Comeback Thriller Nets Phantoms Second Place in Atlantic Division

Friday, April 14, 2017
Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey
Phantoms' OT win clinches home ice for first round of playoffs

Written by: Tony Androckitis - Twitter/Facebook

ALLENTOWN - Down 4-1 with 11 minutes left in the third period, it appeared that the Providence Bruins were well on their way to another convincing win over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Not. So. Fast.

Colin McDonald gave the Phantoms life with 10:51 left in regulation, cutting the deficit to 4-2 before a pair of extra attacker goals by Greg Carey and Andy Miele 31 seconds apart in the final 1:02 forced overtime.

Then, Corban Knight sealed the deal 48 seconds into the three-on-three overtime - taking a pass from Chris Conner off his skate before the puck found its way past Bruins goaltender Zane McIntyre.
The win clinches home-ice advantage for the Phantoms in the best-of-five first round series, where they will host Games 1 and 2 next Friday and Saturday night against an opponent to be determined.

The two possible first round opponents - these same Providence Bruins and rival Hershey Bears - face off against each other Saturday night. A Hershey win of any kind provides a Phantoms/Bears first round matchup, while a Providence win sets up a Phantoms/Bruins first round.

After the jump, a full recap of the action complete with post-game reaction video interviews with Scott Laughton, Corban Knight and Colin McDonald on our YouTube Channel. Click on the link to subscribe today!

Phantoms' lines (Starters in Bold/Italics)
Taylor Leier - Scott Laughton - Colin McDonald 
Greg Carey - Corban Knight - Cole Bardreau
Danick Martel - Andy Miele - Chris Conner
Mark Zengerle - Steven Swavely - Nicolas Aube-Kubel 
T.J. Brennan - Max Lamarche 
Sam Morin - Travis Sanheim
Robert Hagg - Max Lamarche 
Anthony Stolarz - Alex Lyon
Scratches: Anthony Stolarz, Will O'Neill, Mark Friedman, Boyd Gordon, Tyrell Goulbourne, Radel Fazleev and Reece Willcox


The Phantoms have been often criticized this season for poor starts to home games, but tonight wasn't just another home game for Lehigh Valley. They scored on the game's opening shift to take a 1-0 lead.

Taylor Leier weaved his way in and out of Providence defenders atop the left wing circle, getting the puck to Max Lamarche at the center point. Lamarche's shot was re-directed past Zane McIntyre by an expert deflection in the high-slot by Scott Laughton. Laughton's 18th of the season came just 31 seconds into the contest, and had Lehigh Valley off and running.

A tripping minor on the next shift, however, shifted momentum to Providence as they quickly tied things up just over a minute after the Phantoms had taken the lead. Peter Mueller sneaked a puck past Lyon for his 13th of the season to tie the game up at 1-1 just 1:35 into the contest.

Another Phantoms' penalty allowed Providence to take the lead just 3:08 into the first period. Lyon stopped the initial shot from the outside, but Jake DeBrusk was all alone at the side of the net to tap in the rebound for his 19th of the season.

The penalties continued as the period progressed - a total of eight minor penalties were assessed to the two teams in the opening 16:07 of play. Prior to the eighth penalty of the period, Providence extended their lead to 3-1 on a four-on-four goal by Wayne Simpson.

Simpson fired a shot on net from a bad angle and it somehow trickled through Lyon, who was having a rough start to his night being victimized for three goals on 13 shots in the opening period.

Things didn't get any better for Lyon in the middle fame, as Chris Porter scored 1:18 into the period on a pretty pass from DeBrusk to make it a 4-1 Bruins lead.

That goal spelled the end of the night for Lyon, who has now been pulled from the net in each of his last three starts against Providence. Lyon surrendered four goals on 14 shots in 21:18 of work.

As the middle frame wore on, the two teams grew an utter dislike for one another. Tempers flared on what seemed like every post-whistle situation regardless of where on the ice the two teams were.

It wasn't until midway through the third period that the Phantoms started the comeback, getting a goal from Colin McDonald with 10:51 left in the third to give Lehigh Valley life and spring the eventual comeback.



1st Period

0:31: LV - Laughton (18) - Lamarche, Leier
1:00: LV - (PP) Knight, minor (tripping)
1:35: PRO - PPG Mueller (13) - Czarnik, Grant
2:40: LV - (PP) Aube-Kubel, minor (holding the stick)
3:08: PRO - PPG DeBrusk (19) - Mueller, Grzelcyk
7:55: PRO - (PP) Grant, minor (hooking)
10:44: PRO - (PP) Mueller, minor (hooking)
13:22: PRO - (PP) Grzelcyk, minor (hooking)
13:45: LV - (PP) Miele, minor (hooking)
15:08: PRO - Simpson (16) - Hargrove, O'Gara
15:24: PRO - (PP) Czarnik, minor (slashing)
16:07: LV - (PP) Brennan, minor (cross-checking)

2nd Period

1:18: PRO - Porter (8) - DeBrusk, Czarnik
12:57: PRO - (PP) Cehlarik, minor (interference)
17:03: LV - (PP) Bardreau, minor (roughing)

3rd Period

9:09: LV - McDonald (25) - Laughton, Sanheim
16:08: PRO - (PP) Cave, minor (holding)
18:58: LV - Carey (28) - Brennan, Miele
19:29: LV - Miele (12) - Sanheim, Brennan


0:48: LV - Knight (11) - Conner, Brennan


Lehigh Valley  1 - 0 - 3 - 1 = 5
Providence   3 - 1 - 0 - 0 = 4


Lehigh Valley   12 - 9 - 15 - 1 = 37
Providence  13 - 12 - 7 - 0 = 32


LV - Alex Lyon (10 saves - 14 shots) and Martin Ouellette (18 saves - 18 shots)
PRO - Zane McIntyre (32 saves - 37 shots)

Power Play

LV: 0-for-6
PRO: 2-for-5

Penalty Kill

LV: 3-for-5
PRO: 6-for-6

Attendance: 7,950


Alex Lyon (10 saves - 14 shots) got the start in net for Lehigh Valley Friday night against Providence, but was pulled from action just 1:18 into the 2nd period. Martin Ouellette (18 saves - 18 shots) served as the Phantoms' backup goaltender, and entered the game early in the middle frame.

Anthony Stolarz's status moving forward is much in doubt after a lower body injury he sustained Wednesday night in Wilkes-Barre left him leaving the Mohegan Sun Arena on crutches. Flyers GM Ron Hextall told the media during exit interview/locker clean up day Thursday in Philadelphia that he wasn't sure if Stolarz would play again this season.

Head coach Scott Gordon mentioned that some of the guys dealing with nagging minor injuries might get some extra time off before the playoffs start next week. All of the regulars were in the lineup tonight vs. Providence.

Mark Alt returned to the blue line after missing Wednesday night's game. Reece Willcox was scratched to make room for Alt.

Steven Swavely entered the Phantoms' lineup centering the fourth line. Radel Fazleev was scratched to make room for Swavely.


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