish their forecheck. It's not an easy way to defend the game when a team plays that way, but we found a way and we were patient and Adam Comrie came up with a big hat trick for us.
Gordon on Sanheim:
Sometimes when a player looks off like that its more the uncertainty. He's been here for two practices, so in fairness to him there's going to be some indecisiveness and guys not being where expects them to be. He's got a thought process that he's played with for the last four years on the same team he has played on. Anytime a player comes in and can play a regular shift, they're doing something right.
There's no question one of his strengths is the power play and his offensive game, so we'll see more of that as we go along here. 
Gordon on Aube-Kubel:
He didn't get as much opportunity to get reps in practice and it's a different style of play than he's used to playing. In the short time here, I don't think we'll get him on board with everything but he's a very talented player who has a great release on his shot. I think he's one of those guys that the Flyers are excited about and we look forward to having him next year.
Gordon on Lindblom:
He got the assist on that goal, where Conner finished it up. The one thing that's impressed me with him, he does a really good job winning battles along the boards and for a 19-year-old that's really impressive.
Nicolas Aube-Kubel on his pro debut:
First impressions - It was a really good pace. I was watching everything and just trying to adjust. I think my speed was good, I had some offensive chances and some good defensive plays. It was good.
On the adjustment - I think guys are bigger, stronger and also game-sense. Sometimes in the Q, you can have a puck on a mistake and now there's no mistakes. You have to [work hard] to create your chances.
On his 1st pro point - [Comrie] put it back in the middle and I tried to stop it with my skate and it hit my skate and went back to him. He had the sick shot there. Three goals, that's pretty good.
Travis Sanheim on his pro debut:
On his pre-game jitters -  For sure, I had a little bit of nerves going. Didn't really know what to expect. I haven't seen an AHL game before. It was new for me and after a couple shifts I felt like I got better. 
First impressions - Early on it was a big adjustment playing against bigger, stronger, faster guys. I thought I adjusted well. Obviously early on I'm going to have mistakes, but I thought as the game went I got better and towards the end I started to play with a little more confidence.
On his power play time, being poised with puck - I think for me it's getting back to playing how I play. being confident with the puck and wanting the puck. Like I said, I thought I got better as the game went on.
On playing a little on the PK - It was something this season in Calgary I got some time on the PK, I got to play a little bit there tonight and I thought I did a good job there. Got some clears and made some decent plays. 
Looking forward to final five games - I didn't know what to expect, but it was a good experience and I'm looking forward to what the next week and a half holds for me. 
Adam Comrie's thoughts:
I don't think we had the cleanest of breakouts. In-zone trying to force plays and couldn't get the puck in the scrums, but we found a way to get the puck on net and it found a way in.
On his three goal night - I felt good. Just saw an opportunity and took advantage of it. Pucks were going in tonight, some nights it doesn't happen but tonight they just kept going in.
On broken stick hat trick goal in third - There have been a lot of times in my career that my stick breaks and it doesn't get through. I think this is one of those ones where the hockey gods were with me and really get an opportunity to get a hat trick, something I wasn't thinking about.
Martin Ouellette:
I felt really good tonight. The guys played well again. They came out hard but we were able to keep most of the stuff to the outside and come up with a big goal toward the end of the 2nd which gave us the momentum going into the third period.
It was nice to get that one after we had a lot of penalties to kill. Getting that first one and getting the lead going into the third was huge for us.
All I wanted to do was make the most of the opportunity. I thought I played pretty well the last few games and the other guys played well - it's makes the job a lot easier on the goalie when that happens. 

Martin Ouellette (40 saves - 40 shots) got his sixth straight start in net tonight for the Phantoms, extending his shutout streak to 145 minutes and 10 seconds with his second consecutive shutout. Anthony Stolarz, reassigned from Philadelphia, served as Lehigh Valley's backup.

Goaltender Alex Lyon, whom the Flyers signed this week out of Yale University to an entry-level contract, will not be reporting to Lehigh Valley this spring per GM Ron Hextall.

Veteran Jason LaBarbera has been ruled out for the season. It appeared as though the Phantoms would finish their final six games with Martin Ouellette and Connor Knapp, but the Flyers reassigned Anthony Stolarz to Lehigh Valley Thursday afternoon.

Defenseman Travis Sanheim and forward Nicolas Aube-Kubel made their pro debuts tonight in Wilkes-Barre against the rival Penguins.

