Back On Track - Phantoms End Three-Game Skid With 6-4 Win

Saturday, February 18, 2017
Radel Fazleev provided a spark with his breakaway goal in the second period. Photo: Amanda Statland/Highland Park Hockey
Six different goal scorers for Lehigh Valley

Written by: Tony Androckitis - Twitter/Facebook

ALLENTOWN - Heading into Saturday night's game in the rematch against Hartford, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms had plenty of things going against them.

For starters, they were in the midst of a three-game losing streak - a season high. They had also lost the previous three meetings against the WolfPack, including a 1-7 record against Hartford all-time at PPL Center. Then there was the five straight losses on Saturday games for the Phantoms.

But the home team pulled through with a big win to get back on track heading into the final game of an infamous three-in-three weekend in the AHL with a 6-4 win over Hartford in an entertaining, thrill-a-minute hockey game.

The Phantoms' (33-16-2) often talked about depth showed up, as six different players - Greg Carey, Colin McDonald, T.J. Brennan, Radel Fazleev - Danick Martel and Andy Miele - all tallied goals in the win, with Brennan, Martel and Miele recording a goal and an assist each to pace the Phantoms' attack. Anthony Stolarz almost quietly came through with 40 saves on 44 shots to improve to 12-6 on the season.

After the jump, a full recap of the action complete with post-game reaction from head coach Scott Gordon and video interviews with Radel Fazleev, Colin McDonald and Andy Miele.

And a new addition to our Phantoms' coverage - goal GIF's! There were plenty of those tonight.


Anthony Stolarz (40 saves - 44 shots) got the start in net tonight against Hartford. Anthony Stolarz, who surrendered five goals in Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday night, should be back in net Saturday in a rematch against these same WolfPack.

Scott Laughton returned to the Phantoms' lineup this weekend, which helped the team's depth down the middle.

Sam Morin missed his second game of the weekend tonight, serving the second of a two-game suspension for a cross-checking hit in Tuesday's loss to the Penguins. Morin had appeared in 125 straight games for the Phantoms up until this weekend, not missing a single game in his pro career to date.

Taylor Leier missed his eighth straight game with concussion symptoms that resurfaced before the team's first game back from the All-Star break in Albany two weeks ago. He was seen getting on the ice after Phantoms' practice Monday, skating with other injured forwards Scott Laughton and Boyd Gordon, but doesn't appear to be close to a return at this point.

Boyd Gordon, who left in the Wednesday home game against Binghamton after a sliding BSens' forward crunched into his legs in the corner boards, is expected to miss a few weeks with a knee injury.

Scratches: Sam Morin (suspension), Chris McCarthy (healthy), Taylor Leier (undisclosed injury) and Boyd Gordon (lower body)

Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics)

Mark Zengerle - Scott Laughton - Colin McDonald
Danick Martel - Corban Knight - Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Greg Carey - Andy Miele - Chris Conner
Radel Fazleev - Chris McCarthy - Cole Bardreau

T.J. Brennan - Reece Willcox
Will O'Neill - Mark Alt
Robert Hagg - Travis Sanheim

Anthony Stolarz - Alex Lyon


It nearly looked like a re-run of Friday night's game in the opening minutes of the first period tonight between the Phantoms and WolfPack. Hartford opened up a 7-0 lead in the shot column and took a 1-0 lead 3:01 into the game after a neutral zone turnover by Lehigh Valley.

After the stretch pass was intercepted, the Phantoms were unable to clear the puck out of their own zone before the puck made its way around the perimeter to Justin Fontaine, who patiently waited out a Phantoms' defender in front of him and fired a quick shot that beat Anthony Stolarz low to the blocker side.
That's about where the comparison between the two games against Hartford ended.

The Phantoms were firing pucks on net early on and nearly missing picking corners, making the shots margin a bit deceptive. That changed in after the opening seven or eight minutes as the shots went from 8-1 WolfPack to 11-8 Phantoms before the first period was all said and done.

Danick Martel was high-sticked 6:42 into the period by Steven Fogarty, drawing blood and a double-minor power play for Lehigh Valley.

The Phantoms, who went 0-for-7 on the man advantage 24 hours ago, made the power play count - tying the game at 1-1 after a bad turnover by rookie goaltender Brandon Halverson. Halverson tried to do too much when going behind his net to retrieve a puck, settling it down and attempting to clear the puck up the middle himself.

Instead, Andy Miele intercepted the puck in the left-wing circle and sent it to the slot for Greg Carey, whose pass to Chris Conner at the side of the net bounced off Conner's skate and darted through the crease. The puck somehow ended up right back on Carey's stick in the slot, and he finished it off for his 23rd goal of the season and league-leading 15th power play tally in 2016-17 - tying the game at 1-1 with 12:42 left in the opening period.
The Phantoms' shooting gallery continued about five minutes later, with a series of five or six shots in succession during one sequence ending with a go-ahead goal by Colin McDonald. McDonald's 18th of the season came on a quick put back shot from the point after Halverson was under seige - turning aside several shots before a rebound went out to McDonald at the right point. The go-ahead goal with 6:48 left before the 1st intermission gave Lehigh Valley a 2-1 lead heading into the second period.
The middle frame was thrill-a-minute hockey, as the two teams combined for five goals in the period. Fortunately for Lehigh Valley, the Phantoms tallied three of those five goals and extended their lead to 5-3 heading to the final frame.

