|Corban Knight tallied his first as a member of the Phantoms tonight. Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey|
Resilient Phantoms Force Overtime Against Hartford
Written by: Tony Androckitis - Twitter/Facebook
Allentown - The Lehigh Valley Phantoms (1-1-1) didn't win tonight against the Hartford Wolf Pack (2-1-0), but possibly showed a glimpse of how quickly they can turn things around - overcoming deficits of 3-1 and 4-3 in the third period before falling in overtime.
Hartford appeared to take a commanding 3-1 lead into the third period with a pair of power play goals late in the the middle frame, but Lehigh Valley stepped up in the third - out shooting the Wolf Pack 12-5 and finding the back of the net with regularity.
Andy Miele, Mark Zengerle and Chris Conner all scored goals for Lehigh Valley in the third period - forcing the first 3-on-3 overtime game of the season in front of a near-sellout crowd of 7,892 fans. Unfortunately for the home fans, the game ended 1:55 into overtime when Hartford's Nicklas Jensen lasered a shot past rookie goaltender Alex Lyon - handing Lyon the loss in his regular season pro debut.
All things considered, with Hartford off on Friday night watching the Phantoms' play Bridgeport, Phantoms head coach Scott Gordon was pleased with the way his team was able to battle back in the third period in the tail end of a back-to-back set. Even in the third game of the season, a point in the standings is critical and you take them anytime you can get them.
Moving forward, the Phantoms have a tough stretch of games coming up on the schedule. Ten of the next 13 games are on the road - including five straight starting with a three-in-three set next weekend. The Phantoms' next home game isn't until November 5th.
Head coach Scott Gordon thoughts:
The first period wasn't bad. The only bad thing about the 2nd period were the four penalties - we were short for eight of it. As a result, we didn't get anything going offensively.
One of the things I said to the guys is that we have to out-work them so they have to take penalties and give us a chance on the power play. We were pretty resilient to be able to come back down two and then get down again and get another one to tie it again. That was very encouraging. They're sitting here waiting for us play last night, so to make the third period our best period of the weekend was good.
That's one of the things last year. When we got down, it was like the game is over. They're obviously confident offensive people. But you can you have all the confidence in the world, you have to still go out and work, They went out and did that in the third period. You can have all the skill you want, but if you don't work it doesn't matter.Chris Conner
On turning things around in the 3rd:
We stayed with it. It showed a lot - we were down 3-1 and able to come back. We just have to keep moving forward.On the 1-1-1 start:
Obviously you always want to win. We have a lot of new guys here learning new systems. It's going to take awhile, there's a little bit of an adjustment period. I just think we have to get better everyday and look at the big picture.RECAP
The Phantoms had an obvious jump in their step in the opening minutes. While it took them over 10 minutes to record their first shot on goal last night, they nearly scored in the opening 30 seconds tonight as a 2-on-1 from Colin McDonald to Greg Carey just missed the mark in the game's opening shift.
Lehigh Valley failed to convert on an early power play to start the game, and Hartford gained momentum - scoring a minute after the penalty was killed off to take a 1-0 lead. Michael Paliotta took a pass at the point from Marek Hrivik and let loose a hard shot that Tanner Glass re-directed past Alex Lyon 3:57 into the contest for the game's opening goal.
From there the Phantoms had plenty of chances on the power play, but were unable to convert. On several occasions, guys were caught maybe being a little too unselfish - passing up grade-A chances to shoot the puck and looking to make one pass too many.
Lehigh Valley managed 11 shots in the opening frame after tallying just 12 shots in the first 40 minutes of Friday night's game, but found themselves trailing Hartford 1-0 after the opening frame.
In the middle frame, the penalties started to even out and the Phantoms spent a lot of time in the penalty box.
It wasn't costly at first, as the Phantoms killed off the first penalty of the period and tied the game at 1-1 while shorthanded for a second time. Corban Knight pounced on a Hartford miscue in the neutral zone, and with a defender on his back was able to put one past Magnus Hellberg to even the score at 1-1.
