Third Period Surge Pushes Phantoms Past IceCaps

Friday, February 10, 2017
Chris McCarthy scored in his Phantoms' debut in the 1st period, but the goal was overturned on a questionable goalie interference call. Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey
Phantoms tally three unanswered goals in comeback win

Written by: Tony Androckitis - Twitter/Facebook

ALLENTOWN - The Lehigh Valley Phantoms (32-13-2) got off to a bit of a sluggish start in their first matchup against the St. John's IceCaps (22-21-6), but they more than made up for it in the final 39:26 of regulation - out shooting the IceCaps 33-15 and tallying three unanswered goals in a come from behind 4-2 win.

After falling behind 1-0 midway through the 1st frame, the Phantoms appeared to take the lead on back-to-back goals from Travis Sanheim and newcomer Chris McCarthy two minutes apart. McCarthy's goal, however, was disallowed after a discussion among the referees due to a questionable goaltender interference call.

Luckily for Lehigh Valley, the disallowed goal wasn't the difference maker Friday night in front of the team's 8th sellout crowd of the year (8,467 fans). Chris Conner (2nd period), Mark Alt (3rd period)* and Cole Bardreau (empty net, 3rd period) tallied goals to lift the Phantoms to the win

EDIT: There was a scoring change on the Phantoms' game-winning goal. It was deemed Chris Conner made contact with the puck prior to Mark Alt's shot going into the net with 3:53 left in the third period. Goal should read - 16:07: LV - Conner 15 (Alt, Miele) 

After the jump, a full recap of tonight's action complete with post-game reaction from head coach Scott Gordon and video interviews with Chris McCarthy and Mark Alt. And a new addition to our Phantoms' coverage - goal GIFs!


Head coach Scott Gordon

On the slow start:
I think the two power plays, we didn't have a chance to get into the game. Maybe after the first couple shifts we started, we didn't get shots on net but put pucks toward the net. And then we got into the two power plays, so for about almost four minutes we have guys sitting on the bench and as a result I think it took us a little longer to get going because you're playing the same guys killing penalties.
On better second, good third period:
I think we started to push the play a little bit more. I thought we started doing more of the things that - when we are playing well - we start doing that more consistently in the second period. I was really happy with the third.
On the disallowed goal in 1st period:
Their interpretation was that Bardreau basically pulled the stick out of the goalies hands. If you watch the video, Bardreau is just trying to get out of the crease. Their guy pushed Bardreau into their goalie, and their goalie in the process of falling down had his stick in a weird position. I don't know how it got to where it was. I think maybe he was even probably just trying to get over when McCarthy came around the net - a little desperation. They basically blamed [Bardreau] for taking the stick out of his hand. The reality is the goalie got his stick caught behind Bardreau's leg. Bardreau didn't do anything - he was trying to get out of the crease. So that was the explanation I got, and when I watched the replay - 100% Bardreau didn't do anything. If anything, he was just trying to get out of the goalie's way.
No, I thought when I watched the replay I didn't see anything what they could possibly wave off. Even with their explanation, I didn't get it.


The Phantoms got off to a bit of a slow start Friday night against the IceCaps. Early penalty trouble about five minutes in had Lehigh Valley shorthanded five-on-three for 46 seconds.

Luckily for the home team, they were able to kill off both penalties and get back to full strength unscathed. Unfortunately, the IceCaps took a 1-0 lead not more than a shift or two later off an offensive zone face-off win.

Daniel Audette got the puck to Julien Brouillette at the left point, and Brouillette sent a slap pass to the side of the net where Bobby Farnham was waiting for a quick re-direct past Stolarz 8:40 into the contest. It was Farnham's 8th of the season, as the former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins forward put the Phantoms in an early 1-0 hole.
In fact, the Phantoms were held without a shot through much of the first 12 minutes of the hockey game - registering their first official shot on a Greg Carey spinning shot. It wasn't long after, though - the next shift - that the Phantoms evened the game at 1-1.

Corban Knight got a puck around the back of the IceCaps net and over to Cole Bardreau at the near-side half wall, where he stopped and fed Travis Sanheim at the center point. Sanheim faked a shot and created a lane to shoot - wristing one through a screen past Charlie Lindgren 12:52 into the first frame.
Sanheim's 8th of the season seemed to spark the Phantoms, giving them some serious momentum to take what looked like a 2-1 lead with 5:04 left before the first intermission.

Making his Phantoms' debut, Chris McCarthy started a series of chances with a tough angle shot on Lindgren with Cole Bardreau cutting to the net front. Bardreau was nudged into the IceCaps goaltender while going for the rebound and although McCarthy was able to swing around the back of the net and come out the other side to put the rebound in, referees deemed Lindgren was interfered with and disallowed the goal.

Here's a replay (below) of the disallowed goal. Bardreau's slight contact came over four seconds before McCarthy's rebound attempt went in. What's the threshold for the goaltender being unable to reset for that next shot? It's very subjective.
Instead of a 2-1 Phantoms' lead going into the first intermission, it was a 1-1 deadlock. Just how much the disallowed goal would have an effect on the final score remained to be seen.

The IceCaps certainly took advantage of the situation, coming out for the middle frame and getting their one-goal lead right back on the opening shift of the period.

