A good Friday night fight is upon us once again in the Lehigh Valley between the Phantoms and Sound Tigers. The Phantoms come into this game 5 points behind the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins while their opponent is currently out of a playoff position with 84 points to their name. If the Sound Tigers want any chance at the playoffs, tonight was a must win.
A fight between Danick Martel and Kellen Jones really set the tone of the game halfway through the first period after Jones gave Travis Sanheim a punch to the face during play. This caused a small scrap between the teams which resulted in the fight. Both players received game misconduct penalties along with their 5 minute major fighting penalties.
Under one minute later, Bridgeport got a lucky bounce that went off of Stolarz, Michael Dal Colle’s pants, and into the net. The referees initially called it a no-goal, which stood after review.
Tyrell Goulbourne took a roughing penalty behind the play about 45 seconds after the previous penalty. During the resulting Bridgeport power play, Michael Dal Colle managed to center the puck to the slot after a 2-on-1 as Stolarz was out of position for an easy goal off the stick of Jake Bischoff.
Later in the period, Travis Sanheim springed Colin McDonald on a bank pass off the right wing boards for a breakaway. He decided to take a slapshot from the faceoff circle that went over the shoulder of Eamon McAdam and into the net to tie the game at 1.
A tripping penalty with just over 2 minutes left in the period was committed by Taylor Leier at the blue line and stopped a Bridgeport odd-man rush. Carter Verhaeghe missed an open net on a flopping Stolarz who recovering from a previous shot. They did not get another chance to score on the PP due to quality penalty killing by the Phantoms. The period ended with Bridgeport leading in shots 15-6.
Less than 5 minutes into the period, Patrick Cullity found Michael Dal Colle rushing to the net off the faceoff for an easy tip-in on Stolarz off his own rebound to make it 2-1.
A hooking penalty by Kane Lafranchise on Corban Knight occurred directly in front of the Bridgeport net, and this gave the Phantoms a powerplay that was easily killed by Bridgeport with some nifty puck play in the neutral zone. They limited the Phantoms just 2 shots on goal during the kill.
15 minutes into the period, Michael Dal Colle went down and stayed down for a minute. Robert Haag was in the process of a hit on him and could not stop. He ended up with his knee in Dal Colle’s ribs and neck. He was out on the ice for his next shift after being attended to by the trainer.
Lehigh Valley received a power play after a pressured T.J. Brennan took his own stick to the face from Darren Nowick’s lifting of Brennan’s stick. The Phantoms could not score during the remaining 1:30 in the period.
Bridgeport successfully killed the remaining penalty time to start the 3rd period, but just over a minute later, they went back on the penalty kill when Michael Dal Colle tripped T.J. Brennan behind Anthony Stolarz. The two minutes quickly passed on yet another failed PP by the Phantoms.
A goal scored by Joshua Winquist that deflected off his leg was counted on a shot that came from Kane Lafranchise. Stolarz extended the glove but was unsuccessful on this odd goal. This made the score 3-1, and that’s how it would be until the end of the game, as Scott Gordon’s pulling of Stolarz did not result in any goals.
- This game is the second time this week both teams are playing each other. The first game ended in a 4-3 overtime win for the Phantoms. They were trailing 3-1 at one point.
- Just like the last game against the Sound Tigers, Anthony Stolarz is making the start in goal for the Phantoms, trying for another win against the Sound Tigers.
- Lehigh Valley cannot go 0-3 on the power play and expect to win games. Especially against the 2nd worst PK in the Atlantic Division.
- The Phantoms defense made too many errors, including allowing cross-crease passes and turnovers to happen. Stolarz managed to bail them out with some big saves.
- Anthony Stolarz was the Phantoms best player tonight with 37 shots against him, letting in 3 goals. It did not seem like any of the scoring chances the Phantoms had were in their favor.
Lehigh Valley will face the WBS Penguins and the Hershey Bears on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Still trying to catch up to the first place Penguins, they obviously need a win tomorrow to at least gain 2 points on them. They will need to face the best PK in the league tomorrow.
With their win tonight, Bridgeport is one point away from the Bears for the final playoff position in the Atlantic Division. Playing them tomorrow, the Sound Tigers will be trying their hardest to win.
Andrew Ostrosky is a writer and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms reporter for Good Night, Good Hockey. You can follow him on Twitter @HockeyGuyFromSL.