Hats Off for Back-to-Back Shutouts!!

Ouellette with 2nd Blank Sheet as Comrie Strikes Thrice

April 8, 2016

Wilkes-Barre, PA – Martin Ouellette enjoyed the experience of his first-ever AHL shutout so much that he decided on an encore performance. His 40-save masterpiece at Wilkes-Barre led the way while Adam Comrie blasted home three goals in Lehigh Valley’s 4-0 win against the rival Penguins on Friday night. The Phantoms stretched their win streak to five while finishing their impressive series of games in Wilkes-Barre with a dominating mark of 4-1-1. Lehigh Valley improved their overall record to the .500 mark at 32-32-7 with five games remaining in the regular season.

26250598371_a3f05c2ae1_zOuellette joins an elite group of six other Phantoms who have posted back-to-back shutouts which includes such notables as Brian Boucher, Antero Niittymaki, Neil Little and Michael Leighton. The last occasion for such an accomplishment was on January 2 and January 3, 2014 when Cal Heeter held Hershey and Albany scoreless on consecutive nights.

Comrie’s first-career AHL hatty came with a pair of power-play markers and was capped on a broken-stick slapper from center-point that still had enough to elude Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry. Comrie’s three-goal night was the fourth such occasion of the year for the Phantoms having also been accomplished by Colin McDonald, Taylor Leier and Danick Martel. Earlier in the day, Comrie had been named to the ECHL All-Star Second Team. He was leading all ECHL defenseman in scoring with 15 goals and 39 points at the time of his call-up to the Phantoms which came over two months ago on January 21.

A pair of highly touted prospects who were selected in the first two rounds of the 2014 draft were excited to suit up for the Phantoms for the first time. Nic Aube-Kubel assisted on the first goal of the game to record a point in his professional debut. Travis Sanheim came through with a couple of key blocks in his first pro game while narrowly missing on opportunities to light the lamp on a couple of occasions.

The night marked the first time since 2011 for the Phantoms to record a shutout and a hat trick in the same game. On April 6, 2011 Michael Leighton had a shutout while Denis Hamel scored a trifecta in a home game for the Adirondack Phantoms against Rochester. The same duo also combined for the same accomplishment a couple months earlier in a February 5, 2011 game at the Hamilton Bulldogs.

Phantoms Goalies with Consecutive Shutouts:
Brian Regan – November 19 and 22, 2000 vs. Cincinnati Mighty Ducks and St. John’s Maple Leafs
Neil Little – February 27 and March 2, 2001 at Quebec Citadelles (both games)
Antero Niittymaki – February 18 and 19, 2005 at Cincinnati Mighty Ducks and Milwaukee Admirals
Brian Boucher – November 24 and 30, 2007 at Hershey Bears and at Hamilton Bulldogs
Michael Leighton – Feburary 5 and 12, 2011 at Hamilton Bulldogs and at Wilkes-Barre Penguins
Michael Leighton – April 2 and 4, 2011 vs. Syracuse Crunch and Rochester Americans
Cal Heeter – January 2 and 3, 2014 vs. Hershey Bears and Albany Devils
Martin Ouellette – April 2 and 8, 2016 at St. John’s IceCaps and at Wilkes-Barre Penguins

The Phantoms penalty kill came through with a tremendous 8-for-8 performance to hold off the determined and frustrated Penguins skaters who had numerous close-range chances only to be denied by Ouellette’s acrobatics over and over.

26043705510_24fe1465d7_zOuellette’s debut shutout last Saturday at St. John’s featured a fine 31-save showing but his 40-save masterpiece at Wilkes-Barre for the blank-sheet encore was a masterpiece from the increasingly confident second-year pro from the University of Maine.

The two rivals engaged in a chippy affair with lots of pushing and shoving and extracurriculars behind the play. The feisty play got off to a flying start in the early minutes of the contest with Tyrell Goulbourne dropping the gloves with Patrick McGrath in a spirited bout. But for much of the first period and well into the second the spotlight would shine on Ouellette. The Phantoms were out shot 11-3 in the opening frame that included three key penalty kills. It would be 17 more drives to challenge Ouellette in the second including a couple more Wilkes-Barre power-plays but again, Ouellette was ready for everything the Penguins had to offer.

Even though the Phantoms were being out shot 26-8 at a late juncture of the second period, it would be Lehigh Valley to strike with the first lamplighter on the evening. With just their ninth shot of the game, Adam Comrie found room to maneuver up the right wing for a sharp-angle try that eluded Tristan Jarry on the short-side. Aube-Kubel’s first point as a pro was joined by Chris Conner in the assist column.

