Lindblom Quickly Emerging in North America

Saturday, April 9, 2016
Oskar Lindblom is emerging quickly as a solid player for Phantoms. Photo: Nina Weiss/The Home News
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms (32-33-4-3) saw their season-high five-game win streak come to an end Saturday night against Bridgeport, but tonight's valiant third period effort to turn a 5-2 deficit with 9:05 left in regulation into a winnable game further speaks to the no-quit mentality this team has.

It isn't always easy to close out a game, let alone a season, when there doesn't seem to be anything going the right way. The Phantoms have been mathematically eliminated since the beginning of the month, but it didn't stop them from continuing to put in the effort. The first 40 minutes of regulation weren't properly executed by Lehigh Valley, but they found a way to climb back into the game and make things interesting in the closing minutes.

Oskar Lindblom is really emerging as a talented hockey player with tremendous potential and upside. In just his fourth game in the AHL, he nearly took control of the game with two third period tallies - his first two goals in North America. Once he got the first one, his confidence and drive kicked up another gear from his already impressive start to his AHL tenure. Lindblom now has five points (two goals, three assists) in four games following a three-point night tonight.

The Phantoms came up short 6-4 in the box score after an empty net goal in the final seconds, but have another chance to play the role of spoiler against Bridgeport tomorrow in eastern Connecticut.


Head coach Scott Gordon:
General Thoughts - I think offensively we tried to make a few plays that we obviously didn't connect on. And the power play, instead of getting some energy from it it kind of killed us in the second period. There were a couple goals as a result of flukey bounces. They were able to maintain pressure, get shots off and get them deflected and found their way into the back of the net. I like the way we played in the third period and that's the way we have to play.
On Near 3rd Period Comeback - It's 5-2 and Cole has a pretty good opportunity in the slot and it just goes over the top of the net. We dug ourselves too big a hole. You can't be down 5-2 in the third period. 
On Lindblom - He's a smart player. He's only 19 years old and I think he's a guy that the Flyers are pretty excited about.
Oskar Lindblom:
On His Smooth Transition - I'm just trying to get better every game. Today I felt good. It was fun to score a goal, but we didn't win so it doesn't matter that much.
On Being Strong In The Hard Areas - I've been trying to be good in front of the net and get opportunities to try and score. Connor and Brent are helping me a lot out there. And talk to me a lot out there so it's been really easy.
On Scoring His 1st Career AHL Goal - It was a big rush. I was happy to score the first goal. After that I felt even better with more confidence, so it felt good for me. 
Cole Bardreau:
On Third Period Push Late - Obviously disappointing we're not going to make the playoffs, but at the end of day it comes down to battling for each other. You don't want to leave the guy next to you hanging. That's why we compete night in and night out. Unfortunately tonight for the first two and a half periods we didn't bring our game. They did early and jumped out to that lead. But like you said, a nice push back in the third but the end of the day we have to come for the full 60.
On His Fight With Halmo, Playing With Purpose - He just challenged me. I accepted it to try to get the guys going a little bit. Obviously pretty tired there - it was at the end of a long shift - but anything I can do to contribute to the team's success that's what I'm going to do and if it's taking a few punches I'll do that too.
On Possibly Playing Spoiler Sunday -Anytime you can play spoiler that you can use it as motivation they're like I said earlier we didn't give the powerful 60, we didn't give them our best effort and that's not something we want to come back and put it together for three periods.

Despite playing a much better first period tonight in terms of puck possession and offensive zone time than they did last night in Wilkes-Barre, the Phantoms found themselves in an early 2-0 hole to the Sound Tigers tonight in Allentown.

After a spirited opening minute fight between Cole Bardreau and Mike Halmo, the Phantoms failed to clear a puck out of their zone and it cost them. Tyler Barnes, in his Bridgeport Sound Tigers debut, was able to keep a blooping puck in the Phantoms' defensive zone at the blue line to keep the play alive.

Barnes played it with his glove down to his stick and fed a quick pass between the face-off circles to James Wright, who returned it to Barnes cutting to the net for a quick wrist shot that eluded a screened Stolarz on its way into the net. The early goal put the Phantoms behind 1-0 just 3:54 into the contest.