Late in the middle frame, the stick infractions caught up to Lehigh Valley. First, with Nicolas Aube-Kubel in the box for hooking, Wolf Pack rookie defenseman John Gilmour floated a point shot through traffic that eluded Lyon on its way into the net.
A little over two minutes later, with Knight in the box for hooking, Justin Fontaine took a pass from Calle Andersson and let off a shot from the face-off circle that was partially blocked in front and trickled past Lyon - giving Hartford a 3-1 lead in the final minute before the second intermission.
Things got interesting in the third period, and in a good way for Lehigh Valley.
Andy Miele finished off a feed in front from Greg Carey that got the ball rolling for the Phantoms - making it a 3-2 game just over five minutes into the third period.
Less than a minute later, Hartford was whistled for hooking and the Phantoms power play went to work. It won't go down as a power play tally, but a nice series of passes as the penalty was expiring gave Mark Zengerle an open net to shoot at and he buried it to tie the game at 3-3 with under 12 minutes left.
Hartford came right back to re-gain the lead about a minute and a half later, as Tanner Glass found a rebound from the side of the net for his second tally of the night.
The thrill a minute hockey wasn't done there either. Chris Conner was the recipient of a wrap around pass from Danick Martel to even the game back up, this time 4-4, with 9:01 left in the final frame. The Phantoms failed to take the lead on an ensuing power play and headed to overtime deadlocked, picking up a critical standings point in the process.
Hartford capitalized in the first 3-on-3 overtime game of the season for the Phantoms, with Nicklas Jensen firing a hard shot on net that eluded Lyon and ended the game with a 5-4 decision giving Hartford two points.
Alex Lyon (29 saves - 34 shots) got the start in net for tonight's game, making his regular season pro debut. Anthony Stolarz served as the team's backup following last night's start against Bridgeport.
No lineup changes for Lehigh Valley other than the one in net. The defense pairings were shuffled a bit, but the forward lines remained intact.
Max Lamarache was recalled by the Phantoms earlier today, and was the healthy scratch on defense tonight.
Scratches: Cole Bardreau, Max Lamarche (healthy) and Petr Straka (healthy)
Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics)
Greg Carey - Andy Miele (A) - Chris Conner
Taylor Leier - Mark Zengerle - Colin McDonald (C)
Danick Martel - Jordan Weal - Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Tyrell Goulbourne - Radel Fazleev - Corban Knight
T.J. Brennan - Will O'Neill
Robert Hagg - Travis Sanheim
Sam Morin - Reece Willcox
Alex Lyon - Anthony Stolarz
0:56: HFD - (PP) Graves, minor (cross-checking)
3:57: HFD - Glass (1) - Paliotta, Hrivik
4:52: LV - (PP) Sanheim, minor (holding)
7:13: HFD - (PP) Summers, minor (interference)
8:30 LV - (PP) Brennan, minor (cross-checking)
16:20: HFD - (PP) Carey, minor (hooking)
3:02: LV - (PP) Hagg, minor (cross-checking)
7:22: LV - (PP) Sanheim, minor (hooking)
7:51: LV - SHG Knight (1) - unassisted
15:43: LV - (PP) Aube-Kubel, minor (hooking)
16:58: HFD - PPG Gilmour (2) - Stromwall
18:49: LV - (PP) Knight, minor (hooking)
19:03: HFD - PPG Fontaine (1) - Andersson
5:05: LV - Miele (1) - Carey, McDonald
6:00: HFD - (PP) Andersson, minor (hooking)
8:03: LV - PPG Zengerle (2) - Leier, Weal
9:46: HFD - Glass (2) - Graves
10:59: LV - Conner (1) - Martel, Morin
11:35: HFD - (PP) Kovacs, minor (tripping)
1:55: HFD - Jensen (2) - Kovacs