Pre-Playoff Hockey Between Phantoms/Penguins

Saturday, February 25, 2017
Barry Goers put one past Alex Lyon with 15 seconds left in overtime tonight in Allentown. Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey
Phantoms come up short in overtime against Penguins

Written by: Tony Androckitis - Twitter/Facebook

ALLENTOWN - If you didn't know it was a late February evening, you might have thought tonight's Lehigh Valley Phantoms versus Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins game was being played in late April/early May. Several players and head coach Scott Gordon mentioned afterwards that tonight's game had a playoff-like feel to it.

Expect much of the same down the stretch, as the Phantoms will play the Penguins seven times in their final 22 games after tonight's 4-3 overtime loss.

Lehigh Valley held a 2-1 lead late in the second period on goals from Greg Carey and Danick Martel, but a late 2nd period goal and an early third period goal by the Penguins had the Phantoms in a 3-2 hole in the final 17:56 of regulation until Corban Knight's power play tally with 7:57 left to play forced overtime.

The Phantoms had their chances in the three-on-three extra session, with their best chance coming with 2:20 left in overtime as T.J. Brennan took a pass in the slot and bearing down on Penguins' goaltender Tristan Jarry fired one of of Jarry's right post.

In the final seconds of overtime, it was the Penguins pulling off a game-winning goal as Barry Goers tallied his first of the season with 15 seconds left before a shootout to give the Penguins a 4-3 win over the Phantoms.

After the jump, a full recap of the action complete with post-game reaction from head coach Scott Gordon and video interviews with Greg Carey and Corban Knight.


Alex Lyon (28 saves - 32 shots) got the start in net tonight against the Penguins. Anthony Stolarz, who got the start in net Friday in Springfield, served as Lyon's backup.

Colin McDonald appeared in his 700th pro game Friday night in Springfield. Veteran Chris Conner recently accomplished the mark of 700 pro games, and is three assists shy of 300 pro assists. Andy Miele is three games shy of 400 AHL games in his career.

Steven Swavely blocked a shot during the third period last Sunday in Utica, and left the game. It's safe to say Swavely will likely miss several weeks as he was seen at Thursday's practice with his left hand/wrist in a cast.

Taylor Leier (concussion) will miss his 11th straight game, having not played since the AHL All-Star challenge on January 30th. Leier skated briefly with the team at practice Thursday at PPL Center, but was the only skater wearing a green jersey and he exited the ice about 15-20 minutes after I arrived for the 10:30 practice. There are no updates being given on Leier's status or a timetable for his return from Phantoms' head coach Scott Gordon.

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: Steven Swavely (upper body), Taylor Leier (concussion symptoms), Boyd Gordon (lower body) and Reece Willcox (healthy)

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 - Robert Hagg
Will O'Neill - Mark Alt
Sam Morin - Travis Sanheim

Alex Lyon - Anthony Stolarz


The Phantoms and Penguins were flying at the start of tonight's game, with both teams exchanging chances off the rush.

The Pens got out to an early 4-1 shots advantage in the opening minutes, but the Phantoms responded in the middle part of the period - firing six straight shots on Tristan Jarry.

In one sequence, T.J. Brennan fired a shot on net from the right point and although Jarry made the stop both Andy Miele and Danick Martel were crashing the net. Martel picked up the rebound atop the crease and appeared to have an open corner to shoot at but Jarry robbed Martel with a right pad save.

The two teams traded power play chances, and although the game remained scoreless there was plenty of action in the first frame. After Alex Lyon covered a loose puck for a whistle with 3:15 left before the first intermission, a scrum broke out with Brennan and Penguins' forward Jean-Sebastien Dea.

Both were assessed matching roughing minors on the play, bringing the game's first four-on-four action of the night. The Phantoms didn't fare well on the 4-on-4, getting caught up in the offensive zone and allowing the Penguins to capitalize on a 2-on-1 rush to take a 1-0 lead with 2:52 left in the opening period.

Kevin Porter stole a puck in the Penguins' defensive zone and skated in 2-on-1 with captain Tom Kostopoulos, sliding a pass across to Kostopoulos for his 20th of the season past an outstretched Lyon.
The Phantoms appeared to be having trouble breaking pucks out of their own end to start the middle frame, often committing turnovers which led to extended Penguins' pressure or being force to flip a puck into the neutral zone and reset.

After killing off a Nicolas Aube-Kubel hooking minor, the Phantoms got a power play of their own shortly after and made the most of it.

Andy Miele got a puck up to the point for T.J. Brennan, who slid a pass across the top to Greg Carey. Carey drifted in to the top of the right-wing circle before wristing his 25th of the season through the legs of Jarry to tie the game at 1-1.
With just under eight minutes left in the middle frame, the Phantoms thought they had taken a 2-1 lead when a puck sent up the middle by the Penguins was intercepted by Travis Sanheim who, just inside the face-off circles, stepped into a slap shot that rang the bottom of the crossbar. After a few minutes of whistle-free hockey, a quick review was done and the ruling of no goal stood.

