Saturday Shutout - Phantoms Fall 4-0 to Penguins

Saturday, March 25, 2017
Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey
Phantoms shut out for first time in 2016-17 season

Written by: Tony Androckitis - Twitter/Facebook

ALLENTOWN - On a night where the Lehigh Valley Phantoms had an opportunity to solidify their standing in the Atlantic Division and close in on the first place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, they were shutout for the first time all season in a 4-0 loss to their in-state rival.

Call it a missed opportunity. Call it running into a hot goaltender (Tristan Jarry stopped all 35 Phantoms shots). Call it Penguins puck luck. Call it a bad night on the power play (0-for-9).

The bottom line is that Lehigh Valley squandered an opportunity to pick up two points in the standings and has an equally important game Sunday evening when the 5th place Bridgeport Sound Tigers come to town.

Full recap of tonight's game complete with post-game reaction from head coach Scott Gordon along with video interviews with forward Taylor Leier and defenseman Robert Hagg after the jump.

Phantoms' Playoff Update - The Phantoms' 4-0 loss to the Penguins didn't help their cause, but regulation losses by Hershey and Bridgeport help Lehigh Valley - particularly the Sound Tigers' loss in Hartford. Bridgeport's loss lowers the Phantoms' magic number by two points despite the fact that Lehigh Valley lost tonight.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms' magic number to clinch a berth in the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs is currently at 14 points. You can also keep track of the playoff races in the AHL's daily Playoff Primer.


Alex Lyon (26 saves - 30 shots) got the start in net for Lehigh Valley tonight against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Coming off back-to-back wins in St. John's, Anthony Stolarz served as the Phantoms' backup goaltender and is expected to get the start in net for Lehigh Valley tomorrow evening against Bridgeport.

Robert Hagg made his return to the Phantoms' lineup tonight, appearing in his first game since leaving March 3rd's game in Springfield with a lower body injury.

Greg Carey left early in the third period after an awkward collision with a teammate in front of the Penguins' net. Carey did not return and head coach Scott Gordon confirmed to Highland Park Hockey post-game that Carey did in fact suffer an injury. The extent of the injury was unknown at the time of Gordon's post-game press conference.

The Philadelphia Flyers signed their 2014-3rd round draft pick, defenseman Mark Friedman, to an entry level contract beginning in the 2017-18 season. The former Bowling Green State Univeristy product, who tallied 26 points (eight goals, 18 assists) in 40 games this season in the WCHA, will join the Phantoms this weekend on a tryout contract for the remainder of the season. He participated in his first on-ice practice with the Phantoms Friday in Whitehall.

Taylor Leier returned to the lineup Saturday in Wilkes-Barre after missing the previous 19 games with lingering symptoms of a concussion he suffered back in late January. We debuted Leier's story in our new 'Friday Feature' weekly series.

The latest casualty to the injury bug is Chris Conner, who did not travel with the team and missed last Saturday's game with an injury per head coach Scott Gordon. As per usual, no further details were provided on Conner's status moving forward.

Defenseman Will O'Neill left early in the 1st period of Saturday's 4-1 win against Utica on March 11th after an apparent upper body injury he sustained jamming his left hand/wrist after a fall into the boards.

Steven Swavely was reassigned to ECHL Reading on Tuesday per the league's transactions, and it appears he'll be getting back into action soon.

Jesper Pettersson was also reassigned to ECHL Reading earlier this week. With Hagg's return to the lineup and Friedman's arrival from the collegiate ranks, the Phantoms had nine healthy defensemen on the roster.

Boyd Gordon, who left in a Wednesday home game against Binghamton after a sliding BSens' forward crunched into his legs in the corner boards, was initially expected to miss a few weeks with a knee injury. He was seen at last Friday night's game in Allentown walking with a knee brace over his suit pants.

Scratches: Mark Zengerle (healthy), Will O'Neill (upper body), Max Lamarche (healthy), Chris Conner (undisclosed), Boyd Gordon (lower body) and Mark Friedman (healthy)

Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics)

Taylor Leier - Scott Laughton - Colin McDonald (C)
Greg Carey - Andy Miele (A) - Cole Bardreau (A)
Danick Martel - Corban Knight - Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Tyrell Goulbourne - Radel Fazleev - Chris McCarthy

T.J. Brennan - Reece Willcox
Sam Morin - Mark Alt
Robert Hagg - Travis Sanheim

Alex Lyon - Anthony Stolarz


The Phantoms opened the game with energy, dishing out several big hits and appearing to have the early jump on the Penguins.

