Phantoms Win Frantic Finish With Hershey

Friday, December 16, 2016
Photo: Highland Park Hockey
Lyon Leads Lehigh Valley to Shootout Win 

Written by: Tony Androckitis - Twitter/Facebook

ALLENTOWN - The Lehigh Valley Phantoms haven't held back from the dramatics so far this week, and it continued Friday night against rival Hershey in front of 7,081 fans at the PPL Center.

The Phantoms needed to play catch up, but evened the score late in the second period and battled all the way through to their first shootout of the season thanks to an incredible point blank save by Alex Lyon in the final seconds of overtime.

In the shootout, Andy Miele was able to convert for the only goal in the three rounds of breakaways to secure the two points and give the Phantoms a perfect 4-0 record on their current season-high six game home stand with one more game Saturday night before the team goes on an extended break for the holidays.

After the jump, a full recap of the action complete with post-game reaction from head coach Scott Gordon, goaltender Alex Lyon and a special video interview with Greg Carey.


Head coach Scott Gordon:

On the first shootout of the season:
Usually at this point in the year you know who your shooters are. But because we haven't had any and we have a lot of new guys we were kind of scratching our heads as to who was going to go. Nobody has been that dominating in practice with it. It worked out well tonight.
On Lyon's rebound from six goals allowed Wednesday:
I think for Alex it was a good game for him after Wednesday and the frustration of giving up six goals anytime, as a goaltender is frustrating. To be able to bounce back and have his performance tonight be as good as it was. I don't think we gave up the same caliber chances that we did Wednesday but he made some key saves. He did a really good job of controlling rebounds and finding pucks. 
On doing the right things tonight:
I really thought - especially in the third period - we did such a good job of handling all of their misdirection plays in our defensive zone and kept them to the outside. Their final shots for the period was only three. There were probably three shifts where the puck never came to us but they weren't able to penetrate and get an opportunity to the net. That's real good focus by our guys in the zone not to panic and hold their positions and not lose coverage and read off each other.
On the confidence, regardless of situation, that team will come out on top:
It's been that way pretty much all year. I know they feel it. I don't think they ever think that they;re out of a game. We just have to get to the point where when the opponent thinks that they are out of the game that they keep thinking they're out of the game, and we'll be alright.
On emptying tank tomorrow before the break:
It should be. Our guys have done a really good job here in coming off all the road games. To be able to get to this point - I think it's four games in a row that we've won at home - those are the games when you win those and come back from the break we play at home and play on the road again for three straight. You want to try to get those points at home as much as you can. So far, we've done well and one more to go before we get on the break.
Goaltender Alex Lyon:

On the final seconds of overtime and the incredible save with his back on the ice:
Umm.. hold on for dear life. SOS.. that type of mentality I think. No I'm kidding. It's just one of those where it's a mad scramble so you just do anything you can to keep it out. It's a lot of adrenaline at that point so you're not really able to dictate a play.
On his first pro shootout & the mindset:
I've always felt pretty comfortable in shootouts. In Omaha, I think we set a USHL record for shootout wins which is pretty sweet. Ever since then, I felt pretty comfortable and feel like I have a good game plan. It's not always going to that way obviously, but it was nice to get the win.


The Phantoms and Bears started the game with no whistles through the first 5:16 of play - just two teams going back and forth in a great pace to start the night.

After a few shifts, the Phantoms started getting to their game - playing with speed and skill and forcing the Bears into taking some penalties.

The first came as a bench minor for too many men, and while the Phantoms didn't capitalize on their first man advantage it wasn't long before they were back on the power play. They were transitioning up ice smoothly and quickly, giving the Bears some trouble defensively.

Mark Zengerle was tripped in the neutral zone near the midway point of the first frame, but again the Phantoms were unable to cash in on the man advantage.

Despite the scoreless game through the first 13 minutes, the Phantoms appeared in control. Save for a chance off the rush by Nathan Walker - that Alex Lyon was able to stop - the puck was mainly in the Phantoms' offensive zone.

That changed quickly, however.

Danick Martel was whistled for tripping with 3:37 left before the first intermission and Hershey quickly capitalized on their first man advantage of the night to take a 1-0 lead.

Paul Carey got a puck to the left wing to Liam O'Brien, who connected on a tic-tac-toe passing display to Travis Boyd at the back door for an easy tap in. Lyon had zero chance to make the stop sliding from his right to left. Boyd's 8th of the season was his fourth against Lehigh Valley this season. He's been a Phantoms-killer.

Lehigh Valley bounced right back to tie things up just 1:28 later. Chris Conner got a puck behind the net over to Greg Carey, and Carey did the rest - wheeling the puck out in front and absolutely sniping one from the right-wing face-off dot to the far side top corner on Vitek Vanecek.

Unfortunately for Lehigh Valley, Hershey re-gained their lead just before the first intermission.

It was O'Brien's second primary assist of the period as he chipped a puck ahead in the offensive zone to Stanislav Galiev, who had sneaked behind the Phantoms' defense. Galiev finished it off with a quick deke and floating shot to the top shelf on Lyon to give Hershey a 2-1 lead heading to the second period.

