Phantoms Take Rivalry Series 6-5
May 8, 2021
Hershey, PA – The Lehigh Valley Phantoms threw everything they had at Bears’ goalie Pheonix Copley but 34 shots still wasn’t enough to break through in a 3-0 loss in Chocolate Town on Saturday afternoon.
The Phantoms had more chances overall and also more quality chances but Copley was the difference-maker in pushing Hershey to victory in the last game of the season between the two rivals. Lehigh Valley went 6-5-0 against the Bears this season.
Trailing 1-0 in the second period, the Phantoms were perhaps at their best. Tyson Foerster was sprung free from the penalty box with a breakaway in the clear but his backhand attempt was kicked aside by the right log of Copley to keep the Bears ahead.
Shortly after that came Brennan Saulnier, following a pickoff at the blue line, rushing at the goalie with a give-and-go with Tanner MacMaster. But Copley again had the answer, this time with the left leg.
Earlier in the period, Copley had gone down and Garrett Wilson had a chance at the net-front but Copley scrambled to cover as much space as he could to make another save.
A sliding stop on Tyler Wotherspoon on a give from Chris Mueller was another show-stopper that he made in the second period among other big chances the Phantoms continued to develop all game long.
Isaac Ratcliffe and Connor Bunnaman and Ryan Fitzgerald were also among those who had high-caliber chances thwarted by the Bears’ netminder.
It was just the second time this season the Phantoms have been shut out. Both times have happened in Hershey with Hunter Shepard victimizing Lehigh Valley a week earlier.
Axel Jonsson-Fjallby opened the scoring on a fluky play early in the game with his wrister from the right circle forcing McIntyre to kick out the right leg for a strong stop. Connor McMichael was cutting into the slot for a rebound try but the puck instead banked off the leg of a Phantoms’ defenseman and back into the net before the Capitals’ first-rounder could pot the goal himself. Hershey took a 1-0 lead at 3:37 into the game.
In the second period, shortly after some of Copley’s most eye-popping denials of the day, it was Joe Snively banging in a one-timer in the slot on a give from behind the goal by Phil Maillet for a 2-0 lead at 12:21 into the second period.
Maillet eventually added an empty-netter with 3:20 left to complete the scoring.
The Phantoms out shot the Bears 34-28 in the game. Zane McIntyre was good and made several strong stops of his own to keep the Phantoms in comeback range.
Lehigh Valley (16-7-4) returns to PPL Center on Sunday afternoon at 3:05 p.m. taking on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
The Phantoms have just one more away game remaining on Wednesday night in Newark against the Binghamton Devils and then will conclude the season at home next weekend with PPL Center engagements on Saturday, May 15 and Sunday, May 16.
Tickets for the remaining Phantoms’ home games are available HERE.
1st, 3:17 – HER, A. Jonsson-Fjallby (10) (M. Kempny, P. Copley)
2nd, 12:21 – HER, J. Snively (6) (P. Maillet, M. Moulson)
3rd, 16:40 – HER, P. Maillet (6) (M. Mouls0n) EN
LV 32 – HER 26
LV 0/2, HER 0/2
LV – Zane McIntyre (24/26) (10-3-2)
HER – Pheonix Copley (34/34) (10-4-1)