Charles Hudon intercepted a puck in the neutral zone and turned on the jets, beating a Phantoms' defender to the edge and finishing the play off with a snipe of a shot to the top corner glove-side on Stolarz just 24 seconds into the period.
From there, the IceCaps had the Phantoms on their heels a bit. Radel Fazleev was whistled for a hooking minor on a backcheck 5:33 into the period and at the midway mark, the Phantoms were whistled for a too many men bench minor that head coach Scott Gordon was not happy about.

Gordon called the referee over to the bench for an explanation, and although it didn't do anything for the Phantoms in terms of overturning the penalty call - it never does - Lehigh Valley did get two power plays of their own in the final 5:50 of the middle frame.

With Ryan Johnston in the box for St. John's for hooking, the Phantoms power play evened the game at 2-2 before the second intermission.

The man advantage unit cleared a puck into the offensive zone and pressured the IceCaps defender behind his own net - forcing him to try to shoot the puck around the boards to get out of the zone where Greg Carey was waiting. Carey intercepted the puck in the corner and Chris Conner cut to the net - with Carey sending a crisp pass to the net front for Conner to tap-in past Lindgren for his 14th of the season.
The two teams came out for the third period deadlocked at 2-2, but the final frame continued to be the key to the Phantoms' success as they out shot the IceCaps 15-5 in the third stanza and eventually broke through Lindgren's wall of saves to complete the come from behind win.

Lehigh Valley first had a chance to take the lead with 7:08 left in regulation when Conner got a step on an IceCaps defender and was hauled down - crashing into the net. Conner was awarded a penalty shot on the play and made a nice move on his breakaway, but Lindgren came up with a big stop to keep it a 2-2 game.
Later in the third, with just under four minutes left in regulation - the Phantoms took the 3-2 lead. Lindgren stopped a shot from the left-circle by Andy Miele, but Mark Alt got to the rebound and fired a seeing-eye shot that appeared to bank in past Lindgren off an IceCaps' defender at the side of the crease.
The IceCaps called their timeout and pulled their goaltender in the final 89 seconds of play, but were unable to force overtime. With 1:01 left, Cole Bardreau sealed the deal with an empty net tally from a bad angle to complete the 4-2 final score.


Forward Chris McCarthy made his Phantoms debut tonight against St. John's. The Collegeville, Pa native appeared to tally his first AHL goal of the season with 5:04 left in the 1st period, but the goal was disallowed due to incidental contact with the goaltender... Chris Conner's 14th (& later 15th) of the season give him four goals in his last four games... Scott Laughton went down after an awkward collision with a teammate midway through the second period. Laughton came back in the middle frame for a shift or two but did not come back out for the third period...


1st Period

5:07: LV - (PP) Aube-Kubel, minor (tripping)
6:21: LV - (PP) Alt, minor (delay of game)
8:40: STJ - Farnham (8) - Brouillette, Audette
12:52: LV - Sanheim (8) - Bardreau, Knight

2nd Period

0:24: STJ - Hudon (15) - unassisted
5:33: LV - (PP) Fazleev, minor (hooking)
10:00: LV - (PP) bench minor, too many men (served by Zengerle)
14:10: STJ - (PP) Johnston, minor (high-sticking)
15:20: LV - PPG Conner (14) - Carey
15:41: STJ - (PP) Terry, minor (unsportsmanlike)

3rd Period

3:25: STJ - (PP) Gregoire, minor (holding)
10:31: LV - (PP) Hagg, minor (slashing)
16:07: LV - Conner (15) - Alt, Miele
18:59: LV - ENG Bardreau (7) - Hagg, Alt


STJ: 6 - 10 - 5 = 21
LV: 4 - 18 - 15 = 37


LV - Anthony Stolarz (19 saves - 21 shots)
STJ - Charlie Lindgren (33 saves - 36 shots)

Power Play

LV: 1-for-3
STJ: 0-for-5

Penalty Kill

LV: 5-for-5
STJ: 2-for-3

Attendance: 8,467


Anthony Stolarz (19 saves - 21 shots) got the start in net tonight against St. John's. Alex Lyon, coming off a 27-save shutout Wednesday night against Binghamton, will likely get the nod tomorrow night in the rematch.

Taylor Leier will more than likely not play this weekend, missing what will be his fourth and fifth straight game with an undisclosed injury he apparently re-aggravated before last Friday's game in Albany.

Boyd Gordon, who left in the 1st period of Wednesday's win against Binghamton after a sliding BSens' forward crunched into his legs in the corner boards, will likely sit out this weekend's games with that lower body ailment.

Colin McDonald, who missed Wednesday's game after taking a hit in the 1st period of last Saturday's 7-1 loss in Wilkes-Barre, is expected to return to the Phantoms' lineup this weekend and should slot back in tonight.

Jordan Weal was called up to Philadelphia this afternoon, getting his chance in the NHL again. The million dollar question might get answered here soon.

In a corresponding move, the Phantoms called up forward Chris McCarthy from their ECHL affiliate in Reading. The Collegeville, Pa. native was leading the Royals in scoring at the time of his recall, tallying 19 goals and 27 assists in 43 ECHL games this season.

Expected Scratches: Taylor Leier (undisclosed injury), Boyd Gordon (lower body) and Reece Willcox (healthy)

Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics)

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

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

Anthony Stolarz - Alex Lyon


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