Phantoms Hang On For 5-4 Win In Springfield

Friday, March 3, 2017
Anthony Stolarz stopped 44 of 48 shots in Friday's win in Springfield. Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey
Phantoms' injuries piling up amid weekend road trip

Written by: Tony Androckitis - Twitter/Facebook

In a back-and-forth game Friday night in Springfield, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (35-17-3) willed their way to a 5-4 win over the Thunderbirds to kick off a three-game weekend road trip with a much-needed two points in the standings.

The win came at a cost, however, as both Robert Hagg and Danick Martel left the game injured and did not return.Martel tallied a pair of goals in the first period before his departure, while Chris Conner tallied a go-ahead goal with 0.5 seconds left before the second intermission.

Greg Carey and Colin McDonald tallied a pair of early third period goals that seemingly broke open the game with a 5-2 Phantoms' lead, but Springfield battled back with a pair of quick goals of their own.

Anthony Stolarz allowed four goals Friday, but his 44 saves on 48 shots were a big part of Lehigh Valley's 5-4 triumph.

Phantoms' Playoff Update - Lehigh Valley's win, combined with Providence's regulation loss at home against Albany, has the Phantoms back in 2nd place in the Atlantic Division.  The only other team in the division in action Friday was the Hershey Bears, who routed North Division leading Syracuse 5-1.

After the jump, a quick recap of tonight's action.


Anthony Stolarz (44 saves - 48 shots) got the start in net to begin the Phantoms' three-game weekend road trip in the Northeast. Alex Lyon served as Stolarz's backup and is expected to get the start in net Saturday afternoon in Hartford.

Robert Hagg left the game late in the 2nd period after a collision in the corner boards in the Phantoms' defensive zone resulted in a Thunderbirds' forward falling on the back of Hagg's leg.

Danick Martel was also injured in the second period of tonight's game, and also did not return.

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

Taylor Leier (concussion) will miss his 12th straight game, having not played since the AHL All-Star challenge on January 30th. Leier skated briefly with the team at practice last 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 a Wednesday home game against Binghamton on [date] 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), Boyd Gordon (lower body) and Reece Willcox (healthy)


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

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

Anthony Stolarz - Alex Lyon


The game that was originally supposed to start at 7:05 p.m. ET didn't start until almost 7:30 due to a pregame ceremony honoring longtime Springfield hockey general manager Bruce Landon, and once the puck was dropped the Phantoms allowed a goal on the Thunderbirds' first shot of the night.

Making his Springfield debut following a trade from Albany at the NHL's trading deadline, defenseman Reece Scarlett picked up a the puck at the left point and skated along the boards and freely into the left-wing face-off circle before firing a wrist shot past a screened Anthony Stolarz. Scarlett's fifth of the season came just 1:32 into the contest.
From there, it was Danick Martel taking over and giving the Phantoms a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission. 

On his first goal of the period, Martel was in the slot in perfect position to re-direct Will O'Neill's point shot past newly acquired Springfield goaltender Adam Wilcox - formerly of the Syracuse Crunch.
Martel's second of the period came after a steal from Mark Zengerle sent Martel and Andy Miele 2-on-1 entering the offensive zone. Martel elected to shoot and placed a shot past Wilcox for his 16th of the season.
Things took a turn for the worse in the middle frame, as a wild scrum broke out 35 seconds into the period after Stolarz covered a puck in his crease for a whistle. Paul Thompson crashed Stolarz's crease and made contact with the Phantoms' netminder - causing T.J. Brennan to wrestle Thompson to the ice.

Meanwhile, Cole Bardreau and Dryden Hunt dropped the gloves and began throwing violent punches as they fell to the ice. When Bardreau got up, he leaped into Thompson and continued the scrum. Just as things began to look like they were settling down, Scott Laughton delivered a vicious two-handed slash on a Thunderbirds' player.

The end result was actually a Phantoms' power play, but it was Springfield scoring a goal and tying the game. The Thunderbirds stole a puck after some sloppy breakout passes from the Phantoms in their own end.

Chase Balisy tallied the shorthanded goal for the Thunderbirds just 54 seconds into the middle frame, tying the game at 2-2.

The Phantoms were largely out-chanced in the second stanza by Springfield - out shooting Lehigh Valley 17-9.

The Phantoms capitalized on their chance in the final seconds of the middle frame Greg Carey's shot was blocked but he tracked his own rebound at the offensive zone blue line and flung a puck. Chris Conner drove to the net for a rebound and smacked one past the goal line with 0.5 seconds left before the second intermission.
Lehigh Valley appeared to have broken the game open early in the third period, tallying goals on their first two shots of the period as Greg Carey and Colin McDonald tallied goals 1:13 apart to pull the Phantoms ahead 5-2.
Springfield didn't quit, instead tallying two goals of their own just 1:08 apart to again pull within a goal with 12:47 left in regulation. They out shot the Phantoms 19-5 in the third period, but some timely saves by Stolarz was enough for Lehigh Valley to hold on for the win.


1st Period

1:32: SPR - Scarlett (5) - Lynch
1:53: LV - (PP) Fazleev, minor (cross-checking)
10:19: SPR - (PP) Downing, minor (interference)
12:22: LV - Martel (15) - O'Neill, Zengerle
15:42: LV - Knight, major (fighting)
15:42: SPR - MacKenzie, major (fighting)
18:53: LV - Martel (16) - Alt, Conner

2nd Period

0:35: LV - Bardreau, major (fighting)
0:35: LV - Bardreau, ten-minute misconduct (continuing altercation)
0:35: LV - Laughton, minor (slashing)
0:35: SPR - Hunt, major (fighting)
0:35: SPR - Thompson, minor (roughing)

0:35: SPR - (PP) Thompson, minor (roughing)
0:54: SPR - SHG Balisy (12) - Black
2:02: SPR - (PP) Rau, minor (unsportsmanlike)
8:56: LV - (PP) Aube-Kubel, minor (hooking)
17:01: LV - (PP) McDonald, minor (interference)
18:35: SPR - (PP) Acolatse, minor (slashing)
19:59: LV - Conner (18) - Brennan, Carey

3rd Period

2:15: LV - Carey (26) - O'Neill
3:28: LV - McDonald (19) - Laughton
3:52: LV - Morin, major (fighting)
3:52: SPR - Brown, major (fighting)
6:05: SPR - Thompson (11) - Balisy, Hunt
7:13: SPR - Hawryluk (7) - McCann, MacKenzie
14:48: LV - (PP) O'Neill, minor (delay of game)
15:02: SPR - (PP) Balisy, minor (hooking)


Lehigh Valley 2 - 1 - 2 = 5
Springfield     1 - 1 - 2 = 4


Lehigh Valley 15 - 9 - 5 = 29
Springfield    12 - 17 - 19 = 48


LV - Anthony Stolarz (44 saves - 48 shots)

SPR - Adam Wilcox (21 saves - 26 shots)
           Sam Brittain (3 saves - 3 shots)

Power Play

LV: 1-for-5
SPR: 0-for-4

Penalty Kill

LV: 4-for-4
SPR: 4-for-5

Attendance: 5,411


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