Leier Records 3rd-Ever PPL Center Hattie in 7-2 Rout of Binghamton
February 10, 2016
Lehigh Valley, PA – What a way to open a homestand! Taylor Leier’s first career hat trick led the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in a 7-2 blowout of the Binghamton Senators on Wednesday night at PPL Center in the first of five consecutive home games.
Phil DeSimone chipped in three assists while Colin McDonald recorded a goal and a helper and Andrew MacDonald contributed two more assists. Chris Conner’s two-point effort included yet another highlight-reel caliber goal in the second period deking around goaltender Chris Dreidger setting up his easy backhander into the open net he created. The Phantoms started the scoring early and never took their foot off the pedal.
Taylor Leier struck from very close to the same spot for all three of his goals. Two of his drives from the left circle came on the power play and the last was a rebound of a Samuel Morin shot off the pads of besieged Binghamton netminder Chris Dreidger which the 21-year-old from Saskatoon buried for Lehigh Valley’s third-ever hat trick at PPL Center and fifth all-time.
“It was an exciting night overall,” Leier said. “I tried to come out with a lot of energy and I had a lot of opportunities to shoot the puck tonight. Luckily some went in. The guys who had the puck before me made some really nice plays and that made it a lot easier for me.”
The 13th, 14th and 15th goals of the season for Leier impressed Phantoms head coach Scott Gordon.
“He’s a threat to score anytime he’s got the puck,” Gordon said. “He’s got a great shot and tonight he got into spots where he identified some opportunities to shoot. You ask anybody on our team and everybody talks about how good a shot he has so there’s no surprise there.”
The impressive offensive output equaled a season-high for the Phantoms who also reached lucky seven against the Rochester Americans on November 14 in a 7-1 triumph.
The three-goal game for Leier was also the third time for a Phantom to accomplish the feat in just the past two weeks. Colin McDonald recorded a hattie exactly two weeks earlier against Binghamton in a 6-3 triumph. And Danick Martel’s trio of tallies came last Friday on the road at Bridgeport.
The Phantoms opened the scoring less than three minutes into the game on Colin McDonald’s conversion in the slot nicely fed to him from behind the goal by Danick Martel. McDonald’s 10th of the season came against the same opponents who surrendered his hat trick and five-point game exactly a fortnight prior.
Lehigh Valley would strike for a pair of power-play conversions on a five-minute advantage. Mike Sdao blasted Cole Bardreau on a boarding major that briefly sent Bardreau out of the game. Leier took just nine seconds to score at the start of the extended man-advantage following a fine keep at the blue-line by Andrew MacDonald and then a little tic-tac-toe to his right for Colin McDonald quickly gunning across the perfect set-up for Leier in the left circle.
Two minutes later it would be Robert Hagg’s turn. The second-year pro fresh off his 21st birthday cranked home a one-timer from the top of the left ring that was teed up for him by Aaron Palushaj from the left boards. Hagg’s second of the season pushed the Phantoms to a 3-0 cushion at the first break.
Conor Allen scored off a quick face-off win for Binghamton early in the second period but the Phantoms weren’t long for their response.
Phil DeSimone’s stretch pass sent Chris Conner free on the breakaway allowing him to make the spectacular stop-and-stutter move around Dreidger to stuff home his backhander which was good for his 11th of the year. Conner is heating up against after his eight-game point streak recently came to a close on Saturday. With two points in the blowout win, the 31-year-old veteran winger now has points in nine of his last ten games registering a gaudy 16 points on six markers and 10 assists in that stretch.
A few minutes later it was DeSimone on the set-up again. This time he retrieved an Adam Comrie deflected shot in the right corner and hurried the give right back to the big blueliner cross-ice who this time buried his first of the season with Lehigh Valley for a 5-1 lead.
Buddy Robinson from the left corner banked one through LaBarbera whose stick had been knocked away moments prior to close the gap to 5-2.
Taylor Leier would score a mere four seconds into a power play in the third period when Cole Bardreau’s faceoff win back to Andrew MacDonald on the right point would spring an open Leier on the left circle for a 6-2 lead.
MacDonald’s second assist of the night gives him an impressive 10 helpers in the last six games and also 12 assists in his last eight games. “A-Mac” is tops among all AHL defensemen with 30 assists and rates fourth overall in the league. His 35 total points rates second among all blueliners.
With under five minutes remaining in the game, Kevin Goumas sent Samuel Morin speeding into the zone and his shot off the right pad of Dreidger was perfectly rebounded out to Leier for the final goal of the night.
The Phantoms improved to 23-23-3 overall as they out shot Binghamton 33-23. The Phantoms are 10-1-1 when they rack up 33 shots or more. Lehigh Valley equaled their season-high with three power-play goals going 3-for-7 overall while limiting Binghamton to 0-for-5.
The Phantoms continue their five-homestand this Friday and Saturday against the Portland Pirates (Florida Panthers affiliate) and Utica Comets (Vancouver Canucks affiliate). Saturday night feature postgame photographs with all the Phantoms players. A limited number of tickets remain so be sure to secure yours now at pplcenter.com, by calling 610-347-TIXX  or in person at the Mealey’s Furniture Box Office at PPL Center [701 Hamilton Street].
RISE UP! Reserve your season tickets and groups now for the 2015-2016 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)!
Binghamton Senators 2 at Lehigh Valley Phantoms 7 – Status: Final
Wednesday, February 10, 2016 – PPL Center
Binghamton 0 2 0 – 2
Lehigh Valley 3 2 2 – 7
1st Period-1, Lehigh Valley, McDonald 10 (Martel, Bardreau), 2:49. 2, Lehigh Valley, Leier 13 (McDonald, MacDonald), 7:38 (PP). 3, Lehigh Valley, Hagg 2 (Palushaj, DeSimone), 9:38 (PP). Penalties-Sdao Bng (major – elbowing), 7:29; Rehkamp Lv (cross-checking, unsportsmanlike conduct), 14:14.
2nd Period-4, Binghamton, Allen 2 (Flanagan), 1:34. 5, Lehigh Valley, Conner 11 (DeSimone), 11:28. 6, Lehigh Valley, Comrie 1 (DeSimone, Conner), 12:39. 7, Binghamton, Robinson 9 (Flanagan), 14:48. Penalties-Sdao Bng (fighting), 6:42; Goulbourne Lv (fighting), 6:42; McCormick Bng (high-sticking), 15:00; Schneider Bng (boarding), 18:13.
3rd Period-8, Lehigh Valley, Leier 14 (MacDonald, Bardreau), 5:50 (PP). 9, Lehigh Valley, Leier 15 (Morin, Goumas), 15:18. Penalties-Marti Lv (cross-checking), 2:51; Harpur Bng (delay of game), 5:46; Straka Lv (hooking), 9:10; Stortini Bng (slashing), 11:37; Goulbourne Lv (double minor – high-sticking), 18:45.
Shots on Goal-Binghamton 12-5-5-22. Lehigh Valley 8-12-13-33.
Power Play Opportunities-Binghamton 0 / 5; Lehigh Valley 3 / 7.
Goalies-Binghamton, Driedger 11-12-0 (33 shots-26 saves). Lehigh Valley, LaBarbera 7-11-0 (22 shots-20 saves).
Referees-Peter Tarnaris (17), Terry Koharski (10).
Linesmen-Tom DellaFranco (71), Matt McNulty (26).
Upcoming Home Games:
Friday, February 12, 2016, Portland Pirates vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 7:05 p.m. | TIX
Saturday, February 13, 2016, Utica Comets vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 7:05 p.m. | TIX
(Post-Game Photographs with Phantoms Players.)
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).