Phantoms Rally Behind Four-Goal Third Period

Saturday, November 5, 2016
Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey
"Thriller" at the PPL Center

Written by: Tony Androckitis - Twitter/Facebook

Allentown - With 10 minutes left in the third period, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (5-3-1) found themselves down & out in a 4-2 deficit to the Springfield Thunderbirds in front of 7,920 fans at PPL Center for '80's Night'.

Lehigh Valley was being widely out-shot and out-chanced by the Thunderbirds, and it seemed like the Phantoms' were having trouble getting the puck up ice and into the offensive zone.

Then, the Phantoms offense erupted for four goals - the game-tying and game-winning goals coming 32 seconds apart - in a bigtime comeback win in regulation. As Greg Carey said post-game, two is a fluke and three is a streak.

The Phantoms finished the week a perfect 3-0 and look to keep it going next weekend with a 3-in-3 weekend beginning Friday in Utica.

POST-GAME REACTION

Forward Taylor Leier

On scoring his first goal of the season at crucial time:
We just said in the second intermission that we don't play for a week, so empty the tanks. It worked out well for us and I thought we deserved the win.
On what did them in during the 1st 40 minutes:
I think we were just too reckless and nonchalant with the puck in the first. They had 22 shots. That's just unacceptable for one period, so we changed things a little bit, shuffled the lines a bit. After we got in so late last night, it takes a little for the bodies to get going sometimes. But you got to give our guys credit. We battled hard, and like I said we deserved the win.
On giving up 22 shots in 1st period, but only down 1-0:
I think it woke us up. We didn't have the start we wanted. They played well in the first and stuck to their game plan of getting pucks to the net. We responded the right way.
On the exciting four-goal third period:
So fun. That's the best. Down 4-2 going into the third, when you can come back after that - our fans are so passionate. When McDonald put in that 5th goal I was so pumped.
Forward Greg Carey

On his teammates feeding him pucks:
Granted, another 5-on-3 so that's always nice. Just good plays by skill guys. Our power play was clicking tonight. I happened to find some good soft areas and get it away quick.
On what was said in 2nd intermission:
Just have to play the game our way. They were taking it to us there. With 18 minutes left they had 36 shots. That's not a good defensive game for us. I think we kind of slowed everything down, got it back into our corner. They started taking penalties. We just do what we do. We're a skilled hockey team. We don't have a lot of big guys, it's smaller guys that play with speed and play with skill and good things will happen.
On being able to comeback in the third:
You don't want to be down two goals in a game twice, ever. That's not ideal. That's not what you want come April - you want to be up two goals and holding those leads. It's good to know that there's character and good composure to be able to come back.



RECAP

The Phantoms and Thunderbirds played a pretty even first ten minutes tonight, but a Robert Hagg minor penalty appeared to swing the momentum in Springfield's favor for the final 10 minutes of the first frame.

The Thunderbirds didn't score on the ensuing power play, but they made it very clear that their game plan was to get pucks through to Phantoms' netminder Anthony Stolarz from anywhere and everywhere on the ice. Springfield tallied 22 shots in the first 20 minutes, and if not for Stolarz's play in net it could have been far worse than a 1-0 deficit for Lehigh Valley heading into the 2nd period.

With 2:13 left before the first intermission, Michael Downing's shot from the point was expertly deflected by Logan Shaw in the left-wing circle past Stolarz for the game's opening goal - a 1-0 lead for the Thunderbirds.

Sloppy puck play in their own end, from the defensemen on out to the forwards plagued the Phantoms from getting out of their zone and up the ice with any sort of regularity in the second half of the period. Still, Stolarz's 21 saves in the opening period almost miraculously kept Lehigh Valley in a 1-0 hockey game heading into the second period.

There was a lot going on early in the second period. Two penalties by the Thunderbirds just 18 seconds apart gave Lehigh Valley a great opportunity to even the score, but instead it was Jakub Kindl (yes, that Jakub Kindl) racing to a loose puck in the neutral zone from his blueline position and scoring a 3-on-5 shorthanded goal - lifting his breakaway attempt over Stolarz to give Springfield a 2-0 lead.

On the ensuing face-off, Logan Shaw was whistled for a minor penalty for a face-off violation (playing the puck his hand in an attempt to gain possession) and the Phantoms scored on the 5-on-3 power play to make it a one-goal game.

Travis Sanheim got a puck to the left wing wall to Will O'Neill, who slid a pass across the ice all the way to the right-wing circle to Greg Carey, whose quick shot beat Berra to the spot 4:43 into the middle frame - cutting the Phantoms' deficit in half.

