|Alex Lyon made his pro debut tonight. Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey|
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms looked like they were in trouble again for the second straight night, but in the third period they turned up the heat and started to take over the game - overcoming two third period deficits on their way to managing a point in the standings.
It was almost like the flick of a switch early in the third period, and there it was - dominating offensive pressure and top notch scoring chances. If not for quite a few hit posts that went "post-out instead of post-in" as Phantoms forward Greg Carey referred to them, the outcome of the game could have been very different.
Still, it's only the third game of the season. There are a ton of new players learning to gel together as a team and learning new systems and new tendencies from their teammates. I'm going to go back and edit in some telling quotes from head coach Scott Gordon in tonight's post game recap later, but I'll paraphrase him below.
Basically, Gordon said that the talent and the offensive ability is there on this roster. It's just a matter of putting it all together on the ice and coming to the rink ready to work and out-work the opponent. Playing the game "the right way" will allow this team as currently constructed to have success.
Here it is. Your Phantoms post-game extra. I'll try to tie everything together to give a greater understanding of what's going on with the Philadelphia Flyers' AHL affiliate and their top prospects playing at the pro-level.
If you missed it, here's tonight's recap of the action.
Post-Game Video Interview
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- Alex Lyon might have allowed five goals tonight in his pro debut, but I can honestly say he still showed a lot of good things tonight out there. Hartford had a ton of big bodies crashing Lyon's net early and often, and it didn't seem to phase the rookie goaltender one bit. His composure was something I took notice of early on. Facing 34 shots, Lyon had some big time stops that kept the Phantoms in the game early and kept the comeback hopes alive in third period. Take away the four penalties his team committed in the second period, and I think it's a very different outcome tonight for him. It will be interesting to see how the games are split up this season between Lyon and Anthony Stolarz.
- Travis Sanheim and Robert Hagg had a rough night for Lehigh Valley as a pairing. The two combined for three penalties and a bunch of turnovers. On a particular sequence, Sanheim had two failed attempts to get the puck out of the defensive zone and it resulted with Hagg being forced into taking a penalty at the net-front to avoid allowing a dangerous scoring chance against. Chalk it up as the ups and downs a rookie will go through for Sanheim. Nothing to get overly worried about.
- I was saying before the game that I hadn't really noticed Taylor Leier much in the first two games, but it's possible that the reason for that was he wasn't standing out in a bad way and other things other guys out there were doing were more noticeable. Anyway, I kept a closer eye on Leier tonight and he played pretty well - making plays in the offensive zone and creating a bunch of scoring chances for his team. He helped set up Mark Zengerle's game-tying goal in the third period, and is also getting valuable minutes on both special teams units.
- Important stretch of games coming up for the Phantoms. Five straight on the road now with a three-game weekend on the schedule next. In fact, 10 of the next 13 games are on the road. A good showing in those games gives the Phantoms a favorable advantage later down the road when there will be more games at home strung together (off hand, I believe it's around the holidays). It looked like the Phantoms are starting to figure out what they need to do in order to be successful, judging from the third period of the team's third game of the season. Greg Carey said it best, "it's a process."