Say it Aint So - Bears Put Phantoms On The Brink

Saturday, April 22, 2017
Chris Bourque celebrates after scoring Hershey's game-winning goal with 33 seconds left in the third period. Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey
Phantoms squander two-goal lead, Lyon injured in third period

Written by: Tony Androckitis - Twitter/Facebook

ALLENTOWN - Hockey is an interesting game. Sometimes, a team finds themselves doing all the right things and controlling their opponent, but just don't get the end result.

The first two games of the Atlantic Division Semifinals between the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and Hershey Bears provides a perfect example.

After a 1-0 overtime loss in Game One, the Phantoms again came ready to play Saturday night for Game 2 - out shooting the Bears 16-4 in a dominating performance.

The middle frame? Just four more Bears shots, and a 4-2 lead for Lehigh Valley heading to the third.

The Bears stuck around despite being limited to just eight shots on net through the first 45 minutes of regulation. They made things interesting with 12:33 left when Chris Bourque beat Alex Lyon with a shot from the point, and then things began to unravel for Lehigh Valley.

Lyon was injured shortly after Bourque's goal made it a 4-3 game - receiving incidental contact from Travis Boyd and awkwardly falling into the back of his net. Lyon was helped off the ice with 11:22 left in regulation, putting no weight on his right leg.

Head coach Scott Gordon said after the game that Lyon will have an MRI tomorrow.

A really tough spot for Martin Ouellette to be thrown into was proven when the first shot he faced deflected past him - hitting the post on its way in. Tie game.

The heart breaker for Lehigh Valley came with 33 seconds left, as Bourque put the Phantoms on the brink of elimination with his second goal of the night.

"When it's all said and done, obviously, in this series, you have to win three games," Gordon said. "We just have to win three in a row."

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

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), Tyrell Goulbourne (healthy), Radel Fazleev (healthy), Boyd Gordon (lower body since 2/8), Mark Friedman (healthy) and Reece Willcox (healthy)


An action-packed first period in Game 2 saw Lehigh Valley dominate Hershey similar to the way they controlled the opening period of Game 1. The only difference Saturday night for the Phantoms was that they solved Pheonix Copley and began converting on their chances.

Before the Phantoms took an early 1-0 lead, their captain set the tone with a bone crunching hit on the opening shift of the contest - sending Bears defenseman Aaron Ness to the ice. The Bears took offense to the clean hit, and gave Lehigh Valley a power play.

On the man advantage in the opening minute, T.J. Brennan took a pass from Greg Carey at the point and rifled one past Pheonix Copley to the top shelf - giving the Phantoms their first goal and first lead of the series 1:10 into the contest.

Hershey tied things up at 1-1 on their first shot of the game 5:58 into the period, with Stanislav Galiev finishing off a pretty play after a great pass from Madison Bowey set it all up.

The Phantoms continued to dominate the first period, and were finally rewarded in the closing seconds before the first intermission.

On their fourth power play of the period, Brennan from the right circle got the puck down low to Chris Conner - who from behind the net - fed a pass out in front to the other side for Andy Miele to quickly blast to the top corner to give the Phantoms a 2-1 lead heading into the second period.
Opportunistic Hershey again tied things at 2-2 early in the second period as Christian Djoos tallied his first of the postseason just 3:47 into the middle frame.

From there, the Phantoms went back to work - dominating play and out shooting the Bears 9-4 in the second stanza.

Greg Carey was slew-footed by noted pot-stirrer Liam O'Brien 12:12 into the middle frame, but the Phantoms didn't get their 5th power play of the night as Carey was also given a minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct for diving.

The hockey gods served justice shortly after Carey exited the penalty box, as he got a puck in the neutral zone and deked his way through the Bears defense before slinging a hard shot past Pheonix Copley to re-take the lead at 3-2 with 5:36 left before the second intermission.
Carey wasn't done there either, tallying his second of the night less than three minutes later - smacking home a rebound of a knucking Mark Zengerle shot that Copley had trouble corralling.

Entering the night, Carey had just two goals in his previous 20 games. Oddly enough, a frustrated Carey after Friday night's Game 1 loss told equipment manager Andy Rannells to throw out all of his sticks and get new ones. Perhaps the stick change did the trick.

After all their hard work to get the 4-2 lead, it was surely tough to stomach watching the Bears slowly climb back into the game - even more so after watching their starting goaltender Alex Lyon leave the game needing to be helped off the ice midway through the third period.
If there's one thing you can say for sure about this Lehigh Valley Phantoms team throughout the 2016-17 season, it's that no matter how stacked the odds have been against them they've found a way to rally and get the end result they were looking for.

Game Three in Hershey Wednesday night will be a hostile environment. It won't be easy, and will surely take some of the puck luck the Bears received in the first two games of the series, but we shouldn't be so quick to write this team off just yet. Their league-leading comebacks have earned them that at this point.



1st Period

0:20: HER - (PP) Lewington, minor (roughing)
1:10: LV - Brennan (1) - Carey, Conner
2:39: HER - (PP) Mitchell, double-minor (roughing)
2:39: LV - Brennan, minor (roughing)
5:58: HER - Galiev (1) - Bowey, Barber
6:38: HER - (PP) Vrana, minor (slashing)
6:38: HER - Lewington, minor (roughing)
6:38: LV - Leier, minor (roughing)
16:04: HER - Labrie, minor (roughing)
16:04: LV - Miele, minor (roughing)
16:04: LV - (PP) Brennan, minor (cross-checking)
16:23: LV - (PP) Alt, minor (boarding)
18:54: HER - (PP) Gazley, minor (slashing)
19:48: LV - PPG Miele (1) - Conner, Brennan

2nd Period

3:47: HER - Djoos (1) - Galiev, Barber
4:20: LV - (PP) Conner, minor (goaltender interference)
12:12: HER - O'Brien, minor (holding)
12:12: LV - Carey, minor (unsportsmanlike conduct)
14:24: LV - Carey (1) - Conner
17:12: LV - Carey (2) - Zengerle, Knight

3rd Period

6:09: HER - Galiev, minor (roughing)
6:09: LV - Bardreau, minor (roughing)
7:27: HER - Bourque (1) - Bowey, Labrie
9:55: HER - Lewington (1) - unassisted
19:37: HER - Bourque (2) - Djoos, Labrie


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


Lehigh Valley 16 - 9 - 9 = 34
Hershey Bears 4 - 4 - 9 = 17


LV - Alex Lyon (10 saves - 13 shots) and Martin Ouellette (2 saves - 4 shots)
HER - Pheonix Copley (30 saves - 34 shots)

Power Play

LV: 2-for-4
HER: 0-for-3

Penalty Kill

LV: 3-for-3
HER: 2-for-4

Attendance: 7,516


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