The first period saw a lot of action on both ends of the ice, but no scoring. Second year player Anthony Stolarz was in goal for Lehigh Valley and put on an amazing display for the crowd, making nine saves. The Phantoms, although showing some pre-season confusion at times, had their own opportunities to score. However, they could not capitalize on their eight shots on goal and the scored remained 0 – 0 after one.
The second period brought much of the same for the first 12 minutes as the teams went up and down the ice with scoring chances, but none hit the net. This changed at the 12:18 mark when the home team took advantage of a power play to get on the scoreboard. Taylor Leier redirected a slap-shot by the “Ghost”, Shayne Gostisbehere, to the puck past Hartford goalie, Jeff Malcom. Nick Cousins was also credited with an assist. Lehigh Valley enjoyed the lead for about four minutes until Hartford’s Petr Zamborsky found the back of the net with a few minutes remaining in the second.
The Wolf Pack made quick work of scoring in the first minute of the third period on a power play goal by Calle Anderson, assisted by Zamborsky and Marek Hrivik. Hartford then finished the scoring at about the 8:00 minute mark when Hrivik skated across the front of the crease got the puck and used a backhander to put it across the line.
Even though it was a loss, the pre-season game provided important ice time to entire team to practice using new coach Scott Gordon’s system.
The second game of the weekend was even more exciting and a win for the home-town Phantoms! They squared off against rival Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for the second time in five days and came out on top 4-3, in front of a light Sunday crowd. The attendance was just about 5500.
The first period was all Lehigh Valley as they scored twice and didn’t allow a goal. At the 10:59 mark, Petre Straka scored on a pass from Shayne Gostisbehere. Cole Bardreau also assisted on the play. Just five minutes later the Phantoms scored again by taking advantage of a power play. Taylor Brent popped in the rebound of a Taylor Leier’s shot, saved by Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry.
The score remained 2-0 for almost 20 minutes as the team traded runs up the and down the ice, but neither team was able to hit that back of the net. At the 15:09 point of the second period, Danick Martel found Nick Cousins who shot past Jarry for a 3-0 lead. This would prove to be the only goal of the second frame.
It appeared that Lehigh Valley was feeling just a little too comfortable as they allowed the visitors to score three relatively quick goals in the first 9 minutes of the third. Sahir Gill scored at 2:32 with an assist from Ty Loney. Loney then took his turn at lighting the lamp five minutes with assists from John McCarron and Gill. Less than two minutes later the score was knotted at three on an unassisted goal by Oskar Sundqvist.
At this point it was a whole new game with ten minutes to play. The fans became nervous and excited at the same time. The Phantoms put them a bit at ease with a turnover goal by Martel at 15:37. In a last ditch attempt to tie the score, W-B/Scranton used a power play and an extra attacker but could not get it done.
Lehigh Valley Phantom fans were thrilled to experience the first home win of the season! The regular season starts on Saturday, October 10th – come out and enjoy the game!