Lyon Leads Lehigh Valley Past Springfield

Sunday, April 9, 2017
Photo: Amanda Statland/Highland Park Hockey
Phantoms magic number now one point with three games left

Written by: Tony Androckitis - Twitter/Facebook

ALLENTOWN - It certainly wasn't their best game of the season - several players uttered that sentiment during post-game media interviews - but the Lehigh Valley Phantoms found a way to get the job done in a 4-2 win over the Springfield Thunderbirds Saturday night at the PPL Center.

Trailing 3-2 late in the second period, the Thunderbirds looked to be on their way to tying the game up in the final 90 seconds before the second intermission - throwing pucks at the Phantoms' net and making life difficult for Alex Lyon.

Lyon's sequence of saves leading up to the second intermission (see below) was just the precursor for what the Phantoms' rookie goaltender was on his way to doing. Lyon ended up matching a Phantoms' season-high for saves stopping 44 of 46 shots including 23 in the third period to close out the two points for Lehigh Valley.
The Phantoms' win - combined with Bridgeport's regulation loss in Providence tonight - lowers Lehigh Valley's magic number down to one point. In fact, the Phantoms can clinch a playoff spot in the Atlantic Division on their day off tomorrow if Bridgeport fails to beat Hartford in their Sunday afternoon matchup.

Full recap of tonight's action after the jump. Post-game interviews will be uploaded and added shortly on our YouTube channel.

Phantoms' Playoff Update

The Phantoms' win combined with Bridgeport's regulation loss in Providence lowers Lehigh Valley's magic number to one point with three games remaining.

Atlantic Division Standings through 4/7's games:
X - WBS (102 points, 4 games remaining)
PRO (95, 4GR)
LV (95, 3GR)
HER (93, 2GR) 
BST (90, 3GR)
SPR (69, 3GR)
HFD (54, 4GR)
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms' magic number to clinch a berth in the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs is currently at 1 point. You can also keep track of the playoff races in the AHL's daily Playoff Primer.

Phantoms' Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics)
Taylor Leier - Scott Laughton - Colin McDonald
Danick Martel - Andy Miele - Chris Conner
Greg Carey - Corban Knight - Mark Zengerle
Cole Bardreau - Radel Fazleev - Nicolas Aube-Kubel 
T.J. Brennan - Max Lamarche Sam Morin - Mark Alt
Robert Hagg - Travis Sanheim 
Alex Lyon - Martin Ouellette
Scratches: Will O'Neill (upper body since March 11th), Tyrell Goulbourne (healthy), Chris McCarthy (healthy), Boyd Gordon (lower body since February 8th), Mark Friedman (healthy) and Reece Willcox (healthy)


It looked like it was going to be another one of those nights for the Phantoms early in the opening period of tonight's game. The sense of urgency didn't seem to be there, they weren't matching the intensity of a Springfield team playing for pride in the final games of the season and just 3:54 into the contest were down a goal.

After an awkward play at the side of the net between Alex Lyon and defenseman Robert Hagg, Springfield's Paul Thompson jammed a puck home from the crease to give the Thunderbirds an early 1-0 lead.
An Andy Miele tripping minor moments after the Thunderbirds goal made it look like things were going to go from bad to worse. But the Phantoms PK put together a strong effort and traded power plays with the Thunderbirds in the middle part of the period before finding a tying goal with 5:57 left before the first intermission.

Greg Carey took a puck behind the net and swung out to feed Mark Alt pinching in the zone in the right wing circle. Alt's shot toward Adam Wilcox was deflected by Cole Bardreau and although Wilcox mad the initial save, Corban Knight was all alone at the far post for an easy tap in for his 10th goal of the season.
A late first period power play gave Lehigh Valley a chance to take the lead before the opening frame concluded, and the Phantoms' special teams unit converted with 2:42 left in the period.

A good patient play from Andy Miele to find T.J. Brennan across the way and an even better shot by Brennan, who blasted one past Wilcox for his 21st of the season.
The Thunderbirds battled back in the middle frame, tying the game up at 2-2 on the opening shift of the period after another awkward play at the net allowed Springfield to skate right into Alex Lyon's crease and jam a puck past him.