The Phantoms appeared to pick up where they left off after the first frame, as T.J. Brennan finished off a thread-the-needle type centering feed from Danick Martel 2:03 into the middle frame to extend the Phantoms' lead to 3-1. Brennan's knee-drop one-timer was his 14th of the season and draws him within two goals of 2nd all-time for goals among AHL defensemen.

Hartford responded, drawing back within one just 62 seconds after Brennan's goal with Robin Kovacs tallying his second of the season. 

Marek Hrivik tied the game up at 3-3 near the midway mark of the period on his second goal in as many games against the Phantoms this weekend - finishing off a back door tap in from a pass that came from behind the net from Chris Brown.

As the players mentioned post-game, this Phantoms team is a confident group that never feels like they are out of a game. With the game back to even at 3-3 and momentum against them, they turned the tides and grabbed the momentum back with 5:45 left before the second intermission.

Stuck in their defensive zone for the beginning of their shift, Radel Fazleev stepped into a shooting lane and blocked a shot - picking up the loose puck and turning on the jets for a clean breakaway from center ice. Fazleev went forehand to backhand and through Halverson's five-hole to re-gain the Phantoms' lead at 4-3 on his fourth goal of the season.
It wasn't long after Fazleev's goal that the Phantoms extended the lead to 5-3. Just under two minutes later, Corban Knight stole a puck in the neutral zone and sent it to the right wing to Danick Martel, who entered the zone with speed and cut into the middle before firing a quick shot past Halverson for his 13th of the season.

Hartford came out for the third period and really took it to the Phantoms - out shooting Lehigh Valley 24-5 in the final frame and making things interesting with 14:13 to play when Steven Fogarty put a rebound in past Stolarz to make it a one-goal game.

The Phantoms were not to be denied of their first win in their last four games - capitalizing on a double-minor power play midway through the third period to complete the 6-4 final score. T.J. Brennan took a pass from Will O'Neill and blasted a one-timer on Halverson that the WolfPack goaltender was able to get a piece of, but the puck blooped up into the air and behind him before Andy Miele swarmed in and batted the puck across the goal line for his 6th of the season. 
Things did not end peacefully for the final face-off of the night with 1.3 seconds left. Andy Miele won a face-off, jokingly saying post-game he was bearing down to up his face-off winning percentage, and noted pot-stirrer Tanner Glass threw a heavy two-handed slash on Miele that caused a full on line-brawl to erupt after the final horn.

Goaltender Anthony Stolarz even made his way into the scrum to separate and move some WolfPack players out of the way with Hartford rookie netminder Brandon Halverson looking on.

The main event. Greg Carey versus Chris Brown. And we all thought Carey wasn't much of a fighter.



1st Period

3:01: HFD - Fontaine (8) - Kampfer, Brown
6:42: HFD - (PP) Fogarty, double-minor (high-sticking)
7:18: LV - PPG Carey (23) - Conner, Miele
13:12: LV - McDonald (18) - Laughton, Zengerle
13:44: HFD - (PP) Kovacs, minor (tripping)
16:50: HFD - (PP) Carey, minor (boarding)
18:54: LV - (PP) O'Neill, minor (high-sticking)

2nd Period

2:03: LV - Brennan (14) - Martel
3:05: HFD - Kovacs (2) - Stromwall, Kampfer
3:56: LV - (PP) Hagg, minor (roughing)
9:29: HFD - Hrivik (12) - Brown, Graves

3rd Period

5:47: HFD - Fogarty (5) - Bodie, Chapie
6:05: LV - (PP) Fazleev, minor (hooking)
10:27: HFD - (PP) Bodie, minor (slashing)
10:27: HFD - (PP) Bodie, minor (roughing)
10:27: HFD - Bodie, minor (hooking)
10:27: LV - Aube-Kubel, minor (roughing)
10:41: LV - PPG Miele (6) - Brennan, O'Neill
20:00: LV - Carey, major (fighting)
20:00: HFD - Brown, major (fighting)


Lehigh Valley 2 - 3 - 1 = 6
Hartford   1 - 2 - 1 = 4


Lehigh Valley   11 - 11 - 5 = 27
Hartford    8 - 12 - 24 = 44


LV - Anthony Stolarz (40 saves - 44 shots)
HFD - Brandon Halverson (21 saves - 27 shots)

Power Play

LV: 2-for-6
HFD: 0-for-4

Penalty Kill

LV: 4-for-4
HFD: 4-for-6

Attendance: 8,683 - 11th sellout crowd at PPL Center this season


ironpigpen said...

I believe you meant to write that Steven Swavely was the healthy scratch on Saturday night. I also find it interesting that, for the second evening in a row at the PPL Center in Allentown, the team that piled up more than forty shots on goal actually lost the game. Not quite as lopsided as Friday night, to be certain, but a shot differential of + 17 is also somewhat noticeable.

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