The middle frame was a chess match between these two top teams in the Eastern Conference.

Lehigh Valley forced the issue at times - notably a Colin McDonald mini-breakaway and a Scott Laughton chance in the slot in the opening six minutes - but credit to Bears' goaltender Vitek Vanecek for making some tough saves to keep the game at a 2-1 deficit for the Phantoms.

Hershey also had their fair share of offensive zone time in the second period too, though it didn't show up in the stat sheet as the Phantoms were able to mainly keep the Bears to the outside. It almost looked like Hershey was on a power play at times the way they were passing it around the perimeter.

With less than five minutes left before the second intermission, Danick Martel drew his team a power play when his hustle to win a puck battle behind the Bears net resulted in a Chandler Stephenson tripping minor.

The Phantoms didn't score on the ensuing power play, making it an 0-for-3 night on the man advantage to that point, but the game-tying goal wasn't far away. In fact, 20 seconds after Stephenson's penalty expired, Colin McDonald got a loose puck down low to T.J. Brennan and somehow, Brennan's shot from below the left-wing circle picked the short side top corner over Vanecek's shoulder to tie the game at 2-2.

Brennan's 10th of the season came with 2:39 left in the second period sent the teams into the third period in a 2-2 deadlock.

It was quite the interesting start to the third in Allentown tonight. In the first 6:26 of the period, there were two reviews for possible goals - one for each team.

Early in the period, a blooping puck in the Phantoms' defensive zone was swatted at by a Bears forward - clanking off the crossbar and bouncing out to the side of the net behind Lyon's best attempt at a snow angel. That was reviewed and determined no goal about 90 seconds of game play after the play had happened.

Later, Danick Martel got a Grade-A chance and thought he scored off his shot in the slot - initially raising his arms to celebrate. The red goal light came on, but a quick review determined it was a routine right-pad save for Vanecek.

The Phantoms had plenty of chances to get the go-ahead goal in regulation. Martel was at it again later in the period on a 2-on-1 rush with Nicolas Aube-Kubel. Martel executed a toe drag to perfection to get around a sliding Bears' defender, but Martel was hooked by a back checking Bears forward and pushed his backhand shot off the side of the net.

Lehigh Valley had a glorious chance to end the game in regulation when Cole Bardreau was hooked in defensive zone by Travis Boyd with 2:25 left.

Chris Conner was able to get a piece of a point shot, but Vanecek came up with a big stop to keep the game deadlocked at 2-2. Zach Sill got to the rebound and cleared the puck out of the zone, and on his way up ice he was clipped by Brennan - ending the Phantoms power play and giving the Bears 33 seconds of carryover power play time to start the overtime session.

The excitement continued in OT. There weren't any whistles until 14.4 left left before the eventual shootout, but not before Scott Laughton nearly ended the game. Laughton hit the crossbar on a 3-on-1 rush in the final minute.

The game-saving play by Lehigh Valley came with less than five seconds left in overtime during the very brief 3-on-3 portion of overtime thanks to the carryover penalty and lack of whistles in the extra session.

Hershey got a puck into the slot and Lyon reserved his best save of the night as time was winding down in OT. Falling onto his back, Lyon was able to get enough of himself into the way of the puck to prevent a heart-breaking goal. The rebound darted out into the middle where a Bears' defenseman sailed a shot at the empty net over the cage.

Lehigh Valley prevailed in the shootout - getting the lone goal in the final round from Andy Miele on a calm, cool and collected forehand to backhand move that went to the top shelf.


Alex Lyon (21 saves - 23 shots, 3-for-3 in the shootout) got the start in net for Lehigh Valley tonight. Martin Ouellette served as Lyon's backup.

One lineup change from Wednesday night's wild 8-6 win over Bridgeport as defenseman Max Lamarche returned to the Lehigh Valley lineup

Defenseman Reece Willcox and forward Steven Swavely were the team's healthy scratches.

Scratches: Mark Alt (shoulder surgery), Steven Swavely (healthy) and Reece Willcox (healthy)

Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics)

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

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

Alex Lyon - Martin Ouellette


1st Period

5:16: HER - (PP) Bench minor, too many men
9:17: HER - (PP) Walker, minor (tripping)
16:23: LV - (PP) Martel, minor (tripping)
16:43: HER - PPG Boyd (8) - O'Brien, Carey
18:11: LV - Carey (13) - Conner
19:13: HER - Galiev (3) - O'Brien, Boyd

2nd Period

15:01: HER - (PP) Stephenson, minor (tripping)
17:21: LV - Brennan (10) - McDonald, Weal
19:06: HER - Mitchell, minor (roughing)
19:06: LV - Lamarche, minor (roughing)

3rd Period

17:35: HER - (PP) Boyd, minor (hooking)
18:33: LV - (PP) Brennan, minor (kneeing)


5:00: LV - (PP) Knight, minor (hooking)


Lehigh Valley

Brennan - no goal
Weal - no goal
Miele - GOAL


Djoos - no goal
Galiev - no goal
Thomas - no goal


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