The Phantoms are wrapping up three games in as many nights in Hershey against the Bears. They have won the first two games; a wild 7-6 win against the Bears and a solid 4-0 win against the Binghamton Devils. The first two games were at home in the friendly confines of the PPL Center. Tonight the Phantoms traveled to the Giant Center in Hershey where the Phantoms are 3-2 so far this season. This was the 12th and final season meeting between the Phantoms and the Hershey Bears. The Phantoms played this game without third leading scorer Nicolas Aube-Kubel. Aube-Kubel was suspended by the AHL for two games for delivering an elbow to the head of a Devil’s player the previous night. In the eleven games against the Bears this season, Aube-Kubel had 12 points (8G 5A).
The Bears started the game controlling the play as the first 3 minutes of the game were largely spent in the Phantoms defensive zone. The first powerplay of the game went to the Hershey Bears on a Philippe Myers hooking penalty. However just 23 seconds into the powerplay Corban Knight was the recipient of a great feed from Cole Bardreau and skated into the offensive zone all by himself. Knight made no mistake and scored his 13th goal of the season on the short-handed breakaway to give the Phantoms the lead. The game remained 1-0 until late in the first period when the Bears answered on a goal from Joe Whitney, his 12th of the season at 16:09. The first period ended deadlocked 1-1.
The Hershey Bears again came out strong to start the second period. Tyrell Goulbourne took a hooking penalty a little over 3 minutes into the period and the Bears capitalized by scoring a powerplay goal. The goal was scored by Wayne Simpson and was his 12th goal of the season. From that point forward the Phantoms took control of the period. The Phantoms were finally able to tie the game 2-2 after a goal from Mikhail Vorobyev. The goal was the culmination of a dominating shift by Vorobyev and his linemates. Vorobyev’s 7th goal of the season came off of another nice pass from Cole Bardreau. Hershey made a charge late in the second period to narrow the significant gap in shots on goal that the Phantoms had built. Despite the late period charge from the Bears, the period ended tied 2-2.
Unlike the first two periods, it was the Phantoms that came out strong to start the third period. Chris Conner had the puck on his stick, the Bears goalie down on the ice, but couldn’t elevate the puck. The game remained tied 2-2 after Conner’s near miss. The Bears got their first good chance of the third period when Danick Martel took a tripping penalty at 6:48. The Phantoms however were able to kill off the penalty. Despite not being able to score on their powerplay, Hershey gained momentum for much of the remaining game. The Phantoms finally got their opportunity when Riley Barber took a 2 minute tripping penalty with 1:07 left in the third period. The Phantoms were unable to score and the powerplay carried over into the overtime period.
The Phantoms started off the overtime period with 53 seconds of 4-on-3 powerplay time. The Bears were able to kill of the penalty and both teams skated 4-on-4 for the remainder of the period. The best scoring chance in the overtime period went the way of the Phantoms. Phil Varone received an outlet pass and skated in on the Hershey goal on a breakaway. Pheonix Copley waited out the Varone deke attempts and made the save with just 6.5 seconds left in overtime to send the game into the shootout.
A Look at the Shootout
Wayne Simpson (HER) – SAVE by Muse
Chris Conner (LV) – SAVE by Copley
Chris Bourque (HER) – SAVE by Muse
T.J. Brennan (LV) – SAVE by Copley
Joe Whitney (HER) – GOAL
Corban Knight (LV) – GOAL
Dustin Gazley (HER) – SAVE by Muse
Phil Varone (LV) – SAVE by Copley
Riley Barber (HER) – SAVE by Muse
Mikhail Vorobyev (LV) GOAL
Finally, in the 5th round of the shootout, Mikhail Vorobyev (who earlier tied the game for the Phantoms) scored the game-winning goal. The Phantoms finish off the 3 games in 3 consecutive day stretch by winning all three games. The Phantoms will now get a much deserved four day rest before their next game.
A Look at the Shootout
With the win…
The Phantoms remain in first place in the Atlantic Division with a record of 38-15-3-4, 83 points
The Phantoms also remain in first place in the Eastern Conference and overall in the AHL, 1 point ahead of the Toronto Marlies (82 points)
The Phantoms finish their season series 10-2-0-0 vs the Bears
The Phantoms finish 4-2 at Hershey this season, including a 5-2 win at Hersheypark Stadium in the AHL Outdoor Classic on January 20th
The Phantoms are 10-1-0-1 in their last 12 games
The Phantoms are 18-10-0-2 on the road this season
- Mikhail Vorobyev (LV) 2G (Game-tying goal and game-winning shootout goal) +1, 3SOG
- Pheonix Copley (HER) – 33 saves on 35 shots, .943 SV%
- Corban Knight (LV) 1G, +1, 4SOG
The Phantoms return home to the PPL Center Friday, March 9 against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at 7:05PM.
The Phantoms are 5-0-0-0 vs. the Sound Tigers this season, including 2-0-0-0 at PPL Center.
Mandatory Credit: AP Photo/Derik Hamilton