The Lehigh Valley Phantoms had themselves quite a busy weekend. They hosted the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Friday night and then traveled to Bridgeport to take on the Sound Tigers both Saturday and Sunday.
How would the Phantoms they fare on this busy weekend filled with three-straight contests?
Phantoms (3) vs. WBS Penguins (4) Shootout
Lehigh Valley opened their weekend on Friday night at home against the Penguins. Alex Lyon represented the Phantoms in net while Casey DeSmith played between the pipe for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
The Penguins got the best of Lyon early, recording the first three goals of the game. Sam Lafferty capitalized on a WBS powerplay just over five minutes left in the opening period. Then, in the final minute of the opening period, Stefan Noesen scored his tenth goal of the season. Less than five minutes into the middle period, Anthony Angello increased his third goal of the yeat to increase the Penguins lead to 3-0.
It might have taken the Phantoms over a period and a half to get this going; however, David Kase helped change momentum with his first goal late in the second. Andy Andreoff then kicked off the final period with his third goal of the year less than two minutes in. All of a sudden, a full comeback was looking like a real possibility. Things would quiet down until Greg Carey evened up the score 17:59 into the third. Carey has taken a little bit to get going this season but certainly provided a spark when necessary.
Overtime provided no winner and the game went to a shootout. Morgan Frost opened things up beating DeSmith for a goal. Noesen then continued his hot start to the season, scoring on Lyon to even things up. Mikhail Vorobyev could not keep Lehigh Valley in the driver’s seat, failing to put the puck in the net. Next, Joseph Blandisi took advantage of his opportunity scoring the eventual game-winning shootout goal. Maksim Sushko was the Phantoms last hope and could not capitalize. Lehigh Valley wound up on the losing end, suffering the shootout defeat.
Phantoms (3) @ Bridgeport Sound Tigers (2)
Saturday, Lehigh Valley traveled to Bridgeport for their first of two games against the Sound Tigers. Jean-Francois Berube took the net for the Phantoms and Christopher Gibson did the same for Bridgeport.
The scoring would open up in an uncommon way. Kyle Criscuolo was awarded a penalty shot and capitalized to give Lehigh Valley a one-goal lead. That advantage would last until the second period when Bridgeport started to apply the pressure. Matt Lorito and Simon Holmstrom provided consecutive tallies to give the Sound Tigers a 2-1 lead. Fortunately, the Phantoms did not allow Bridgeport’s lead to last long. Morgan Frost recorded his third goal of the season just over three minutes left in the period to knot things up. Midway into the final period, Nicolas Aube-Kubel put Lehigh Valley back into the lead with his third on the year. The Phantoms held onto that lead and walked away with an impressive 3-2 victory over the Sound Tigers.
Phantoms (3) @ Bridgeport Sound Tigers (4)
Lehigh Valley concluded their jampacked weekend with another game in Bridgeport on Sunday evening. Alex Lyon started in net for the Phantoms while Jakub Skarek manned the goal for the Sound Tigers.
The game was a back-and-forth affair right from the get-go. Bridgeport got out to an early lead just over two minutes in on a goal from Otto Koivula. It took the Phantoms some time to get the score even again. However, it finally happened in the final minute of the period as Cal O’Reilly posted his first goal of the season. Lehigh Valley then took a 2-1 lead just over five minutes into the middle period. Aube-Kubel posted his fourth goal of the season and second of the weekend to give his team the advantage. Unfortunately, the Phantoms lead would not last through the period. David Quenneville lit the lamp on Brideport’s powerplay opportunity for his first goal of the year. The teams entered the locker room all tied up at two goals apiece two periods of play.
Although he failed to make the Flyers out of training camp, rookie forward, Morgan Frost, is really demonstrating his value with Lehigh Valley. Just under three minutes into the final period against the Sound Tigers, Frost posted his fourth goal of the year to once again give the Phantoms the lead. Once again, the lead did not last. Simon Holmstrom knotted things back up with his second of the year and then Koivula put in his second of the game to give the Sound Tigers a 4-3 lead.
Unfortunately, that would be all she wrote for the Phantoms. Lehigh Valley exited Sunday’s contest as the losers of a 4-3 contest to Bridgeport, splitting the weekend series with them.
Of course, Lehigh Valley was looking for more than one win. However, it is hard to be disappointed with their effort in any of the games. They really could have won all three contests this weekend and just need to focus on holding onto those late leads. Morgan Frost continues to look great for this team. If Nolan Patrick cannot re-enter the Flyers roster, look for Frost to get a call-up at some point this season.
The Phantoms will play in a mid-week showdown against the WBS Penguins at home on Wednesday. Then, they will have a home-and-home against the Hershey Bears on Saturday and Sunday.
Mandatory Credit: Alex McIntyre