Shorthanded Syracuse Stuns Lehigh Valley

Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey
Phantoms leave a point on the table in overtime loss to Syracuse

Written by: Tony Androckitis - Twitter/Facebook

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms (39-18-4) had a chance Wednesday night to move within two points of first place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, making up their game in hand on the rest of the Atlantic Division.

It looked like they were well on their way through the first 40 minutes, leading the Syracuse Crunch 3-2 with three unanswered goals and a 21-4 edge in shots in the middle frame. On the season entering the night, the Phantoms were 24-0-0 when leading after two periods.

But where there's a will there's a way. Despite playing the entire game with only 16 skaters (six defensemen and 10 forwards), the Crunch twice battled back in the third period to tie the game - their second game-tying goal of the period coming while on a 6-on-4 power play with 1:04 left - to force overtime.

In the extra session, former Phantoms/Flyers forward Tye McGinn played the role of hero for Syracuse - giving the Crunch a come from behind 5-4 overtime win and stealing a critical extra point away from the Phantoms in the standings.
Tye McGinn's game winning overtime goal for Syracuse.
Quick recap after the jump.

Phantoms' Playoff Update: Tonight's overtime loss gives the Phantoms one standings point that drops their magic number to clinch a playoff spot down to 24 points. It also moves the Phantoms within three points of the first place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The Phantoms and Penguins engage in a home and home series this weekend with the top spot in the Atlantic Division on the line.


Alex Lyon (27 saves - 32 shots) was back between the pipes tonight against Syracuse coming off of strong performances last week against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Hershey. With a home and home series with the Penguins approaching this weekend, expect both Lyon and Anthony Stolarz to get a game in the net.

Steven Swavely blocked a shot during the third period in Utica two weekends ago, and left the game. Swavely missed several weeks but has since had his cast taken off and participated in the Phantoms' morning skate Wednesday. 

Taylor Leier (suspected concussion symptoms) missed his 18th straight game, having not played since the AHL All-Star challenge on January 30th. There is some encouraging developments on a possible return for Leier in the near future. He has begun skating in back-to-back days for the first time since his symptoms, skating in a red no-contact jersey at the Phantoms' morning skate prior to Wednesday's game.

Boyd Gordon, who left in a Wednesday home game against Binghamton on January 25th after a sliding BSens' forward crunched into his legs in the corner boards, was expected to miss a few weeks with a lower body injury. No update from HC Scott Gordon on any potential timetable for a return to the lineup for Gordon or any of the injured players as per his usual vagueness with updating injured players.

Scratches: Robert Hagg (lower body), Will O'Neill (upper body), Steven Swavely (upper body), Taylor Leier (suspected concussion symptoms), Chris McCarthy (healthy), Boyd Gordon (lower body) and Jesper Pettersson (healthy)

Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics):

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

T.J. Brennan - Reece Willcox
Sam Morin - Mark Alt
Travis Sanheim - Max Lamarche

Alex Lyon - Anthony Stolarz


After the Phantoms failed to convert on an early first period power play, the Crunch took a 1-0 lead 7:40 into the contest on a back door play from Kevin Lynch to Slater Koekkoek.

Despite out-shooting Syracuse 15-10 in the opening period, the Phantoms found themselves down 1-0 heading into the middle frame.

Early in the second period the Phantoms headed to the penalty kill and although Lehigh Valley will officially get credit for killing off Tyrell Goulbourne's slashing minor, Syracuse extended their lead to 2-0 on a rebound goal by newly added forward John Kurtz.
Shortly after going down 2-0, it seemed like the Phantoms flipped a switch and turned it on to hyperdrive - starting with Radel Fazleev's 6th goal of the season just under seven minutes into the middle frame that cut the Phantoms deficit in half.

Nicolas Aube-Kubel picked up the puck in the neutral and got it to Fazleev into the offensive zone 3-on-1. Fazleev skated the defenseman back, walked right to the slot and picked the top left corner of the net glove side on Mike McKenna at 6:54 of the 2nd period.
From there, the Phantoms were dominant with almost nonstop pressure in the offensive zone - out shooting the Crunch by a wide margin of 21-4 in the middle frame and tallying a pair of power play goals exactly one minute apart to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead with 6:45 left before the second intermission.

First, it was Colin McDonald at the side of the net with a spinning pass in front to Danick Martel for a quick shot past McKenna just two seconds before Jonathan Racine's holding minor was set to expire. Martel's 17th of the season tied the game at 2-2 with a secondary assist on the play to Mark Zengerle.
On the next shift after Martel's game-tying goal, Cole Bardreau stood up Mathieu Brodeur at the offensive zone blue line as the Crunch defender attempted to put a big hit on Bardreau. Brodeur didn't take kindly to being trucked, and grabbed a hold of the Phantoms forward - drawing the Phantoms another power play chance.

