Last night, the Hershey Bears completed a 1-0 win over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms to start the 5-game series off with a win. Both goaltenders were amazing against their counterpart team stopping everything that came at them. Game 2 was set to be held the next night.
Yet again, the tone of the game was set with a big hit by Colin McDonald on Aaron Ness in the corner behind Pheonix Copley. Tyler Lewington jumped McDonald who took a few uppercuts. Lewington received a roughing minor that sent the Phantoms on an immediate power play that TJ Brennan scored on from the point on a wrist shot that found the open corner above Copley’s shoulder. A little after the whistle, a scrum broke out after an icing that sent T.J. Brennan and to the box for roughing, and Garrett Mitchell received a double roughing for the same penalty. The Phantoms power play was not successful this time as the Bears PK allowed fewer completed passes. About a minute after the penalty kill, the Bears managed to set up some offense that allowed Madison Bowey to set up Stanislav Galiev in front of the net to put the puck low past Lyon’s pad and into the net. As soon as the Bears stopped celebrating a goal, Jakub Vrana took a slashing penalty and Lewington a roughing to give the Phantoms their 3rd power play in the first 10 minutes of the game.
After the previous goals, there were no signs of play slowing down. An odd man rush almost turned into a goal by the Phantoms but the puck found the post and ended up under a turned around Copley. Copley found himself in the middle of an all-out brawl that sent Hubert Labrie and Andy Miele for roughing and T.J. Brennan for cross checking to the penalty box. Mark Alt also went to the penalty box for boarding just seconds later to give the Bears a 5-on-3 power play for just under 2 minutes. Alex Lyon and the Phantoms PK stood strong with 2 successful kills. Just after the previous penalties expired, Dustin Gazley took a slashing penalty that resulted in an Andy Miele goal ripped over the same shoulder Copley let the first one in.
Lehigh Valley dominated the first period with 2 goals on 16 shots, while Hershey had 1 goal on 4 shots.
The second period started with a goal by Christian Djoos that made its way over the near shoulder of Lyon. On the Phantoms rush after the faceoff, Chris Conner made contact with Copley that was considered interference and was sent to the sin bin while Alex Lyon and the PK stood tall. Most of the play was kept in the neutral zone with multiple turnovers by both sides.
Eventually, Liam O’Brien was called for holding up Greg Carey who in turn for was called for unsportsmanlike conduct. 4-on-4 hockey ensued until the expiration of both penalties until coming out of the box, Greg Carey was sprung from a pass off the stick of Chris Conner that led him to a shot that ricocheted under the arm of Copley and into the net.
After an icing call, something happened to Aaron Ness that sent him off the ice and back into the locker room. Just after, the Phantoms put another goal on the board when Copley had trouble with a knuckle puck that was shot by Mark Zengerle and batted into the net by Greg Carey to give Lehigh Valley the 4-2 lead heading into the locker room for intermission.
Once again, the Phantoms were better than the Bears in the 2nd period racking up 9 more shots and 2 goals while limiting the Bears to 4 shots and 1 goal.
The period was slow to start until an out of position Pheonix Copley made an unbelievable save with the extended pad on a shot from Chris Conner. The Phantoms presence in front of Copley and the shots they are taking look completely different from what was seen in the first two periods. Cole Bardreau took it upon himself to lay down some hits in front of the bench only to get mauled by other Bears players and start a bit of a scrap. Galiev and Bardreau each took a roughing minor sending play to more 4-on-4. Madison Bowey took a wrist shot from the point that was deflected by Chris Bourque and made its way past Alex Lyon to make it 4-3.
Alex Lyon got hurt on a save that pushed him back into the net flexing his leg more than it should. He was helped off the ice not putting any weight on his right leg. Martin Ouellette took over for the injured Lyon who headed into the locker room. About a minute after Ouellette entered the game, Lewington shot a knuckle puck that found the back of the net to tie the game 4-4.
Both teams turned to a lot of dump and chase to try to score the game winning goal but did not succeed until a slap shot taken by Djoos was deflected by Chris Bourque and got past Ouellette with under a minute to go in the 3rd period to send the Bears off the ice with the win once again.
FINAL: Hershey 5-4
SHOTS: Lehigh Valley 34-17
- Alex Lyon did not let in any goals during regulation the previous game. If he can do the same, the Phantoms have a good chance at winning, assuming offense isn’t an issue.
- Lehigh Valley went 0-4 on the power play last night. Power play goals are a must for the Phantoms.
- Pheonix Copley is the biggest threat to the Phantoms this series. If they can find a way to get in his head, that would be the best thing they can do to get the puck in the net.
- With Tyrell Goulbourne scratched, and Nic Aube-Kubel in, Scott Gordon might have done that in hopes to produce more offense.
- Philippe Myers is doubtful to play this series. Scott Gordon mentioned he has been practicing with the team to get a feel for their style of play.
Heading to Hershey for game 3
Once again, a game that was right in front of the Phantoms was taken away by the Bears. Their philosophy stays the same going away to the Giant Center for game 3 on Monday. With Alex Lyon seen on crutches not putting much weight on his right leg, Martin Ouellette will be the man to step in and try to avoid the sweep. Carter Hart may also suit up to back up Ouelette for the rest of the series.
Andrew Ostrosky is a writer and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms reporter for Good Night, Good Hockey. You can follow him on Twitter @HockeyGuyFromSL.