Lehigh Valley was awarded the game's first power play midway through the opening period, but they were unable to cash in and instead it was the Penguins taking a 1-0 lead moments after the holding minor to Ryan Segalla had concluded.

Zach Aston-Reese and Tom Kostopoulos worked a puck from behind the Phantoms' net to Teddy Blueger at the side of the net on a play that appeared to be a kicked puck going into Alex Lyon's net. The play was deemed a goal on the ice, and was upheld on review.

Assistant coach Riley Cote said during a between periods interview that the explanation from referees was that the puck was kicked by Blueger and then tapped in past Lyon with his stick.
Away from the play during the Penguins' opening goal was Tyrell Goulbourne slowly heading off & looking dazed from a high hit he took behind the Penguins' net from Thomas Di Pauli. Goulbourne didn't skate the rest of the period, but did come back out for the middle frame.

Scott Laughton had an active first frame, drawing the Phantoms a pair of power plays in the second half of the period. Unfortunately for Lehigh Valley, the Penguins and their top-ranked penalty kill got the job done in the opening 20 minutes to preserve their 1-0 lead heading into the middle frame.

The Phantoms were better in the middle frame - out-shooting the Penguins 15-8 - but it was the Penguins adding to their lead with continued puck luck.

After Lehigh Valley killed off their first penalty of the night, it was sustained zone time and offensive pressure by the Penguins and a Phantoms' clearing attempt that a linesman inadvertently blocked down that resulted in an Adam Krause deflection goal.

Brett Stern got a puck across the top of the blue line for Barry Goers, who shot one on net through the screen of both Dominik Simon in the slot and Adam Krause atop the crease. Krause was able to get his stick on it to re-direct the puck past Lyon 5:07 into the middle frame for Krause's first goal of the season.
About seven minutes of game play later, the Penguins extended their lead to 3-0 on what looked like a harmless play coming out from behind the net. Newcomer Troy Josephs got the puck to Jarrett Burton at the side of the net, and Burton was able to get a piece of the puck - changing directions and eluding Lyon with 7:42 left before the second intermission.
The Phantoms had plenty of chances to get on the board and grab some momentum heading to the third period. In fact, they finished the final 7:11 of the period almost exclusively on the power play as the Penguins made three straight trips to the penalty box to close the middle frame.

The Penguins' number one ranked penalty kill was up to the task, led by some big time stops from Jarry.

It was much of the same in the third, as the Phantoms couldn't convert on any of their nine power play opportunities - including a 4-on-3 man advantage that turned into almost a minute of 5-on-3 power play time in the opening eight minutes of the final frame.

To make matters worse, the Penguins put the icing on the cake with a power play goal of their own to complete the 4-0 final score after a fight between Sam Morin and Ryan Haggerty resulted in the Penguins' third power play of the night.



1st Period

10:24: WBS - (PP) Segalla, minor (holding)
12:58: WBS - Blueger (6) - Kostopoulos, Aston-Reese
18:20: WBS - (PP) Stern, minor (holding)

2nd Period

2:08: LV - (PP) Hagg, minor (high-sticking)
5:07: WBS - Krause (1) - Goers, Stern
12:18: WBS - Burton (5) - Josephs, Krause
12:49: WBS - (PP) Segalla, minor (holding)
15:03: WBS - (PP) Burton, minor (slashing)
18:06: WBS - (PP) Gill, minor (interference)

3rd Period

6:01: LV - (PP) Laughton, minor (slashing)
6:51: WBS - (PP) Dea, minor (slashing)
7:30: WBS - (PP) Burton, minor (delay of game - face-off violation)
11:05: WBS - (PP) Blueger, minor (holding)
14:07: WBS - (PP) Burton, minor (checking to the head)
18:35: WBS - Haggerty, major (fighting)
18:35: LV - (PP) Morin, minor (roughing)
18:35: LV - Morin, major (fighting)
18:46: WBS - PPG Kostopoulos (24) - Erixon, Aston-Reese


Lehigh Valley  0 - 0 - 0 = 0
W-B/Scranton  1 - 2 - 1 = 4


Lehigh Valley  8 - 8 - 19 = 35
W-B/Scranton  9 - 15 - 6 = 30


LV - Alex Lyon (26 saves - 30 shots)
WBS - Tristan Jarry (35 saves - 35 shots)

Power Play

LV: 0-for-9
WBS: 1-for-3

Penalty Kill

LV: 2-for-3
WBS: 9-for-9

Attendance: 8,836 - the 15th sellout at PPL Center this season.


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