It didn't take long - just 19 seconds - for the Phantoms to convert on their second straight man advantage opportunity and take the lead at 3-2. T.J. Brennan, from the center point, got a puck to the top of the right-wing circle for Chris Conner who quickly found Andy Miele on a back door play. The pass was tape to tape and Miele tapped one in past McKenna to make it three unanswered goals for Lehigh Valley, and a 3-2 lead heading into the third period.
The Crunch didn't go away quietly in the third period, instead pushing back with a surge of their own to tie the game at 3-3 with 11:44 left in regulation. On another back door type play, the Phantoms' defense was unable to track a Crunch forward cutting to the net and it cost them.

Mike McNamee wrapped around behind Lyon's net and as he turned around the left post sent a cross ice pass back door to Kevin Lynch for an easy tap in goal to even the game 8:16 into the final frame.
The Phantoms grabbed a stranglehold on the game with 2:04 left in regulation, as Mark Alt's shot from the point was later determined to have hit off of Danick Martel atop McKenna's crease before just barely eluding the Crunch goaltender and crossing the goal line to give Lehigh Valley a 4-3 lead.
The lead was short lived, however, as a questionable hooking call on Sam Morin on the next shift gave the Crunch a power play. After they took their timeout and pulled the goaltender, the Crunch won the face-off and tied the game back up at 4-4 with 1:04 to play as Matt Taormina's point shot through traffic got through for his 14th of the season.

The Crunch carried the momentum into overtime, out shooting the Phantoms 5-2 in the three-on-three extra session before Tye McGinn beat Alex Lyon on a 2-on-2 rush with 1:09 left in OT to give Syracuse the 5-4 win.


Forward Danick Martel

On Syracuse responding in the 3rd:
I think they deserved to win the third period. They played way better than us - we gave them way too many chances in the third period. At the end of the day, we still have the point. All those points are important in the 15 games we have left. We're going to take it, park it, and try to come back harder on Friday night.
On the start/third period penalties:
We were not ready to start the right way. We had the two penalties - on me and Sam - that can't happen. Could have caused a goal way before Sammy's one, it could've been mine.. I got a lucky goal after. I think he took a bad one at the end, but we got one point so we need to be a little bit happy and focus on Friday night.
Radel Fazleev

On disappointment of not getting the two points with late third period lead:
It was disappointing, but I think the fact that it was tough playing in the third period wass more disappointing. We got to think about it because we lost that game in the third period. We were great in the second and had an advantage and in the third it was more ice time in our zone and scored a goal. 
It's all about us and not about them. It's frustrating playing great in the 2nd period knowing we can that way and just stop in the third period and let them take two points.


1st Period

3:08: SYR - (PP) Thomas, minor (delay of game)
7:40: SYR - Koekkoek (2) - Lynch, Vermin
10:20: LV - (PP) Laughton, minor (hooking)
19:27: SYR - (PP) Kurtz, minor (tripping)

2nd Period

2:07: LV - (PP) Goulbourne, minor (slashing)
4:09: SYR - Kurtz (2) - THomas, Blujus
6:54: LV - Fazleev (6) - AubeKubel
10:17: SYR - (PP) Racine, minor (holding)
12:15: LV - PPG Martel (17) - McDonald, Zengerle
12:56: SYR - (PP) Brodeur, minor (holding)
13:15: LV - PPG Miele (8) - Conner, Brennan

3rd Period

5:50: LV - (PP) Martel, minor (hooking)
8:16: SYR - Lynch (3) McNamee, Racine
8:54: LV - (PP) Knight, minor (hooking)
17:56: LV - Martel (18) - Alt, Miele
18:52: LV - (PP) Morin, minor (hooking)
18:56: SYR - PPG Taormina (14) - Lynch


3:51: SYR - McGinn (6) - Taormina, Peca


Lehigh Valley  0 - 3 - 1 - 0 = 4
Syracuse  1 - 1 - 2 - 1 = 5 


Lehigh Valley  15 - 21 - 10 - 2 = 48
Syracuse  10 - 4 - 13 - 5 = 32


LV - Alex Lyon (27 saves - 32 shots)
SYR - Mike McKenna (44 saves - 48 shots)

Power Play

LV:  2-for-4
SYR: 1-for-5

Penalty Kill

LV:  4-for-5
SYR: 2-for-4

Attendance: 6,809


Post a Comment