No Handshakes Tonight - Phantoms Force Game 4

Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Phantoms celebrate their first playoff win since April 29th, 2008. Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey
Phantoms extend series with thrilling OT win in Game 3

Written by: Tony Androckitis - Twitter/Facebook

HERSHEY - After Saturday night's gut-wrenching 5-4 loss in Game 2, Lehigh Valley Phantoms forward Greg Carey told media after the game "The pucks can't go their way this whole series, we need to believe that."

With the Phantoms trailing Hershey heading to the third period and facing elimination, they got their first lucky bounce of the series on the opening shift of the third period. It only took 167 minutes and 15 seconds into the series for Lehigh Valley to catch their first break, but at least for tonight it has saved the Phantoms' season for at least one more game.

Colin McDonald took a puck from T.J. Brennan and from the center ice red line, and sent a floating/bouncing puck on net that eluded Pheonix Copley and tied the game at 1-1.
The goal, despite being scored on the opening shift of the third period, was enough to force overtime. All Lehigh Valley needed was one.

Under two minutes into the extra session, a big blocked shot by Andy Miele sprung Chris Conner for a breakaway and with two defenders hacking and whacking at him from behind on his way to the net, Conner made up for a missed wrap around attempt earlier in the game. Conner converted the breakaway and has extended the Atlantic Division Semifinals series with the Bears to a fourth game Saturday night at Giant Center.

Phantoms' Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics)

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

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

Martin Ouellette - Carter Hart

Scratches: Anthony Stolarz (injured - out for season), Alex Lyon (MCL sprain), Phil Myers (healthy), Will O'Neill (upper body since 3/11), Tyrell Goulbourne (healthy), Radel Fazleev (healthy), Connor Bunnaman (healthy), Boyd Gordon (lower body since 2/8), Mark Friedman (healthy) and Reece Willcox (healthy)


While the Phantoms came out with a dominant first period in both games in Lehigh Valley last weekend, it was the Bears with the extra jump in the early going Wednesday night at Giant Center.

In fact, the Bears controlled the opening seven minutes of play - limiting the Phantoms to just one shot on goal and nearly scoring on a shot from the outside on their opening shot of the game.

Martin Ouellette looked rather unsure of himself on the game's opening shot - looking behind himself after making the save in the opening minutes of the contest. He made up for it later in the period after a bouncing puck behind his net ended up on the tape of Zach Sill's stick in the bottom of the right-wing circle.

Sill corralled the puck and took it to the net, switching from backhand to forehand and firing a shot on Ouellette from point blank range. Somehow, Ouellette was able to throw up his blocker and get just enough of it to keep it out the net with less than 4:30 before the first intermission.

Lehigh Valley turned it on in the middle frame. As shown throughout the series, when the Phantoms pick up the pace and play with speed the Bears simply can't keep up.

The Phantoms were coming in waves, spending three or four straight shifts entirely in the Bears' defensive zone. Plenty of chances, but the thorn in the side for Lehigh Valley in the series showed true again. They weren't finishing their chances.

After an aggressive pinch in the offensive zone failed for the Phantoms past the midway point of the period, the opportunistic Bears capitalized on the mistake and took a 1-0 lead.

Stanislav Galiev got to a loose puck in the Bears' defensive zone, and turned on the jets to create a 3-on-1 rush the other way. Sam Morin, the lone defender, did all he could to give Galiev no lane to pass. Galiev just picked his spot and beat Ouellette to the short side with 8:25 left before the second intermission.

Seemingly when the Phantoms have had stretches of dominant play in the series, a missed chance or turnover has allowed the Bears a chance. Credit where it's due - Hershey has shown they're capable of grinding games out and making the most of their opportunities.

Does the Phantoms' lucky break to start the third period tonight shift the momentum in the series? Does it shift the pressure off of Lehigh Valley and onto Hershey?

Throughout the series so far, the first three games have seen three one-goal games - two of which needed overtime. In total, the Phantoms and Bears have played a total 189 minutes and 27 in the series. The two teams have been tied for 155:34 of that.



1st Period

19:35: LV - (PP) Miele, minor (hooking)

2nd Period

11:35: HER - Galiev (2) - unassisted

3rd Period

0:37: LV - McDonald (1) - Brennan


1:49: LV - Conner (1) - Miele


Lehigh Valley 0 - 0 - 1 - 1 = 2
Hershey 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 = 1


Lehigh Valley  9 - 12 - 8 - 1 = 30
Hershey Bears  9 - 12 - 8 - 1= 30


LV - Martin Ouellette (29 saves - 30 shots)
HER - Pheonix Copley (28 saves - 30 shots)

Power Play

LV: 0-for-0
HER: 0-for-1

Penalty Kill

LV: 1-for-1
HER: 0-for-0

Attendance: 8,842


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