Forwards Radel Fazleev (hand) and Travis Konecny (shoulder), both of whom have been eliminated from the junior league playoffs, will not play with the Phantoms this spring due their injuries.

Forward Jay Rosehill received a three-game suspension for his illegal check to the head of St. John's IceCap defenseman Josiah Didier during last Saturday night's game. Rosehill will miss all three games this weekend.

Also receiving a suspension from the weekend games in St. John's is Aaron Palushaj, who received a one-game suspension for his awkward hit along the boards on IceCaps forward Charles Hudon in Friday's game. There wasn't a penalty on the play, but Hudon left the game and didn't return for the rest of the weekend's action.

Michael Parks has been skating in a yellow non-contact jersey at practice for the past two weeks. I had ruled him out for the season after a conversation I had with Parks about six weeks ago, but it's nice to see him skating out there. He's been out of the lineup since the Phantoms' third game of the season back on October 17th in Wilkes-Barre.

Scratches: Jason LaBarbera (out for the season), Connor Knapp (healthy), Christian Marti (healthy), Phil DeSimone (healthy), Michael Parks (out for the season), Aaron Palushaj (suspended - one game), Radel Fazleev (out for the season), Dalton Smith (healthy), Jay Rosehill (suspended - three games) and Logan Pyett (out for the season)

Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics)

Chris Conner - Tim Brent - Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Taylor Leier - Cole Bardreau - Colin McDonald
Danick Martel - Steven Swavely - Oskar Lindblom
Petr Straka - Pavel Padakin - Tyrell Goulbourne

Sam Morin - Mark Alt
Davis Drewiske - Travis Sanheim
Adam Comrie - Robert Hagg

Anthony Stolarz - Martin Ouellette


Lehigh Valley 4, Penguins 0

Lehigh Valley 0 1 3 – 4
W-B/Scranton 0 0 0 – 0

First Period

Scoring – No Scoring. Penalties – WBS, McGrath (fighting); 2:20 LV, Goulbourne (fighting) 2:20; LV, Brent (slashing) 4:54; LV, Alt (tripping) 11:19; WBS, Krause (hooking) 13:35; LV, Bardreau (tripping) 17:42.

Second Period

Scoring – 1. LV, Comrie 7 (Aube-Kubel, Conner) 17:25. Penalties – WBS, Parent (holding) 1:00; LV, McDonald (slashing) 1:47; WBS, Oleksy (roughing) 4:14; WBS, Erixon (roughing) 7:15; LV, Martel (roughing) 7:15; LV, Morin (hooking) 11:01; WBS, Oleksy (holding) 13:27.

Third Period

Scoring – 2. LV, Brent 9 (Conner, Lindblom) :59; 3. LV, Comrie 8 (McDonald) power play 8:03; 4. Comrie 9 (Leier, Conner) power play 12:14. Penalties – LV, Morin (high-sticking) 4:00; WBS, Rowney (slashing) 6:16; WBS, Platcha (elbowing, misconduct) 9:22; LV, Goulbourne (misconduct) 9:22; WBS, Erixon (tripping) 11:32; WBS, Rowney (hooking) 12:02; LV, Aube-Kubel (slashing) 13:14; LV, Hagg (cross-checking) 15:21; LV, Hagg (roughing) 19:00; LV, Morin (roughing, misconduct, game misconduct) 19:00; WBS, McGrath (double-minor roughing) 19:00.

Shots on goal

Lehigh Valley – 3-7-12-22
W-B/Scranton – 11-17-12-40

Power-play Opportunities

Lehigh Valley – 2 of 8
W-B/Scranton – 0 of 8


Lehigh Valley – Martin Ouellette 11-17-12 (40 saves – 40 shots)
W-B/Scranton – Tristan Jarry 3-6-9 (18 saves -22 shots)


Lehigh Valley – G Martin Ouellette, D Sam Morin, D Mark Alt, LW Taylor Leier, C Cole Bardreau, RW Colin McDonald

Penguins – G Tristan Jarry, D Steve Oleksy, D Nicklas Andersen, LW Kael Mouillierat, C Dustin Jeffrey, RW Dominik Simon

Three Stars

1. LV, Martin Ouellette (40-save shutout) 2. LV, Adam Comrie (three goals), 3. LV, Chris Conner (three assists)

Referees – Mark Lemelin, Keith Kaval. Linesmen – Jud Ritter, Bob Goodman

Attendance – 5,765


Post a Comment