Phantoms Kickoff Homestand With Win

Friday, December 9, 2016
Andy Miele's go-ahead goal in the 2nd period. Photo: Amanda Statland
Strong second period lifts Lehigh Valley 

Written by: Tony Androckitis - Twitter/Facebook

ALLENTOWN -  Through the first 19 minutes of the first period, it looked like it would be another frustrating night for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms - similar to Wednesday night's game in Syracuse where the team fired 50 shots on net and lost 4-2.

The Phantoms were down 2-0 tonight and on the penalty kill, despite out shooting the Rochester Americans 14-6.

Then, momentum shifted a complete 180.

Not only did Lehigh Valley kill the penalty, but the guilty Phantoms player in the box - Travis Sanheim - hopped into play and caught a breakaway pass. Sanheim converted and gave the Phantoms life with 12.5 seconds left before the first intermission.

From there, the Phantoms dominated the second period and tallied three times on goals from Greg Carey, Andy Miele and Chris Conner - giving them enough to hold on for a 4-3 win tonight to kick off the season-high six game homestand.

These two teams rematch Saturday night at the PPL Center.

After the jump, a full recap of the action complete with post-game reaction from head coach Scott Gordon, Andy Miele and a video interview with Travis Sanheim.


Head coach Scott Gordon

Post-game thoughts:
We had some tough luck on the goals scored against us, and gave up a couple chances on our power play. It could have easily been 4-0 after the first. To get that goal at the end of their power play with 12 seconds left is huge.
We didn't play poorly in the first period ... but I had a feeling just based on how we were generating chances in the first period that it was going to continue. The second period was phenomenal. I don't the final time was in our defensive zone but there wasn't a lot of time (spent) there. We gave up a couple chances in the beginning of the period, and then it was all us after that.
On his team feeling playing the right way:
The last two games, it hasn't happened by accident. We have worked to create the chances by creating turnovers and putting pressure on the opposition. We're not standing still waiting, we're taking the play to the opposition.
We try to do that every game, but we have been able to focus on that for 60 minutes and done it the last two games. I think as you get used to playing that way, hopefully it's something that builds and you continue to do it every night.
Forward Andy Miele

On what was clicking in 2nd period:
We didn't have a great first period, and we've been doing that a lot lately. We need to fix that, for one, but it's good that we can respond like that and take it to teams.
On late 1st period goal sparking comeback:
That was huge. You score a goal with under two minutes left when its your side it's great. When it's the other way around it's tough going into the locker room, so that was huge for us.
On the power play clicking tonight:
Some nights you're just feeling it. We shouldn't, with the talent that we have, have a problem moving the puck like that against any team. We work on it a lot, and it's just going to continue to get better as the season goes along.
On kicking off homestand with a win:
It's great. It;s so much fun winning in front of this crowd. To have that ahead of us, and confidence which is huge, we're excited.


The Phantoms came out firing pucks on net much like their 50-shot game Wednesday night in Syracuse, getting the game's first three shots on net and really taking it to Rochester in the opening few shifts.

After a Phantoms icing call, the Amerks took the 1-0 lead. Alex Nylander, son of longtime NHL'er Michael Nylander, picked off a Phantoms clearing attempt at the blue line and got the puck across the point to Evan Rodrigues for a point shot that missed the mark. Unfortunately for Lehigh Valley, the puck bounced off the back wall and came out to the other side of the net where Justin Bailey was waiting for an easy tap in goal.

Still, Lehigh Valley was pressuring and creating scoring chances. They went on the game's first power play after Nick Baptiste boarded Scott Laughton along the team benches, and had some near-misses on point shot deflections and shots in high-scoring areas.

Instead, the Amerks killed off the penalty and took a 2-0 lead seconds later - converting off the rush on a pretty passing display. Cole Schneider, in transition, got a puck over to Cal O'Reilly who dropped one at the left-wing circle for Baptiste. The shot was wired to the top left corner and Baptiste's team-leading 11th of the season in just his 15th game extended the Amerks lead.

It seemed things were going from bad to worse for the Phantoms late in the opening period. Despite out shooting Rochester by a 14-6 margin, they found themselves down 2-0 and heading to the penalty kill with 2:20 left before the first intermission.

Not only did Lehigh Valley kill off Travis Sanheim's slashing minor, Sanheim made up for his late period penalty when he exited the penalty box.

Chris Conner sent a perfect pass to the middle that Sanheim caught and entered the offensive zone on a clean breakaway. His backhand to forehand move worked, and he beat Ullmark low to the blocker side with 12.5 seconds left in the first period - cutting the Phantoms' deficit in half at 2-1 heading to the middle frame. Sanheim's first of the season made him the 20th different goal scorer for Lehigh Valley this season, in their 24th game this season.