In fact, the Phantoms tied the game at 2-2 at the midway point of the hockey game on a gift-wrapped turnover from Mackenzie Weegar, who from behind his net tried to chip a puck up and out of the zone. Instead, Weegar flubbed the clearing bid right to Danick Martel in front of the net who quickly batted one into the back of the net to tie the game.

The tied score was short lived, however, as a pair of goals by the Thunderbirds late in the 2nd period gave them a 4-2 advantage heading into the third period.

First, Paul Thompson got a piece of Brett Regner's point shot through traffic to re-gain the lead for Springfield. Just over two minutes later, with Brennan in the box for an offensive zone tripping penalty, Tim Bozon got a loose puck all alone in the slot and beat a scrambling Stolarz at the tail end of the power play to extend the Thunderbirds' lead to 4-2.

It seemed like the Thunderbirds had this one in the bag, maintaining the two-goal lead over the Phantoms into the final 10 minutes of regulation. Then, the Phantoms got on the power play and it all started clicking again.

Chris Conner and Andy Miele teamed up on the man advantage to set up Carey for his second goal of the night, as he blasted a shot to the top shelf to make it a one-goal game just moments after the Phantoms had a goal disallowed for what appeared to be a possible early whistle.

Taylor Leier had been held without a goal in the team's first eight games and two periods into the ninth contest, but he saved his first of the season for a crucial moment with the Phantoms down by one with under six minutes to play. Leier re-directed Will O'Neill's point shot past Berra for their third power play tally of the night to even the score at 4-4 with 5:23 to go.

Team captain Colin McDonald gave the Phantoms the lead on the next shift, collecting a blocked Scott Laughton shot in the slot and spinning and shooting one past Berra to make it 5-4 just 32 seconds after Leier had tied it.

Chris Conner sealed the deal with an empty net goal in the final 30 seconds to put an end to a thrilling comeback win for Lehigh Valley - their third straight win.

ROSTER NOTES

Anthony Stolarz (40 saves - 44 shots) got his fourth straight start in net for the Phantoms tonight. Alex Lyon served as the team's backup goaltender.

Danick Martel returned to the Phantoms' lineup after missing the previous three games with a lower body injury sustained in a knee-on-knee hit last Saturday night in Bridgeport. Corban Knight was the odd man out up front for Lehigh Valley to make room for Martel.

Scott Laughton began the game centering the Phantoms' third line with familiar friend Taylor Leier on his left, and Mark Zengerle on the right wing.

Expected Scratches: Tyrell Goulbourne, Corban Knight, Max Lamarche and Petr Straka

Expected Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics)

Greg Carey - Andy Miele (A) - Colin McDonald (C)
Danick Martel - Jordan Weal - Chris Conner
Taylor Leier - Scott Laughton - Mark Zengerle
Cole Bardreau - Radel Fazleev - Nicolas Aube-Kubel

T.J. Brennan - Reece Willcox
Will O'Neill (A) - Robert Hagg
Sam Morin - Travis Sanheim

Anthony Stolarz - Alex Lyon

GAME SUMMARY 

1st Period

11:02: LV - (PP) Hagg, minor (holding)
17:47: SPR - Shaw (3) - Downing

2nd Period

2:54: SPR - (PP) Downing, minor (holding)
3:12: SPR - (PP) Balisy, minor (hooking)
4:26: SPR - SHG Kindl (1) - Lammikko
4:26: SPR - (PP) Shaw, minor (face-off violation)
4:43: LV - PPG Carey (5) - O'Neill, Sanheim
10:04: LV - Martel (4) - unassisted
12:20: SPR - (PP) Weegar, minor (cross-checking)
15:23: SPR - Thompson (3) - Regner, Balisy
15:58; LV - (PP) Brennan, minor (tripping)
17:27: SPR - PPG Bozon (1) - Acolatse, Robinson

3rd Period

6:50: SPR - (PP) Hunt, minor (high-sticking)
7:57: LV - (PP) Brennan, minor (tripping)
9:53: SPR - (PP) bench minor, too many men (served by Bukarts)
10:53: LV - PPG Carey (6) - Conner, Miele
12:31: SPR - (PP) Greco, minor (hooking)
14:37: LV - PPG Leier (1) - O'Neill, Sanheim
15:09: LV - McDonald (5) - Laughton, Leier
16:49: SPR - Brown, minor
16:49: LV - Martel, minor (diving)
16:49: LV - Martel, ten-minute misconduct
19:32: LV - ENG Conner (2) - Zengerle


1 comments:

Joseph Pisacano said...

How did the Morin-Sanheim pairing play in regards to breakouts, passing, etc.?

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