Lehigh Valley would find a somewhat fortunate bouncer in the offensive zone for their next strike. Newcomer Oskar Lindblom rushed up the left wing and offered a drive off the shoulder of Jarry. Trailing forward Tim Brent had his stick impeded on his chance for the rebound but the second trailed Chris Conner was right there to pick up the opportunity and proceeded to shoot a weird carom off the back of Tim Brent and into the net. Brent was credited with the goal as the last to touch the puck (albeit unintended) and the Phantoms suddenly found themselves up 2-0 despite a shot disparity of 30-12 against.

Seven minutes later it would be Adam Comrie on the power-play offering a center-point blast off the right iron and in on a sizzler that was assisted by Colin McDonald.

25713636443_d844624511_zLehigh Valley used their timeout with eight minutes remaining as they entered an extended 5-on-3 and it was Comrie’s turn again. This time his stick appeared to fail him but the puck still eluded the blocker of Jarry for the final strike of the game.

The large contingent of Phantoms and Flyers fans attending the game at Mohegan Sun Arena which included a nice showing from the official Phantoms Phan Club roared with approval and a few fans even offered their hats in tribute to Comrie’s accomplishment.

The rematch between the Phantoms and Penguins next Friday night at PPL Center should be an entertaining and interesting matchup indeed!

The Penguins out shot Lehigh Valley 40-22. Wilkes-Barre was held to 0-for-8 on the power play while the Phantoms finished at 2-for-8.

Just three home games remain in the regular season. The Lehigh Valley Phantoms strive for their 12th consecutive sellout when they host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Saturday, April 9 at PPL Center. A limited number of tickets remain for Saturday’s game and can be secured online at pplcenter.com, by calling 610-347-TIXX [8499] or in-person at the Mealey’s Furniture Box Office at PPL Center [701 Hamilton Street].

RISE UP! Reserve your season tickets for the 2016-2017 season of Lehigh Valley Phantoms hockey. 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 (4625)!

Lehigh Valley Phantoms 4 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 0 – Status: Final
Friday, April 8, 2016 – Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

Lehigh Valley 0 1 3 – 4
W-B/Scranton 0 0 0 – 0

1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Goulbourne Lv (fighting), 3:20; McGrath Wbs (fighting), 3:20; Brent Lv (slashing), 4:54; Alt Lv (tripping), 11:19; Krause Wbs (hooking), 14:35; Bardreau Lv (tripping), 17:42.

2nd Period-1, Lehigh Valley, Comrie 7 (Aube-Kubel, Conner), 17:25. Penalties-Parent Wbs (holding), 1:00; McDonald Lv (slashing), 1:47; Oleksy Wbs (roughing), 4:14; Martel Lv (roughing), 7:15; Erixon Wbs (roughing), 7:15; Morin Lv (hooking), 11:01; Oleksy Wbs (holding), 13:27.

3rd Period-2, Lehigh Valley, Brent 9 (Conner, Lindblom), 0:59. 3, Lehigh Valley, Comrie 8 (McDonald), 8:03 (PP). 4, Lehigh Valley, Comrie 9 (Leier, Conner), 12:14 (PP). Penalties-Morin Lv (high-sticking), 4:00; Rowney Wbs (slashing), 6:16; Goulbourne Lv (misconduct – continuing altercation), 9:22; Plachta Wbs (elbowing, misconduct – continuing altercation), 9:22; Erixon Wbs (tripping), 11:32; Rowney Wbs (hooking), 12:02; Aube-Kubel Lv (slashing), 13:14; Hagg Lv (cross-checking), 15:21; Hagg Lv (roughing), 19:00; Morin Lv (roughing, misconduct – abuse of officials, game misconduct – abuse of officials), 19:00; McGrath Wbs (roughing, roughing), 19:00.

Shots on Goal-Lehigh Valley 3-7-12-22. W-B/Scranton 11-17-12-40.
Power Play Opportunities-Lehigh Valley 2 / 8; W-B/Scranton 0 / 8.
Goalies-Lehigh Valley, Ouellette 5-3-0 (40 shots-40 saves). W-B/Scranton, Jarry 17-13-0 (22 shots-18 saves).
Referees-Mark Lemelin (41), Keith Kaval (40).
Linesmen-Jud Ritter (34), Bob Goodman (90).

Upcoming Home Games:

Saturday, April 9, 2016, Bridgeport Sound Tigers vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 7:05 p.m.
(Faith Night. Canned Food Drive presented by Giant Foods.)

Friday, April 15, 2016, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 7:05 p.m.

Sunday, April 17, 2016, Syracuse Crunch vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 5:05 p.m.

In the midst of their 20th season of operation, the Phantoms are coming off their Inaugural Season as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms playing at the brand-new 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).