Phantoms Win at Pens 3-2, Magic Number at 13
March 25, 2023
Wilkes-Barre, PA – Adam Brooks (9th) cranked home the winning goal in the opening minute of overtime as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms rallied from behind to take down the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 3-2 on Saturday night. Artem Anisimov pushed a faceoff forward and chased down the available puck behind the goal-line setting up his connection with Brooks in front of the net for the team’s sixth overtime victory of the season and its second at Wilkes-Barre.
Anisimov (17th) scored a tying goal in the third period as well as assisting on the Brooks winner. Garrett Wilson (16th) stayed hot with his 11th goal in the last 13 games when he converted off a Penguins defenseman in the first period. Emil Andrae made his AHL and North American debut for the Phantoms and recorded a secondary assist on Anisimov’s power-play goal in the third period.
Lehigh Valley trimmed its Magic Number to clinch a playoff berth to just 13 points via a four-point day with the Phantoms’ own win combined with Hartford’s 4-0 loss to Springfield. Every point the Phantoms acquire, or that Hartford does not obtain in its games, will trim the Magic Number further. There are nine games remaining in the regular season.
The Penguins struck first in the intense and physical battle. Drake Caggiula (18th) blocked a slapshot and raced away uncontested at Sam Ersson for an unassisted breakaway goal on the stick side of the Phantoms netminder at 3:22 into the game.
Lehigh Valley answered at 7:07 into the game when Wilson attempted to connect with an onrushing Artem Anisimov in the slot. Wilson’s pass from the right boards instead went off a Penguins defender and into the net. What may very well have been a goal for Anisimov instead turned into a goal for the red-hot Wilson because the Penguins player knocked it in before Anisimov could touch it.
The Penguins took the lead on a bank play of their own in the second period when Perkiomenville native Josh Maniscalco’s pass from the left wing intended for Nathan Legare instead went off of Adam Ginning and then barely trickled in across the line just barely beyond the reach of Ersson and Ginning who almost pulled it out. Maniscalco’s first-career goal in the AHL at 5:44 into the second period provided the Penguins a 2-1 advantage.
Jonathan Gruden dealt a hard hit to Elliot Desnoyers that drew the attention of Phantoms defenseman Adam Karashik who immediately answered the call to defend his teammate. The fight was a highlight of a hard game with several skirmishes and hits and shoves. Karashik was assessed an instigating penalty and had to sit out a combined 17 minutes.
The Phantoms evened the score early in the third period with newcomer Emil Andrae setting up a power-play goal. Bobby Brink, stationed on the left boards, took the pass from Andrae and found an open Anisimov in the right circle who scored on the stick-side of the left-handed goalie Taylor Gauthier with just one second left on the power play at 2:52 into the third period for a 2-2 tie.
The power-play goal also snapped a streak of 25 consecutive penalty kills by the Penguins dating back to March 5.
Both teams exchanged strong chances for the rest of the third period but Ersson and Gauthier made key saves when called upon and the defenders in front of them came up with several vital blocks and disruptions.
Anisimov pushed an overtime faceoff forward from the left circle instead of trying to drag it backward. Taking advantage of the extra ice in the 3-on-3 situation, Anisimov quickly chased down the available puck to find Brooks out in front for the game-winner at just 37 seconds into overtime.
Lehigh Valley improved to 6-3 in overtime games this year with five of their overtime victories coming on the road including two in Wilkes-Barre. The Phantoms are now 18-6-6 in their 30 one-goal decisions this season. The Phantoms also improved to 6-4-1 against the Penguins with one more game remaining in the season’s rivalry series. Lehigh Valley also picked up its sixth comeback victory when trailing at the second intermission.
Sam Ersson became the fifth Lehigh Valley goalie to win 20 games in a season and is the first to do so since Dustin Tokarski had 20 wins in 2017-18.
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms return to action Sunday at 5:00 p.m. at the Hershey Bears.
1st 3:22 – WBS, D. Caggiula (18) (unassisted) 0-1
1st 7:07 – LV, G. Wilson (16) (A. Brooks, W. Wylie) 1-1
2nd 5:44 – WBS, J. Maniscalco (1) (J. Gruden, N. Legard) (PP) 1-2
3rd 2:52 – LV, A. Anisimov (17) (B. Brink, E. Andrae) (PP) 2-2
OT 0:37 – LV, A. Brooks (9) (A. Anisimov) 3-2
LV 24 – WBS 21
LV 1/3, WBS 1/3
LV – S. Ersson (W) (20-14-1) (19/21)
WBS – T. Gauthier (OTL) (7-3-5) (21/24)
Lehigh Valley (32-25-6)
Phantoms Tickets are available HERE
Sunday, March 26 (5:00) at Hershey Bears
Friday, March 31 (7:05) vs. WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON PENGUINS
Saturday, April 1 (7:05) vs. HERSHEY BEARS
Sunday, April 2 (3:00) at Bridgeport Islanders
Friday, April 7 (7:05) vs. CHARLOTTE CHECKERS
Saturday, April 8 (7:05) vs. SPRINGFIELD THUNDERBIRDS
UPCOMING AT PPL CENTER
Sunday, March 26 (6:30) – Penn State vs. Michigan, NCAA Tournament Regional Final
Friday, March 31 (7:05) vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins – Berks $1 Hot Dogs
Saturday, April 1 (7:05) vs. Hartford Wolf Pack – Saturday Night Hockey Live! Jimmy and the Parrots
Friday, April 7 (7:05) vs. Charlotte Checkers – Berks $1 Hot Dogs
Saturday, April 8 (7:05) vs. Springfield Thunderbirds – Star Wars Night! SNHL with DJ Jamal “Jedi” Knight
Friday, April 14 (7:05) vs. Charlotte Checkers – Regular Season Home Finale. Berks $1 Hot Dogs