Phantoms Win Third Straight To Begin Weekend Series With St. John's

Friday, April 1, 2016
Phantoms take Game 1 of the weekend series in St. John's.  Photo: Scott Walsh
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms made it three wins in a row with an impressive 4-1 victory over the St. John's IceCaps Friday night at the Mile One Centre in Newfoundland, Canada.

After a scoreless first period, the Phantoms jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the middle frame on goals by Taylor Leier and Adam Comrie and never looked back. Robert Hagg gave the Phantoms a 3-1 lead in the third period before Reading Pa native Steven Swavely tallied his first career pro goal on a shorthanded empty net goal with 1:32 left in regulation to complete the 4-1 win.

Martin Ouellette won his third game in a row and was on his game again, stopping all but one of the 28 shots he faced.

The Phantoms and IceCaps rematch tomorrow night in St. John's to conclude their regular season series. The game is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. NDT, which is 6:00 p.m. ET locally in the Lehigh Valley.


The first period was a slow moving one in St. John's filled with whistles and stoppages. A bit of a scary incident midway through the period as Davis Drewiske and Aaron Palushaj sandwiched IceCaps forward Charles Hudon along the half-wall in the defensive zone. Hudon was down for quite some time and needed to be helped off the ice. Hudon did not return to the game.

From there, things started to get really gritty and physical. On the shift after Hudon was crunched, big John Scott challenged Tyrell Goulbourne to a fight along the team benches with a late shove into Goulbourne's back. It seemed like every whistle had some sort of on-ice skirmish carrying on.

Late in the opening frame, the Phantoms got into a bit of penalty trouble as Robert Hagg and Mark Alt were whistled for penalties 48 seconds apart. Martin Ouellette made several sharp saves to get Lehigh Valley into the first intermission in a scoreless tie - stopping all 13 St. John's shots that came his way in the first 20 minutes.

The Phantoms opened the middle frame with a bang, taking a 1-0 lead just 37 seconds into the period on a great effort by Taylor Leier. Chris Conner sent a cross ice flip to Mark Alt and although IceCaps goaltender Zachary Fucale stopped his bid at the net, Leier came in and as he was hauled down put the puck past Fucale to give the Phantoms the early second period lead.

It appeared as though the IceCaps were going to even the score just moments later, as Ouellette's clear out from behind his own net was intercepted by St. John's with an empty net to shoot at. Ouellette wisely opted to knock his net over and take the delay of game penalty to keep Lehigh Valley ahead 1-0.

Lehigh Valley killed it off and extended their lead to 2-0 on an Adam Comrie power play goal with 7:30 left in the middle frame. Tim Brent won a face-off to start the man advantage and got the puck back to the point to Comrie for a blast that blew past everyone on its way behind Fucale.

From there, the IceCaps started to pressure and off a face-off play of their own a quick shot by Tim Bozon eluded Ouellette to cut the Phantoms lead to 2-1. St. John's had a late period power play after a delay of game penalty with 3:35 before the second intermission, but the Phantoms were able to kill it off and get to the third period with a one goal lead.

Cole Bardreau won an offensive zone face-off during four-on-four play early in the final frame and Robert Hagg lasered a wrist shot past Fucale to extend the Phantoms' lead to 3-1. The IceCaps continued to pressure from there, but to no avail. Steven Swavely backhanded a puck from his own end on a late-game penalty kill that made its way into the empty St. John's net with 1:32 left for his first career pro goal and the final blow in a 4-1 win.

ROSTER NOTES - Phantoms 

Martin Ouellette (27 saves - 28 shots) got the start in net tonight for Lehigh Valley, coming off back-to-back wins last weekend. Connor Knapp will be the team's backup goaltender.

Jason LaBarbera is out for the season, per Flyers' GM Ron Hextall. Ouellette and Knapp will be the Phantoms' duo in net the remainder of the season.

The Phantoms reassigned defenseman Max Lamarche to Reading, leaving Lehigh Valley with seven defensemen on the roster.

Two players will be making their AHL debuts tonight. Defenseman Reece Willcox will get his first taste of pro hockey on the back end, while promising forward Oskar Lindblom will slot in on the fourth line.

Willcox wasn't overly noticeable, but that's a good thing for a guy who bills himself as a defensive defenseman. Lindblom displayed good speed on the left wing tonight and had several scoring chances, forming a nice duo with Chris Conner early and often.

Scratches: Jason LaBarbera (out for season), Christian Marti (healthy), Phil DeSimone (healthy), Michael Parks (out for season), Dalton Smith (healthy), Jay Rosehill (healthy) and Logan Pyett (out indefinitely)

Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics)

Oskar Lindblom - Tim Brent (A) - Chris Conner
Taylor Leier - Cole Bardreau - Colin McDonald (C)
Tyrell Goulbourne - Pavel Padakin - Danick Martel
Petr Straka - Steven Swavely - Aaron Palushaj

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

Martin Ouellette - Connor Knapp


1st Period

16:21: LV - (PP) Hagg, minor (interference)
17:09: LV - (PP) Alt, minor (hooking)

2nd Period

0:37: LV - Leier (19) - McDonald, Alt
3:08: LV - (PP) Ouellette, minor (delay of game)
12:25: STJ - (PP) Parisi, minor (tripping)
12:30: LV - PPG Comrie (6) - Brent, McDonald
14:50: STJ - Bozon (3) - Ward
16:25: LV - (PP) Palushaj, minor (delay of game)

3rd Period

5:27: LV - Brent, minor (unsportsmanlike)
5:27: STJ - Holloway, minor (roughing)
6:58: LV - Hagg (3) - Bardreau
7:21: LV - (PP) Swavely, minor (slashing)
18:04: LV - (PP) Drewiske, minor (holding)
18:28: LV - SH/ENG Swavely (1) - Morin, Alt


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