Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Rallies for 3-2 Shootout Win
November 25, 2022
Wilkes-Barre, PA – Tyson Foerster (4th) and Elliot Desnoyers (6th) lit the lamp as the Phantoms built a 2-0 lead on the road but the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins scored twice in the last seven minutes of the third and eventually prevailed in a 3-2 shootout on Friday night in Northeast Pennsylvania.
Pat Nagle for Lehigh Valley was embroiled in a tremendous goaltenders’ duel with former Phantom Dustin Tokarski in an exciting battle filled with big chances for both sides.
It was Drake Caggiula’s shorthanded goal with 2:01 remaining in the third period that capped the comeback and forced overtime.
Lehigh Valley (7-6-2) played its 11th one-goal decision out of 15 games this year and went to overtime for a fifth time this season while recording a standings point for the sixth time in the last seven games.
Tyson Foerster opened the scoring with 6:27 remaining in the first period getting to the net-front to deflect a Louie Belpedio point shot. Olle Lycksell, returning from injury after a four-game absence, recorded the secondary assist on the play. Foerster’s goal came just seven seconds after a power play had expired and while Lehigh Valley had continued momentum from the man advantage. Foerster’s 11 points this year is tops on the team.
The Phantoms continually threatened to build on its lead in the second period but Tokarski stood on his head to keep the Penguins within striking distance. Lehigh Valley enjoyed a 15-3 shots advantage at one point in the second period with several close-range chances including one for Desnoyers all alone on Tokarski that was denied by the two-time Calder Cup winner who recorded his 200th career AHL win.
Then it was the Penguins’ turn to surge back. Nagle made several strong saves for the final five minutes of the second frame to keep the Phantoms ahead. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton also had shots off the post in the first period from Valterri Puustinen from the left circle aiming for the far side and then Drake Cagguila on a speedy and dangerous setup on the move late in the second period.
Desnoyers drove up the left boards and blasted his way into the Penguins zone midway through the third period. After receiving the puck back from Cam York, Desnoyers curled around to the right-wing side of the cage for a sneaky wraparound effort on Tokarski that went off his knee and bounced inside his paddle and inside the far post for a 2-0 advantage with 9:27 remaining in the third.
But the Penguins weren’t ready to throw in the towel and came at Lehigh Valley with an even harder push. Puustinen (5th) carried quickly to the right corner and offered a sharp-angle shot that squeaked through Nagle, perhaps on a deflection, to get the home team on the board with just 6:47 left.
Lehigh Valley weathered another strong Wilkes-Barre/Scranton surge and appeared to be in good shape when Kyle Olson tripped up Wyatte Wylie with 2:42 remaining in the third period to give the Phantoms a late power play. But the Penguins rushed up to pressure after a clear and forced a turnover to lead to the equalizing tally. Caggiula skated hard at Nagle who had come out of the crease to play the long clear. The veteran goalie adeptly steered his bank off the end-boards away from Caggiula and over to Ronnie Attard in the corner who had support from Garrett Wilson. But Filip Hallander appeared on the scene and went for broke. With a fortuitous bounce combined with some solid hustle, Hallander had the steal in the left circle and was able to connect with Caggiula to bury the stunning tying strike for his second of the season with just 2:01 to go.
Artem Anisimov had a chance with 1:45 left while the Phantoms were still on the power play. After a shot by Olle Lycksell banged off Tokarski’s helmet, Anisimov was there on the right of the cage ready to bury the rebound but Tokarski dove out to somehow get a glove on Anisimov’s effort for what appeared to be a slam-dunk winning goal thus finding an opportune time to turn in the top save of the evening and one of the best of year.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton had a power play to open the overtime when Tyson Foerster was tagged for tripping just eight seconds into the 3-on-3 period. But the Phantoms’ penalty kill buckled down and had one key block after another while Nagle turned in three strong saves. Cam York and Kevin Connauton and Cal O’Reilly all had big blocks on the OT P.K. and Attard came up with a clutch interception.
The high-energy and pace continued through the remaining minutes of overtime with some 4-on-4 and 3-on-3 but neither team could break through.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Alex Nylander scored on a top-shelf backhander in the first round for the only goal of the skills competition. Foerster, Alex Kile and Desnoyers all came up empty in the shootout against Tokarski as the Penguins pulled off the 3-2 comeback shootout win. Their victory somewhat avenges the only other meeting here between the two teams when Louie Belpedio spoiled Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s home opener with a stunning and buzzer-beating overtime goal against Tokarski with just 1.4 seconds left.
Lehigh Valley is 1-1-1 against the Penguins this season. Game 4 out 12 in the season series will take place at PPL Center on New Year’s Eve.
The Phantoms return to PPL Center for their first home game in two weeks when they host the Rochester Americans on Saturday night featuring a Postgame Skate with the Phantoms players.
1st 13:33 – LV T. Foerster (4) (L. Belpedio, O. Lycksell)
3rd 10:33 – LV E. Desnoyers (6) (C. York)
3rd 13:13 – V. Puustinen (5) (D. Caggiula, X. Ouellet)
3rd 17:59 – D. Caggiula (2) (F. Hallander) (SH)
LV – Foerster No, Kile No, Desnoyers No
WBS – Nylander Yes, O’Connor No, Svejkovsky No
LV 34 – WBS 36
LV 0/3, WBS 0/2
LV – P. Nagle (SOL) (0-1-1) (33/35)
WBS – D. Tokarski (W) (7-2-2) (32/34)
Lehigh Valley (7-6-2)
Saturday, November 26 (7:05) vs. ROCHESTER AMERICANS
Wednesday, November 30 (7:05) vs. HERSHEY BEARS
Friday, December 2 (7:00) at Charlotte Checkers
Saturday, December 3 (6:00) at Charlotte Checkers
Saturday, November 26 (7:05) vs. Rochester Americans – Postgame Skate with Phantoms Players
Wednesday, November 30 (7:05) vs. Hershey Bears – Military Appreciation Night Presented by Netizen
Friday, December 9 (7:05) vs. Charlotte Checkers – Berks $1 Hot Dogs!
Saturday, December 10 (7:05) vs. Charlotte Checkers – Phantoms Hat Giveaway Presented by Service Electric
Saturday, December 17 (7:05) vs. Providence Bruins – Teddy Bear Toss Presented by Big Woody’s