Sanheim's late first period tally proved to be a big time momentum shift for Lehigh Valley. They dominated the middle frame - out shooting Rochester 19-6 and tallying three goals to completely turn the game around.

First, it was Greg Carey on an absolute bomb of a shot off an offensive zone face-off win by Andy Miele. Miele won the draw back to Carey, and Carey did the rest. His quick release never gave Ullmark a chance. Carey's 11th of the season tied the game at 2-2 at the 5:08 mark of the period.

The Phantoms weren't done there either. A delay of game penalty on Nylander just 10 seconds after Carey's game-tying goal gave Lehigh Valley their third power play of the night. And the third time was the charm.

A series of tic-tac-toe passes from Jordan Weal to Chris Conner to Andy Miele ended up with Miele having an open half of a net to put home his 2nd of the season. Goals 27 seconds apart saw the Phantoms go from trailing 2-1 to ahead 3-2. Just like that.

Lehigh Valley kept coming in waves, spending most of the second period in the offensive zone. They added to their lead late in the period after another delay of game penalty on Rochester gave the Phantoms their third power play of the period.

T.J. Brennan's point shot through traffic didn't find the back of the net, being deflected by Colin McDonald and blocked down in front, but Conner did a great job locating the loose puck atop the Amerks' crease. Conner muscled his way into the goal-mouth scramble, used an expert toe-drag and stuffed it home to put the Phantoms ahead 4-2 entering the third period.

Things got chippy in the third period, potentially setting the tone for Saturday night's rematch between these two teams.

A big scrum along the Phantoms' bench at the 8:29 mark saw 6-foot-7 Sam Morin challenge and fight 5-11 Mike Aviani. Things went about as you'd expect for a guy giving up over 30 pounds and almost a foot in height. Morin threw Aviani to the ice, picked him up with one arm and slammed him back down onto the ice.

The result of the scrum was 16 minutes in penalties and a power play for Rochester, and the Amerks put the pressure on - converting on the man advantage to make it a one-goal game with 11:10 left in regulation.

Cal O'Reilly's shot at the point was deflected in the high-slot by Casey Nelson, and the puck fluttered to the left side of the net where Cole Schneider batted in his 10th of the season.

From there, the Phantoms held on for the 4-3 win - kicking off the six-game homestand with two points in the standings.


Alex Lyon (21 saves - 24 shots) got the start in net tonight against Rochester. Martin Ouellette served as the team's backup goaltender.

Defenseman Max Lamarche and forward Steven Swavely were reassigned to Reading (ECHL) after participating in the Phantoms' game day skate at PPL Center Friday morning. With Lehigh Valley's ECHL affiliate close by and also at home, it's a chance to keep guys fresh and get them playing.

AHL transactions also has forward Kevin Sundher joining the Phantoms from ECHL Reading. In 19 games with the Royals this season, Sundher has registered four goals and nine assists.

Mark Alt is skating at practice with the Phantoms in a red no-contact jersey. While he's not expected back until the end of the month, it's always a good sign to see a guy get back on the ice with the team after an extended absence. Alt's shoulder injury in the September 28th NHL preseason game against the New Jersey Devils required surgery and he hasn't played in a game yet this year.

Scratches: Kevin Sundher (healthy)

Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics)

Cole Bardreau - Scott Laughton - Colin McDonald (C)
Danick Martel - Jordan Weal - Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Greg Carey - Andy Miele - Mark Zengerle
Corban Knight - Radel Fazleev - Mark Zengerle

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

Alex Lyon - Martin Ouellette


1st Period

5:10: RCH - Bailey (8) - Rodrigues, Nylander
8:33: RCH - (PP) Baptiste, minor (boarding)
9:58: RCH - Baptiste (11) - O'Reilly, Schneider
13:27: RCH - (PP) Catenacci, minor (cross-checking)
17:40: LV - (PP) Sanheim, minor (slashing)
19:47: LV - Sanheim (1) - Conner

2nd Period

5:10: LV - Carey (11) - Miele
5:18: RCH - (PP) Nylander, minor (delay of game)
5:35: LV - PPG Miele (2) - Conner, Weal
7:01: RCH - (PP) Aviani, minor (roughing)
12:36: RCH - (PP) Baier, minor (delay of game)
14:30: LV - PPG Conner (5) - McDonald, Brennan
20:00: LV - Hagg, minor (roughing)
20:00: RCH - Schneider, minor (roughing)

3rd Period

8:29: LV - (PP) Brennan, minor (cross-checking)
8:29: LV - Brennan, minor (roughing)
8:29: LV - Morin, major (fighting)
8:29: RCH - Aviani, major (fighting)
8:29: RCH - Vaive, minor (roughing)
8:50: RCH - PPG Schneider (10) - Nelson, O'Reilly
10:02: LV - (PP) Miele, minor (slashing)


Post a Comment