Shortly after the goal review, however, the Phantoms took the 2-1 lead anyway. Miele got a puck across to Chris Conner as the Phantoms entered the offensive zone, and Conner did the rest - swinging behind the net and throwing one in front to Danick Martel. In a cluster of bodies in the crease, Martel was able to nudge the puck past Jarry and across the goal line. The Penguins attempted to fling the puck out of the net but the goal light came on and the referee in position ruled it was indeed a goal.
The goals, or goal reviews for that matter, weren't done there either. Less than two minutes after Martel's go ahead goal, Oskar Sundqvist took a pass from Josh Archibald and went behind the Phantoms' net - setting up Jarrett Burton atop Lyon's crease for a puck that bounced off Burton and went in past Lyon. Referees reviewed the play and confirmed the call on the ice of a good goal.

The two teams headed to the third period deadlocked at 2-2, but the game didn't remain tied for long in the final frame. The Penguins forecheck, which gave the Phantoms problems in the 2nd period, capitalized on a slow developing Lehigh Valley breakout to take the lead.

Teddy Blueger put a hit on Will O'Neill behind the net as O'Neill was attempting to ring a puck around the end boards and out of the zone. Instead, it was quickly intercepted behind the net by Dominik Simon - who sent a puck in front for J-S Dea who placed one up and over Lyon 2:04 into the final frame.

Lehigh Valley didn't panic, instead continuing to play their game before being awarded their third power play of the night midway through the third period.

The Phantoms' power play came through with their second man advantage goal of the night, with Corban Knight putting in the rebound of Greg Carey's shot past Jarry to tie the game at 3-3 with 7:57 left in regulation.
Tonight's three-on-three overtime lived up to expectations as far as excitement levels for fans go. There were endless chances for both sides and the two teams played their hearts out into the final seconds of the extra session before Barry Goers slipped one past Alex Lyon with 15 seconds left to secure the win for the Penguins.


Head coach Scott Gordon

On if the OT loss was frustrating:
It was a good game. Both teams played like it was a playoff game. I think that the disappointment of losing the lead and then having the power play come through again for us was huge. The overtime, two breakaways and two shots from the ladies tees - you're not going to get that too often in a 3-on-3. We did everything we could possibly ask the guys to do in OT but we just came up on the short end of the stick.
On the final seven meetings between Phantoms/Penguins:
For our guys, this is playoff hockey before playoff hockey. None of these games are easy. They're in first place for a reason. We got the ball rolling against them the first two games and we at least got a point tonight, but we had a tough go of it in the two games in their building. I liked the way we bounced back and came out and were able to at least get the point and quite honestly gave ourselves a pretty good chance to get the second. 


1st Period

6:45: WBS - (PP) Sundqvist, minor (hooking)
8:11: WBS - Sestito, ten-minute misconduct 
10:47: LV - (PP) McCarthy, minor (tripping)
16:45: LV - Brennan, minor (roughing)
16:45: WBS - Dea, minor (roughing)
17:08: WBS - Kostopoulos (20) - Porter

2nd Period

6:02: LV - (PP) Aube-Kubel, minor (hooking)
8:18: WBS - (PP) Dea, minor (holding the stick)
8:43: LV - PPG Carey (25) - Brennan, Miele
14:24: LV - Martel (14) - Conner, Miele
16:16: WBS - Burton (2) - Sundqvist, Archibald
17:25: WBS - Erixon, minor (holding)
17:25: LV - Martel, minor (holding the stick)

3rd Period

2:04: WBS - Dea (14) - Simon, Blueger
3:59: WBS - Dea, minor (roughing)
3:59: LV - Aube-Kubel, minor (roughing)
10:55: WBS - (PP) Erixon, minor (high-sticking)
12:03: LV - PPG Knight (7) - Carey, O'Neill
12:35: WBS - Sestito, minor (roughing)
12:35: LV - Morin, minor (roughing)


4:45: WBS - Goers (1) - Simon, Blueger


Lehigh Valley Phantoms 0 - 2 - 1 - 0 = 3
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton   1 - 1 - 1 - 1 = 4


Lehigh Valley Phantoms 12 - 9 - 13 - 3 = 37
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton   10 - 7 - 11 - 2 = 32


LV - Alex Lyon (28 saves - 32 shots)
WBS - Tristan Jarry (34 saves - 37 shots)

Power Play

LV: 2-for-3
WBS: 0-for-2

Penalty Kill

LV: 2-for-2
WBS: 1-for-3

Attendance: 8,869 - the largest crowd at PPL Center this season. It also marked the fifth consecutive sellout crowd and 13th overall sellout this season.


ironpigpen said...

If I didn't know better, I would say the Lehigh Valley Phantoms have lost five of their last seven games, have conceded four or more goals in six of those seven games and look every bit the part of a team that will be swept out of the Calder Cup playoffs in the first round.

Aside from that, though, I'd say things are going great!

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