Hershey Strikes In OT To Take 1-0 Series Lead

Friday, April 21, 2017
Alex Lyon reaches for loose puck with Sam Morin defending Zach Sill. Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey
Phantoms dominant early, unable to solve Copley in Game One Loss

Written by: Tony Androckitis - Twitter/Facebook

ALLENTOWN - The Lehigh Valley Phantoms' first ever playoff game as the Flyers' American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate in downtown Allentown needed more than 60 minutes to find not only a winner, but a goal scorer.

Unfortunately for the Phantoms, that came by way of a Nathan Walker rebound goal 7:38 into the first overtime to give the Hershey Bears a 1-0 series lead in the best-of-five Atlantic Division Semifinals.
The Phantoms used an energetic crowd of 7,072 to their advantage early - flying in the opening period and tripling up the Bears in shots (15-5) - but were unable to get one past Pheonix Copley.

As the game wore on, the Bears started to establish themselves as a team that looked like they were in the Calder Cup Finals last spring.

Certainly no time to hit the panic button for Lehigh Valley. They found with speed and pressure in the opening period that they can put this Bears team on their heals. But a 1-0 deficit in a best-of-five series isn't something to not be dialed in for come Saturday evening for Game Two. Their next loss in the series will put the Phantoms on the brink of elimination.

Just a quick recap after the jump. The joys of 4 a.m. work days outside of the hockey world.

Phantoms' Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics)

Taylor Leier - Scott Laughton - Colin McDonald
Greg Carey - Corban Knight - Danick Martel
Cole Bardreau - Andy Miele - Chris Conner
Tyrell Goulbourne - Steven Swavely - Mark Zengerle

T.J. Brennan - Max Lamarche
Sam Morin - Mark Alt
Robert Hagg - Travis Sanheim

Alex Lyon - Martin Ouellette

Scratches: Carter Hart (healthy), Anthony Stolarz (injured - out for season), Phil Myers (healthy), Will O'Neill (upper body since 3/11), Nicolas Aube-Kubel (healthy), Radel Fazleev (healthy), Boyd Gordon (lower body since 2/8), Mark Friedman (healthy) and Reece Willcox (healthy)


The Phantoms couldn't have played much better in their opening period of the postseason Friday. Despite failing to tally a goal, their speed and tenacity had them seemingly one step ahead of Hershey in most instances in the opening 20 minutes.

After a questionable early penalty on Goulbourne, which the Phantoms killed off without allowing a shot on goal, it was all Lehigh Valley. Buzzing around the Bears' net, the shots were up to a 10-2 advantage at one point midway through the first frame.

If not for some strong saves from Pheonix Copley - and a lucky bounce from the right post (see below) - the Bears wouldn't have made it out of the first period in a scoreless tie.
The Phantoms harnessed energy from the crowd at PPL Center, taking in their first ever AHL playoff game in the seats while 13 of the 19 skaters who played were playing out the first period of their playoff hockey careers at the pro level.

Some great chances in the final minute of the period by the Phantoms sent the two teams to the first intermission in a scoreless tie, but it was Lehigh Valley that set the tone in front of their home fans.

The Bears responded with a much better effort in the middle frame, out shooting Lehigh Valley 10-4.

While Copley was a busy goaltender in the first, Alex Lyon needed to come up big in a few series' of Hershey pressure in the second.

The Phantoms battled through it, and still had some dangerous chances of their own late in the period.

Scott Laughton just missed on a rebound. Greg Carey and Taylor Leier had hard shots from prime scoring areas. The Phantoms were on the cusp of taking the first lead of the game before a very soft cross-checking call on Danick Martel gave the Bears some life in the final 1:28 of the period.

Lehigh Valley killed off the carry over penalty to begin the third period and the scoreless grudge match continued.

Hershey had two glorious chances to take the lead in the 3rd, both coming off the stick of Stanislav Galiev. The first one, Galiev had Lyon dead to rights on his back but pushed the puck just wide of the right post. Later in the period, Galiev had Lyon turning the opposite way but the Phantoms' goaltender somehow twisted his body back - against gravity pulling him away from the play and made an incredible save to keep the game at 0-0.

Some late third period chances for the Phantoms weren't enough to produce the game's first goal and the first ever playoff game for Lehigh Valley at PPL Center needed overtime to settle it. It marked the first OT game for the Phantoms' franchise since May 3, 2008.



1st Period

2:33: LV - (PP) Goulbourne, minor (elbowing)
7:34: HER - (PP) Barber, minor (hooking)
10:22: HER - (PP) Bourque, minor (tripping)

2nd Period

4:03: LV - (PP) Knight, minor (hooking)
10:19: HER - (PP) Sill, minor (holding)
18:28: LV - (PP) Martel, minor (cross-checking)

3rd Period

7:59: LV - Goulbourne, major (fighting)
7:59: HER - O'Brien, major (fighting)
7:59: HER - (PP) O'Brien, minor (interference)

Overtime #1

7:38: HER - Walker (1) - Lewington, Galiev


Lehigh Valley 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 = 0
Hershey   0 - 0 - 0 - 1 = 1


Lehigh Valley 15 - 4 - 9 - 4  = 32
Hershey Bears 5 - 10 - 3 - 3  = 21


LV - Alex Lyon (20 saves - 21 shots)
HER - Pheonix Copley (32 saves - 32 shots)

Power Play

LV: 0-for-4
HER: 0-for-3

Penalty Kill

LV: 3-for-3
HER: 4-for-4

Attendance: 7,072


Alex Lyon (20 saves - 21 shots) got the start in net for Game One of the Atlantic Division Semifinals against Hershey on Friday night. Martin Ouellette served as the team's backup goaltender, while Carter Hart was scratched as the third goalie.

Some eye-opening stuff in the pregame warmup skate as Phil Myers participated, but the newly assigned defense prospect didn't partake in line rushes - serving as the 7th defenseman and the final healthy scratch.

Tyrell Goulbourne skated as an extra forward not among the four lines in practice this week, but earned a spot in the lineup on the fourth line left wing position.


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