Lehigh Valley wasn't to be denied in the period, re-taking the one goal lead after a great cross ice feed from Danick Martel to Andy Miele gave the Phantoms' forward an all alone look from the right-wing circle. Miele buried a well-placed shot past Wilcox midway through the period for his 11th of the season.
Again, Springfield didn't fade away quietly into the night despite being eliminated from postseason contention a weeks ago. After nearly tying the game in the waning moments of the second period, the Thunderbirds fired the first 16 shots of the third period Lyon's way and the Phantoms' goaltender stopped them all before Lehigh Valley's first shot of the period provided an insurance marker.

A really great play by Travis Sanheim on Scott Laughton's 17th of the season with 8:39 left in regulation. Sanheim skated to the slot and fed a pass across his body down low to Laughton at the side of the net for an easy tap in past Wilcox.
The Thunderbirds took it to the Phantoms in the final frame looking for a tying goal, out shooting Lehigh Valley by a 23-3 margin. Some timely saves from Lyon and a timely goal by Laughton was enough to get the Phantoms on the brink of a 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs berth.



1st Period

3:54: SPR - Thompson (17) - Buckles, McCann
5:16: LV - (PP) Miele, minor (tripping)
7:45: SPR - (PP) McCann, minor (hooking)
10:01: LV - (PP) Laughton, minor (interference)
14:03: LV - Knight (10) - Bardreau, Alt
16:29: SPR - (PP) Hawryluk, minor (interference)
17:18: LV - PPG Brennan (21) - Miele, Knight

2nd Period

0:34: SPR - Bailisy (16) - Hunt, Hawryluk
4:16: SPR - (PP) Saucerman, minor (holding)
6:09: SPR - (PP) Wittchow, minor (tripping)
7:02: LV - (PP) Conner, minor (holding)
9:50: LV - Miele (11) - Martel, Conner
12:13: SPR - (PP) Thompson, minor (goaltender interference)
14:09: LV - (PP) Sanheim, minor (interference)
14:22: SPR - Hawryluk, minor (diving/embellishment)
14:22: LV - Laughton, minor (slashing)
14:58: LV - (PP) Alt, minor (interference)

3rd Period

6:15: LV - (PP) McDonald, minor (slashing)
11:21: LV - Laughton (17) - Sanheim, Hagg
12:23: LV - (PP) Sanheim, minor (high-sticking)
19:00: LV - (PP) Laughton, minor (interference)


Lehigh Valley  2 - 1 - 1 = 4
Springfield   1 - 1 - 0 = 2


Lehigh Valley  14 - 17 - 3 = 34
Springfield   12 - 11 - 23 = 46


LV - Alex Lyon (44 saves - 46 shots)
SPR - Adam Wilcox (30 saves - 34 shots)

Power Play

LV: 1-for-5
SPR: 0-for-8

Penalty Kill

LV: 8-for-8
SPR: 4-for-5

Attendance: 7,719


Alex Lyon (44 saves - 46 shots) got the start in net for Lehigh Valley Saturday night against Springfield. Martin Ouellette served as the team's backup goaltender with Anthony Stolarz called back up to Philadelphia to back up Steve Mason.

The Philadelphia Flyers assigned defenseman Sam Morin and forward Colin McDonald to Lehigh Valley Friday prior to last night's game. Morin made his NHL debut Tuesday night against New Jersey - leading the way with a game-high seven hits and playing a relatively quiet game and being sound defensively.

Reece Willcox was reassigned to ECHL Reading prior to last weekend's games, but was returned to Lehigh Valley earlier this week prior to Sam Morin's first NHL call up Tuesday. Willcox returned to the lineup Friday in place of Max Lamarche alongside T.J. Brennan, but Lamarche re-entered the lineup Saturday.

Radel Fazleev missed his second straight game for Lehigh Valley Friday night, but returned to the lineup Saturday. Tyrell Goulbourne sat out as a healthy scratch after taking the warmup skate.

Will O'Neill was seen sporting a cast on his left wrist at the team's annual team photo day last week - a sign he's going to be out longer term. Let's put him in the four-to-six week range from when he sustained injury on March 11th, meaning he can hopefully get healthy for the postseason.

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, joined the Phantoms on a tryout contract for the remainder of the season. He participated in his first ever AHL warmup skate last Saturday in Wilkes-Barre.

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 a recent Phantoms game in Allentown walking with a knee brace over his suit pants. His season and a potential return to the lineup remain in the balance.


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