Phantoms Shutout Hartford in Wednesday Matinee

Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Photo property of Highland Park Hockey
Phantoms Put Forth Strong Team Effort

Written by: Tony Androckitis, Twitter/Facebook

HARTFORD - In a rare 11 a.m. morning game Wednesday at the XL Center, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (3-3-1) came prepared and certainly weren't sluggish in a 4-0 shutout win over the Hartford WolfPack (3-5-0).

Anthony Stolarz recorded a 33-save shutout - his first since December 19th, 2014 in Hershey - that really set the tone for the game. T.J. Brennan tallied a goal and two assists, with both of his helpers coming in the way of his shots from the point getting re-directed into the net.

Cole Bardreau, Corban Knight and Mark Zengerle also tallied goals for the Phantoms in the win as the Phantoms improve to 2-0-1 in the season series with the WolfPack, with the last two games at the XL Center being lopsided Phantoms' wins.

The Phantoms head for Providence, Rhode Island in advance of Friday night's game against the Providence Bruins - the 5th and final game of the road trip before heading back to Allentown overnight Friday to host Springfield at the PPL Center on Saturday.

Full recap after the jump, plus thoughts from head coach Scott Gordon, goaltender Anthony Stolarz and a special video interview with hard-hat wearing T.J. Brennan.


Head coach Scott Gordon:

On tightening up defensively and limiting turnovers/chances against:
It's just nice to play a third period and not give up an odd man rush. Guys were really focused in that area. We talked about it after the weekend. When you get down to it we were losing games for the wrong reasons whether it's penalties and odd man rushes or making the wrong reads. We did really well in those two areas 
On the play of Anthony Stolarz:
In saying that, that was nothing like the game he played in Hershey. I thought in Hershey it was a much tougher game. Today was a game about positional play and controlling the rebounds which he did a really good job with.
On T.J. Brennan:
Guys like T.J., that's why they get points. They find a way to get pucks through and it's a real good job by him.
Anthony Stolarz

On his first shutout in over two years:
Anytime you get a shutout, you have a pretty good chance of winning. I think the biggest thing for us especially after last weekend was getting back on track. I thought it was our best game of the season. Guys played great defensively, we got some greasy goals tonight - guys crashing the net and tipping pucks. I think if we can continue to play like this I think we're going to have a lot of success.
On defense in front of him tightening up, making things easier for him:
I think when we simplify things and don't be fancy and try to do too much and keep things simple, we're a really good team. We have a lot of guys who will work their tail of and a lot of skill guys who can do some special things with the puck. Today, we kind of mixed that together. We played a really good overall game.
On building confidence:
Yeah, of course. Anytime you start the season there's that kind of feeling out process. Right now, I think I'm in a nice little rhythm. IT feels nice to get out there and everytime I get in net I feel more and more confident. Just have to keep that trend going. Usually when your goalie is playing well, the team kind of respond. Today, we responded with four goals so hopefully we can keep that going into the weekend. 


The Phantoms went on the power play 22 seconds into the contest, displaying good puck movement and five shots on the man advantage but unable to take an early 1-0 lead. From there, the Phantoms controlled the play in the opening six and a half minutes - opening up a 7-2 shots advantage and spending much of the opening minutes in the offensive zone.

Hartford's first shot of the game was a dangerous one, as a turnover behind the Phantoms' net almost proved costly. Instead, Anthony Stolarz came up with a big stop on a shot from the slot.

Lehigh Valley took a 1-0 lead on a heads up play in the offensive zone from T.J. Brennan, who passed the puck up ice into the offensive zone and cut into the middle - receiving a pass at the top of the left-wing circle and firing it past Magnus Hellberg with 8:45 left in the 1st frame. Jordan Weal and Taylor Leier added assists on the play.

Play started to even out in the middle part of the period, but Lehigh Valley turned up the heat in the final minutes of the period and were rewarded with their second goal of the game to take a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.

Mark Zengerle, who was stopped on a breakaway earlier in the period, got a puck down low and was robbed by Hellberg for a second time. Amidst the scramble atop the crease for the rebound, Cole Bardreau found the loose puck and lifted a rebound over a host of bodies to make it a 2-0 lead. Both Zengerle and Nicolas Aube-Kubel added assists on Bardreau's 1st of the season in his 3rd game back following off-season abdominal surgery.

The second period didn't bring any goals, but plenty of physical play and chirping. There were several post-whistle shoving matches as the teams are starting to get under each other's skin. Today marked the third meeting between the two teams in the past week and a half.

All in all, the WolfPack were the better team in the middle frame - outshooting the Phantoms by a 16-6 margin in the period. Luckily for Lehigh Valley, Stolarz was up to the task on all 16 shots in the period - making a big stop on Chris Summers late in the 2nd period when it appeared like Stolarz was down and out and it would be an easy empty net chance for the Wolf Pack.

In the third period, the Phantoms extended their lead to 4-0 on a pair of goals coming off point shots from Brennan.

First, Corban Knight had an expert deflection of Brennan's point shot from the slot that eluded Hellberg 2:51 into the final frame. Radel Fazleev added a secondary assist on the play.

Later in the period, Brennan was at it again - shooting one from the point that deflected off of Mark Zengerle's skate on its way past Hellberg to give the Phantoms a 4-0 lead.


Anthony Stolarz (33 saves - 33 shots) got the start in net today for Lehigh Valley. Alex Lyon served as the team's backup goaltender.

Sam Morin has avoided suspension for his hit on Travis Boyd Sunday in Hershey. He remained in the lineup, and Max Lamarche was the 7th defenseman.

Danick Martel (knee) is close and could return to the lineup this weekend, but he missed his second straight game after a knee-on-knee collision with Kyle Burroughs Saturday night in Bridgeport knocked him out of action. There was no update on his status for this weekend's games, so he appears to be day-to-day with that lower body ailment.

Scratches: Danick Martel (knee), Max Lamarache and Petr Straka

Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics)

Greg Carey - Andy Miele - Colin McDonald (C)
Taylor Leier (A) - Jordan Weal - Chris Conner
Cole Bardreau - Mark Zengerle - Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Tyrell Goulbourne - Radel Fazleev - Corban Knight

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

Anthony Stolarz - Alex Lyon


1st Period

0:22: HFD - (PP) Glass, minor (slashing)
11:15: LV - Brennan (3) - Weal, Willcox
18:52: LV - Bardreau (1) - Zengerle

2nd Period

2:33: LV - (PP) Fazleev, minor (tripping)
10:16: HFD - (PP) Stromwall, minor (tripping)

3rd Period

2:51: LV - Knight (2) - Brennan, Fazleev
8:52: LV - (PP) Aube-Kubel, minor (holding)
11:27: HFD - (PP) Fontaine, minor (holding)
14:55: LV - Zengerle (3) - Brennan


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