Phantoms Roll 4-0 in Morning Game at Hartford
November 2, 2016
Hartford, CT – Anthony Stolarz perhaps never thought of himself as a morning person before. But he may want to revise that idea based on his stellar 33-save shutout performance in a 4-0 Phantoms victory at Hartford in a rare Wednesday morning game.
T.J. Brennan led the way with one goal and two assists while Cole Bardreau (1st), Corban Knight (2nd) and Mark Zengerle (3rd) also found the back of the net in Lehigh Valley’s second straight win in as many Hartford appearances. Zengerle added an assist to go with his goal for a 2-point performance while Reece Willcox finished with a +3 rating for the day.
The 11:00 a.m. contest was part of a special School Day event for the Hartford Wolf Pack. But the thousands of screaming kids enjoying the festivities were denied the opportunity to cheer for a goal from the home team due to “Stolie the Goalie’s” third career shutout.
The last shutout for Stolarz was two seasons ago on December 19, 2014 in a 36-save performance against the Hershey Bears as part of a 2-0 win. That game was a 1-0 nailbiter until an empty-netter with less than one second to go officially clinched it. This one at Hartford wasn’t quite as close.
T.J. Brennan opened the scoring at 11:15 into the first period thanks to some hard work by Taylor Leier and Jordan Weal. Leier hustled to work the puck free and then Weal from the left boards fired a perfect bullet to Brennan who spotted an opening in the slot. Brennan had plenty of time to choose his corner to bury his third of the season.
Right after the Brennan goal, the Wolf Pack raced at Stolarz with a 3-on-1 but Nicklas Jensen on the backdoor would be denied off the glove of the diving Stolarz who turned in perhaps his best save of the day.
Nic Aube-Kubel would knock a puck free to an open Mark Zengerle who was denied on his mini-breakaway off the pads of Magnus Hellburg. But Cole Bardreau scooped up the long rebound falling away and was able to snipe his first of the season to the vacated upper portion of the net over the sprawled Hartford netminder.
The Phantoms emerged from a dominating first-period performance with a 2-0 lead. Lehigh Valley had out shot the Wolf Pack 14-7 in the opening 20 minutes.
Hartford’s best efforts to trim that margin came throughout a 16-shot barrage in the middle frame that tested Stolarz and the Phantoms defense. Eventually, the Phantoms were able to escape to the locker-room with the 2-0 advantage still intact thanks to 16 more denials from Stolarz.
The Phantoms began to put away the game in the early minutes of the third. Corban Knight reached across from the left circle to deflect a Brennan drive from the point that would re-direct across past the far shoulder of Hellburg for a 3-0 lead. The Wolf Pack contended that the puck was possibly tipped by a high-stick from Knight but the goal was good and Hartford suddenly found themselves behind by three.
T. J. Brennan offered another left-point bomb later in the third period. This time it would be Mark Zengerle on the top of the crease with the tip-in with 5:05 remaining for the fourth strike of the day.
With the verdict having already been decided the only drama remaining was whether the goose-egg would stand on the home side of the scoreboard. Ryan Graves offered a quality chance from the left of the cage with about 40 seconds left for the final serious challenge to Stolarz blank sheet but the lanky backstop would come through with his 33rd stop of the day to preserve the impressive win.
The shutout was the sixth ever for Lehigh Valley and is the 89th all-time recorded for the Phantoms franchise. Stolarz moves into eighth place all-time (tied with Martin Houle) with three Phantoms shutouts. The all-time franchise record is held by Neil Little who had 18 blank-sheets in a Phantoms sweater.
Hartford out shot the Phantoms 33-30. Lehigh Valley was 0-for-3 on the power play while Hartford finished at 0-for-2. The Phantoms evened their overall record at 3-3-1 while the Pack fell to 3-5.
The Phantoms are 2-1 against Hartford this season with both of their victories coming in Connecticut. The two teams will rematch on Saturday, November 28 at PPL Center in the fourth of eight regular-season encounters.
