|Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey|
Written by: Tony Androckitis - Twitter/Facebook
BINGHAMTON - If there's one thing opposing teams can count on when facing the Lehigh Valley Phantoms this season, it's that they can never be counted out of a game - especially in the third period.
The Phantoms this season have outscored their opponents 66-34 in the third period, and Friday night in Binghamton they turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 regulation win in the final frame.
Jordan Weal got the Phantoms on the board early in the third period less than a minute after an "absolutely hilarious" save by Alex Lyon kept the Phantoms in a one-goal game. With 5:05 left, Nicolas Aube-Kubel stole a puck in the neutral zone and turned on the jets - turning a BSens defender inside out and firing a shot from the wing to the short side past Chris Driedger for the go-ahead goal.
With the win, the Phantoms enter their final game before the All-Star break in Bridgeport Saturday with a three-game win streak and wins in five of their last six.
After the jump, a full recap of the action complete with post-game reaction from head coach Scott Gordon, Alex Lyon, Nicolas Aube-Kubel and a video interview with Jordan Weal.
Head coach Scott Gordon:
On the high-octane pace in Binghamton:
It seems like there is always a lot of penalties. There's not a whole lot of rhythm to the game. One team gets three penalties, then the other team gets three. THere's always five-on-threes. I don't know if that's the reason. Both goalies played great. Both teams played really well.On the third period comeback:
Honestly, there was some situations that we thought we scored in the first in the second period. It's not like we weren't generating any offense. You just keep telling the guys to keep pushing and it's going to come. And it did tonight.On turning point being Lyon's save early in the third, Weal's goal next shift:
It's a huge turning point. Alex obviously made some big saves. That was the best one of the night because of the situation that it happened in.Goaltender Alex Lyon
On third period save from his stomach:
I was telling some of the guys it was a pretty hilarious save. I just stuck my leg up and it hit me on the outside of the foot - just how you draw it up. Nah, I mean sometimes those things happen and fortunate to be on the right end of it.Forward Nicolas Aube-Kubel
On re-building confidence this week:
Being out of the lineup made me realize that every time you're in you have to play the hardest you can.On his goal:
The defense decided to back off. I had so much speed that I just needed to get the puck behind him and shoot. I was off wide and I just wanted to shoot and see what happens. It was an important goal for us and it helped close the game.
The Phantoms and BSens played a fast and furious opening 20 minutes tonight in Binghamton.
Lehigh Valley got into some early penalty trouble, with Jordan Weal victimized for almost back-to-back minor penalties in the opening six minutes of play.
Alex Lyon was tested early and often, but came up with some big stops on the two penalty kills to keep the BSens off the board.
Meanwhile, the Phantoms got their chances on the man advantage late in the opening period after a double-minor for high-sticking on Andreas Englund and a trip on Michael Kostka gave Lehigh Valley a full two minutes of 5-on-3.
Chris Driedger was up to the task, as the BSens were hemmed in their own zone the entire two minutes. If not for several bigtime stops by Driedger, the Phantoms power play would have gotten the game's first goal.
Instead, the BSens killed off the 5-on-3 and nearly scored a fluke shorthanded goal when a hard shot off the back boards banked out of the zone right to an exiting BSens defender from the penalty box. Kostka came in all alone on Lyon but missed the net.
All in all, 29 shots were fired on net between the two teams in the opening 20 minutes. The pace was fantastic. There were a ton off chances exchanged, but the goalies stole the show in the first frame.
The break-neck pace continued in the middle frame, as the teams continued to exchange chances.
Midway through the period, the Phantoms nearly took a 1-0 lead when T.J. Brennan took a pass atop the right-wing circle on a power play. Brennan's one-timer beat Driedger, but hit the inside of the post and bounced out.
A very questionable too many men call on Lehigh Valley late in the second period, with the Phantoms already shorthanded, gave the BSens their first look at 5-on-3 action. Unlike the Phantoms, who did everything but score on their two-man advantage, Binghamton cashed in for the first goal of the night some 35 minutes into the game.
