|Jordan Weal is currently tied for 2nd in the AHL in scoring. Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey|
Written by: Tony Androckitis - Twitter/Facebook
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms (4-3-1) finished their five-game road trip with back-to-back wins, including tonight's 4-2 win up in Providence. The Phantoms went 3-2 on their longest road trip of the season, and will take a roughly four and a half hour bus ride back to Allentown, Pa overnight in advance of their first home game in two weeks when they host the Springfield Thunderbirds Saturday night at the PPL Center.
Mark Zengerle, Nicolas Aube-Kubel and Greg Carey scored goals to give Lehigh Valley a 3-1 lead before Providence narrowed it to a one-goal game late in regulation. Scott Laughton, playing in a limited fourth line role in his first game this season, tallied an unassisted empty net goal in the final minute to seal the deal on the 4-2 win. Anthony Stolarz stopped 27 of the 29 shots he faced to improve to 4-2-0 on the season
In an otherwise uneventful first period, the Phantoms and Bruins traded goals on a combined 10 shots.
First, Mark Zengerle gave Lehigh Valley a 1-0 lead just 10 seconds into the game's first power play - taking a great pass from Jordan Weal and roofing a backhander past Malcolm Subban 7:44 into the contest. It was Zengerle's 4th goal of the season, tying him for the team lead with Colin McDonald.
Providence got things going in the second half of the period, tying the game with 3:24 left before the first intermission as Anton Blidh finished off a reboound of Wayne Simpson's drive to the net for his third goal of the season. Jordan Szwarz added an assist on the play.
After a sluggish opening period for both teams, the pace and intensity was cranked up in the 2nd period. The ten combined shots in the first period were matched just six minutes into the middle frame, and shortly after that the Phantoms re-gained the lead.
Robert Hagg forced a neutral zone turnover and quickly sent a puck up ice to Radel Fazleev on a 2-on-1 rush with Nicolas Aube-Kubel. Fazleev's pass was on the money and Aube-Kubel finished off what was basically an empty net goal at the 7:36 mark to make it a 2-1 Phantoms lead.
Things got ugly in the final minute of the period, as Colby Cave lined up and blasted Travis Sanheim from behind into the divider between the team benches. Cave was assessed a major for boarding on the play, but Cole Bardreau was assessed a game misconduct in the scrum that ensued.
The end result was a Phantoms' power play that turned into a 5-on-3 man advantage with 16.3 seconds left in the period as Chris Porter was whistled for high-sticking. Somehow, the Phantoms were held off the scoresheet before the period ended as both Will O'Neill and Jordan Weal hit posts on back-to-back shots in the final seconds of the period.
Greg Carey scored on the two-man advantage just 42 seconds into the third period to extend the Phantoms' lead to 3-1.
Weal, from the half-wall, got a puck up top to Brennan whose shot was blocked right back to him. Brennan then slid the puck across to Carey atop the right-wing face-off circle, who fired a quick shot past Subban for his 4th goal of the season.
Providence would make things interesting late, getting within a goal in the final 3:37 of regulation, but it's as close as they would get. Scott Laughton added an unassisted empty net goal in the final minute to preserve the two points for Lehigh Valley.
ROSTER NOTES - Phantoms
Anthony Stolarz (27 saves - 29 shots) got his third straight start in net for Lehigh Valley. Alex Lyon served as the team's backup goaltender.
Scott Laughton made his season debut tonight, reassigned to the Phantoms on a conditioning loan. Tyrell Goulbourne was scratched to make room in the lineup.
Danick Martel (knee) missed his third straight game.
Scratches: Tyrell Goulbourne, Danick Martel (knee), Max Lamarche 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
Scott Laughton - Radel Fazleev - Corban Knight
T.J. Brennan - Reece Willcox
Sam Morin - Travis Sanheim
Will O'Neill (A) - Robert Hagg
Anthony Stolarz - Alex Lyon
7:34: PRO - (PP) Bartkowski, minor (high-sticking)
7:44: LV - PPG Zengerle (4) - Weal
10:40: LV - McDonald, minor (roughing)
10:40: PRO - Cross, minor (roughing)
10:40: PRO - (PP) Cross, minor (interference)
16:36: PRO - Blidh (3) - Simpson, Szwarz
7:36: LV - Aube-Kubel (2) - Fazleev, Hagg
19:15: LV - Bardreau, major (fighting)
19:15: PRO - Cave, major (fighting)
19:15: PRO - (PP) Cave, minor (boarding)
19:43: PRO - (PP) Porter, minor (high-sticking)
0:42: LV - PPG Carey (4) - Brennan, Weal
1:47: LV - (PP) Leier, minor (holding the stick)
8:18: PRO - (PP) Casto, minor (high-sticking)
14:17: LV - (PP) Bardreau, minor (hooking)
16:23: PRO - Szwarz (3) - Porter, Cross
19:13: LV - ENG Laughton (1) - unassisted