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms conclude their five-game road swing on Friday night at the Providence Bruins at 7:05. Listen on 1470-WSAN and the iHeartRadio app and website beginning with the Air Products Countdown to Faceoff at 6:20.
The Phantoms next home game is Saturday, November 5 at 7:05 against the Springfield Thunderbirds on 80’s Night at PPL Center. Tickets are on sale at PPLCenter.com or by calling 610-347-TIXX (8499).
Most Shutouts – Phantoms
18 Neil Little
13 Antero Niittymaki
11 Scott Munroe
7 Michael Leighton
6 Brian Boucher
5 Jean-Marc Pelletier
4 Cal Heeter
3 Anthony Stolarz
3 Martin Houle
Lehigh Valley Phantoms 4 at Hartford Wolf Pack 0 – Status: Final
Wednesday, November 2, 2016 – XL Center
Lehigh Valley 2 0 2 – 4
Hartford 0 0 0 – 0
1st Period-1, Lehigh Valley, Brennan 3 (Weal, Leier), 11:15. 2, Lehigh Valley, Bardreau 1 (Zengerle, Aube-Kubel), 18:52. Penalties-Glass Hfd (slashing), 0:22.
2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Fazleev Lv (tripping), 2:33; Stromwall Hfd (tripping), 10:16.
3rd Period-3, Lehigh Valley, Knight 2 (Brennan, Fazleev), 2:51. 4, Lehigh Valley, Zengerle 3 (Brennan), 14:55. Penalties-Aube-Kubel Lv (holding), 8:52; Fontaine Hfd (holding), 11:27.
Shots on Goal-Lehigh Valley 14-6-10-30. Hartford 7-16-10-33.
Power Play Opportunities-Lehigh Valley 0 / 3; Hartford 0 / 2.
Goalies-Lehigh Valley, Stolarz 3-2-0-0 (33 shots-33 saves). Hartford, Hellberg 3-2-0-0 (30 shots-26 saves).
Referees-Brett Iverson (56), Pierre Lambert (47).
Linesmen-Nick Briganti (58), Paul Simeon (66).
RISE UP! Another thrilling season of Lehigh Valley Phantoms hockey at PPL Center is underway! Reserve your season tickets and group outings for the 2016-2017 season of Phantoms hockey today. For more information on how to reserve your seat at PPL Center to the hottest ticket in town, call the Phantoms front office today at 610-224-GOAL !
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The Phantoms are thrilled to host the 2017 Capital BlueCross AHL All-Star Classic at PPL Center January 28-30. The Capital BlueCross AHL All-Star Classic weekend includes a Phan Fest during the day on Saturday, January 28 and a Tailgate Party that evening, followed by the AHL All-Star Skills Competition on Sunday, January 29 and the 2017 AHL All-Star Game on Monday, January 30. Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime event. Packages starting at just $67 for the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic weekend are on sale now and include admission to Saturday’s Phan Fest & Tailgate Party, Sunday’s AHL All-Star Skills Competition and Monday’s All-Star Game. To purchase tickets, please visit www.phantomshockey.com or www.pplcenter.com.
The Phantoms are coming off their 20th Anniversary Season and second campaign in the Lehigh Valley playing at the state-of-the-art PPL Center. Established in 1996, the Phantoms spent their first 13 seasons at the Spectrum in Philadelphia before re-locating to Glens Falls, New York in 2009 where the team spent the next five seasons as the Adirondack Phantoms. A new era of Phantoms hockey began in the fall of 2014 when the Lehigh Valley Phantoms began play at the state-of-the-art PPL Center. Through 19 incredibly successful campaigns, the Phantoms have captured two Calder Cup Championships (1998, 2005), two Conference Championships (1998, 2005), two Regular Season Titles (1996-97, 1997-98) and four Division Championships (1996-97, 1997-98, 1998-99, 2003-04).