Phantoms Complete Comeback Against Albany

Friday, February 3, 2017
Photo: Tracey Lake -> @trace_1114
Phantoms Continue Third Period Dominance 

Written by: Tony Androckitis - Twitter/Facebook

Entering Friday night's game in Albany, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms had tallied 67 third period goals and outscored their opponents by a large margin in the final frame so far this season - a goal differential of 31. 

Go figure they'd use the third period to their advantage again, adding to their league-lead in third period goals (70) and 3rd period goal differential (+33).

Trailing 2-1 entering the final frame, the Phantoms tallied two goals just 26 seconds apart to take the lead. Despite a game-tying goal by Albany with 5:48 left to play, Lehigh Valley found a way to get it done - re-gaining the lead for good at 4-3 with 3:12 left and holding on for the regulation win.

Scott Laughton, Corban Knight, Chris Conner and Andy Miele all scored goals in the win for the Phantoms, who became the second team in the American Hockey League (AHL) to reach 30 wins on the year. Alex Lyon stopped 28 of the 31 shots that came his way, including several saves in the final minute during some 6-on-3 Albany power play time to end the contest.

Tonight's win, coupled with a rare regulation loss by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, puts the Phantoms within seven points of first place in the Atlantic Division with two games in hand on the Penguins and a big game on tap Saturday night in Wilkes-Barre.

Quick recap of events after the jump.


The first half of the opening period set the stage for what looked like would be a typical Albany Devils game - low scoring, minimal offensive scoring chances with a lot of focused defensive effort.

The Phantoms had to kill off a brief two-man advantage in the early going, but were able to avoid danger and keep the game scoreless with 10:13 left in the opening period.

Albany, uncharacteristically perhaps, struck twice in 39 seconds to open up a 2-0 lead late in the first period.

First, Blake Coleman finished off a bad angle chance on Alex Lyon after the speedy Brian Gibbons followed up his own shot and took the puck down low.

Gibbons appeared to be heading behind the net, but either left a puck at the side of the net for Coleman or had the puck knocked off his stick by a Phantoms' defender. Either way, a quick reaction from Coleman allowed him to sneak one past Lyon to give Albany a 1-0 lead.

On the next shift, the Phantoms' forecheck got caught up ice in the offensive zone and the Devils scored in transition on a 3-on-2 rush.

John Quenneville got a puck up to Carter Camper, who skated into the Phantoms' defensive zone on an odd-man rush. Camper cut to the middle atop the left-wing circle and his flubbed shot on net was re-directed past Lyon by Nick Lappin.

The Phantoms cut the deficit in half on the opening shift of the middle frame, with Scott Laughton making a play in the defensive zone and finishing it off at the other end off the rush. 

Laughton stole a puck in his own end, and quickly brought it through the neutral zone - hitting T.J. Brennan, who joined the rush, with a pass in stride. Brennan got a puck to the right-wing to McDonald whose hard low shot went of J.P. Anderson's pad and kicked out to Laughton who was crashing the net. Laughton put home the rebound 45 seconds into the 2nd period to make it a 2-1 game.
Lehigh Valley had a pair of power play opportunities in the middle frame, their first two chances of the night - but were unable to cash in.

Lyon came up big late in the second period with a magnificent glove save to keep the Phantoms within one.
As time was winding down in the middle frame, the Phantoms appeared to have tied the game. Robert Hagg's point shot in the final seconds of the period clanked off the post and Colin McDonald put in the rebound, but it was ruled that time had expired before the puck crossed the line.
Luckily for Lehigh Valley, they had yet another third period comeback in them. Two goals 26 seconds apart by Corban Knight and Chris Conner put the Phantoms ahead 3-2.
Albany was able to tie the game at 3-3 and make things interesting on Coleman's second goal of the night with 5:48 left in regulation, but a big hit by T.J. Brennan on John Quenneville with 4:58 left to play changed the complexion of the final five minutes.
Brennan received an elbowing major and game misconduct for a hit that looked entirely clean in nature in that it wasn't a late hit and didn't contact the head. Devils' Jan Mandat chased Brennan and dropped his gloves, which is a big no-no in the AHL. Mandat's fight instigator penalty with under five minutes to play resulted in an automatic ejection and also carries an automatic suspension.

The penalty to Mandat, however, and an ensuing hooking minor on Coleman actually gave the Phantoms a brief 4-on-3 power play of their own late in the game and they made the most of it. Andy Miele tapped home the rebound of Greg Carey's shot after a setup from Will O'Neill to put the Phantoms ahead for good, 4-3, with 3:12 left to play.

The Devils finished the game with a 6-on-3 power play with their goaltender pulled for an extra attacker, but Lyon and the Phantoms held on for the regulation win.


Alex Lyon (28 saves - 31 saves) got the start in net, and besides some awkward bounces/deflections was largely spectacular in net - making some big time stops when Albany was buzzing. 

Taylor Leier was a late scratch tonight after being reported as participating in the morning skate and leaving with the other guys playing tonight's game. Corban Knight, Boyd Gordon and Reece Willcox were the extras.

With Leier's late removal from the lineup, Corban Knight slotted into the left wing on the team's top line and had his first goal in his last nine games.

Scratches: Taylor Leier (undisclosed), Boyd Gordon (healthy) and Reece Willcox (healthy)

Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics)

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

T.J. Brennan - Robert Hagg
Will O'Neill - Mark Alt
Sam Morin - Travis Sanheim

Alex Lyon - Anthony Stolarz


1st Period

6:17: LV - (PP) Fazleev, minor (interference)
7:47: LV - (PP) Bardreau, minor (tripping)
13:51: ALB - Coleman (15) - Gibbons, Sexton
14:30: ALB - Lappin (4) - Camper, Quenneville

2nd Period

0:45: LV - Laughton (10) - McDonald, Brennan
3:10: ALB - (PP) Gazdic, minor (high-sticking)
11:46: ALB - (PP) Pelley, minor (hooking)

3rd Period 

5:38: LV - Knight (6) - Laughton, McDonald
6:04: LV - Conner (12) - Sanheim, Morin
6:32: ALB - (PP) Pelley, minor (boarding)
12:24: LV - (PP) Morin, minor (cross-checking)
14:12: ALB - PPG Coleman (16) - Mozik, Gibbons
15:02: LV - (PP) Brennan, major (elbowing) 
15:02: LV - Brennan, major (fighting)
15:02: LV - Brennan, game misconduct (elbowing)
15:02: ALB - (PP) Mandat, minor (instigating)
15:02: ALB - Mandat, major (fighting)
15:02: ALB - Mandat, game misconduct - Instigator (last 5:00)
16:28: ALB - (PP) Coleman, minor (hooking)
16:48: LV - PPG Miele (5) - Carey, O'Neill
19:50: LV - (PP) Knight, minor (hooking)


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