Jason Akeson's intial point shot was blocked by Corban Knight, who was slow to get up after blocking the hard shot. The puck came right back to Akeson at the right point and his second slap shot through traffic eluded Lyon to give Binghamton the game's first goal with 4:09 left before the second intermission. Phil Varone and Francis Perron added assists on the BSens' power play goal.
Phantoms' head coach Scott Gordon was irate at the too many men call and demanded referee David Banfield come to the Phantoms' bench for an explanation.
In the final minutes of the middle frame, the Phantoms had several chances - Greg Carey himself had a few hard shots toward Driedger's net - but were unable to find the equalizer heading to the third period down 1-0 despite a 27-25 shot advantage.
An early third period penalty on Scott Laughton gave the BSens momentum, and although they didn't score on the ensuing power play they appeared to take a 2-0 lead shortly after.
Jack Rodewald picked up a rebound and had Lyon down and out on his stomach with an empty net to score on but some way, some how, Lyon flung his right leg out and got just a piece of Rodewald's shot to deflect it up and over the net and off the glass.
The save turned out to be the turning point in the game, as the Phantoms tied the game up not even a minute later off the rush.
Reece Willcox quickly transitioned up ice and got the puck ahead to Danick Martel, breaking two-on-two with Weal. Weal had a step on his defender as Martel entered the offensive zone, and it was a good heads up play by Martel to recognize the situation and send a perfect area pass for Weal to collect.
With a defender on his back, Weal went forehand to backhand to roof one past Driedger for his 15th of the season 4:51 into the third period.
The back-and-forth play never stopped tonight. It wasn't until there was just over five minutes left that the Phantoms took the lead and completed yet another third period comeback.
Nicolas Aube-Kubel stole a puck in the neutral zone and turned on the jets - flying past BSens defender Patrick Sieloff. Aube-Kubel was rewarded for his effort, as his shot from the wing eluded Driedger and sneaked past the BSens goaltender with 5:05 left.
The BSens pulled their goalie and peppered Lyon with shots in the final 90 seconds, but Lehigh Valley held on for the 2-1 win to improve to 4-0 against Binghamton and 12-1-1 against teams from the North Division this season.
ROSTER NOTES - Phantoms
Alex Lyon (41 saves - 42 shots) got the start in net tonight for the Phantoms in Binghamton. Anthony Stolarz served as the team's backup goaltender.
Will O'Neill, who missed Wednesday's game with the flu, returned to the Phantoms' lineup on defense. Mark Alt served as the healthy scratch on defense.
Corban Knight and Radel Fazleev, healthy scratches on Wednesday night in Allentown, returned to the lineup up front for Lehigh Valley. Mark Zengerle and Boyd Gordon sat out tonight's game with healthy scratch designations.
Radel Fazleev blocked a shot and looked to be in serious pain in the first period. He returned to the game later in the first period for a shift or two but did not return to the game.
Scratches: Mark Alt (healthy), Mark Zengerle (healthy) and Boyd Gordon (healthy)
Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics)
Taylor Leier (A) - Scott Laughton - Colin McDonald (C)
Danick Martel - Jordan Weal - Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Greg Carey - Andy Miele - Chris Conner
Cole Bardreau - Radel Fazleev - Corban Knight
T.J. Brennan - Reece Willcox
Will O'Neill - Robert Hagg
Sam Morin - Travis Sanheim
Alex Lyon - Anthony Stolarz
4:09: LV - (PP) Weal, minor (high-sticking)
6:54: LV - (PP) Weal, minor (tripping)
14:11: BNG - (PP) Englund, double-minor (high-sticking)
15:46: BNG - (PP) Kostka, minor (tripping)
9:50: BNG - (PP) Sieloff, minor (holding)
14:12: LV - (PP) Laughton, minor (roughing)
15:19: LV - (PP) bench minor, too many men (served by Martel)
15:51: BNG - PPG Akeson (5) - Varone, Perron
1:03: LV - (PP) Laughton, minor (high-sticking)
4:51: LV - Weal (15) - Martel, Willcox
5:20: BNG - (PP) Paul, minor (holding)
14:55: LV - Aube-Kubel (6) - unnassisted
15:03: LV - Weal, minor (holding)
15:03: BNG - Flanagan, minor (high-sticking)