The Phantoms hole was dug deeper after a neutral zone turnover was picked up on the left wing by Jared Gomes, who fired a quick shot over Stolarz's shoulder to make it a 2-0 deficit for Lehigh Valley with 7:52 left before the first intermission.

Lehigh Valley cut the lead in half in the opening minute after good work from Taylor Leier to create a turnover on one of Bridgeport's attempted breakouts. Mark Alt gathered a puck on the half-wall and sent it to the middle to Cole Bardreau, who fired a quick wrist shot past Stephon Williams to make it a one-goal game.

Bridgeport answered midway through the period to push the Phantoms' deficit back to two goals on Mike Halmo's 22nd of the season. The rest of the middle frame was controlled by Bridgeport from that point on as Lehigh Valley was out shot 10-4 in the period and headed to the final frame trailing 3-1.

A Sound Tigers power play goal early in the third period made it a 4-1 game and the writing seemed to be on the wall, but Lindblom parked himself atop the crease and finished off a pass behind the net from Chris Conner for his first career AHL goal. That goal seemed to give the Phantoms' bench some life and despite allowing another Sound Tigers' goal to Marc-Andre Cliche on a bit of a broken play, Lehigh Valley pressed on.

Oskar Lindblom had a Robert Hagg point shot bounce in off his skate and past Williams followed by a shot from the outside by Colin McDonald light the lamp 50 seconds later to turn a 5-2 deficit into a one goal game with 3:15 left.

The Phantoms had several chances in the final minutes of regulation to even the score, but a last second empty net goal sealed the deal in the 6-4 loss.


Anthony Stolarz (24 saves - 29 shots) got his first start in net since March 18th, and looked every bit like a goaltender who hadn't played in nearly three weeks. Martin Ouellette was reassigned to Reading following Friday night's game, so Connor Knapp served as Stolarz's backup.

Travis Sanheim was a healthy scratch by design, as head coach Scott Gordon said during the week at practice that he expected the incoming junior league players to play only 2 of the 3 games this weekend. Reece Willcox returned to the lineup in his place.

Up front, Dalton Smith was back in the Phantoms lineup while Tyrell Goulbourne took a turn as a healthy scratch.

Aaron Palushaj served his one-game suspension but remained out of the lineup. Jay Rosehill will serve the final game of his three-game suspension tomorrow when Phantoms take on Bridgeport in Connecticut.

Scratches: Jason LaBarbera (out for the season), Travis Sanheim (healthy), Christian Marti (healthy), Phil DeSimone (healthy), Tyrell Goulbourne (healthy), Michael Parks (out for the season), Aaron Palushaj (healthy), Radel Fazleev (out for the season), Jay Rosehill (suspended - two more games) & Logan Pyett (out for the season)

Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics)

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

Sam Morin - Mark Alt
Davis Drewiske - Reece Willcox
Adam Comrie - Robert Hagg

Anthony Stolarz - Connor Knapp


1st Period

0:46: LV - Bardreau, major (fighting)
0:46: BST - Halmo, major (fighting)
3:54: BST - Barnes (1) - Wright
12:08: BST - Gomes (8) - unassisted
14:55: LV - (PP) Padakin, minor (interference)

2nd Period

0:56: LV - Bardreau (13) - Alt, Leier
7:27: BST - (PP) Cliche, minor (tripping)
10:50: BST - Jones (6) - Halmo, Fritz
12:14: LV - (PP) Willcox, minor (high-sticking)
14:48: LV - (PP) Swavely, minor (hooking)
17:46: BST - (PP) Cullity, minor (holding the stick)

3rd Period

4:43: LV - (PP) Martel, minor (high-sticking)
5:11: BST - PPG Lafranchise (1) - Burroughs, Schempp
7:32: LV - Lindblom (1) - Conner, Morin
10:55: BST - Cliche (7) - Markison, Gomes
11:36: BST - (PP) Burroughs, minor (holding)
15:55: LV - Lindblom (2) - Hagg, Conner
16:45: LV - McDonald (14) - Lindblom
19:43: BST - (PP) Holmstrom, minor (cross-checking)
19:57: BST - ENG Wright (13) - Jones


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