Greg Carey Scores Twice in Rivalry Showdown
April 22, 2017
Lehigh Valley, PA – The intensity of the rivalry between the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and Hershey Bears was on full display Saturday evening in Game 2 of their division semifinals series. Bone-crushing checks came early and often and post-whistle skirmishes were commonplace as the two sides went back and forth in front of 7,516 raucous fans inside PPL Center.
Greg Carey (1st, 2nd) scored twice while T.J. Brennan and Andy Miele converted their first goals of the postseason but it was visiting Hershey who was able to escape with a 5-4 regulation triumph after netting a trio of goals in the game’s final 13 minutes.
The Bears now lead the best-of-five series two games to none. The Phantoms will have an opportunity to slice into Hershey’s series edge this Wednesday, April 26 when Lehigh Valley travels to Giant Center for a 7:00 p.m. Game 3 showdown. With wins in Game 3 on Wednesday and in Game 4 on Saturday, April 29 at Hershey, the series would shift back to PPL Center for Game 5 on Sunday, April 30.
Carey’s goals came as part of a monster three-point night as the 27-year-old winger registered two goals and an assist to go along with a game-high eight shots on goal. Carey is coming off a personal-best 28 conversions during the regular season. Brennan’s goal was also part of a multi-point evening as the All-Star blueliner tallied a goal and an assist and has now amassed 36 postseason points (17 goals, 19 assists) in 47 career playoff games.
Veteran forward Chris Conner also produced a multi-point effort on Saturday with three assists. No stranger to playoff success, Conner has now tallied 17 assists and 24 points in 36 career playoff contests.
Saturday’s rivalry tilt featured a combined 34 penalty minutes, including 24 in the first period alone. Lehigh Valley was an impressive 2-for-4 on the power play while the Phantoms’ penalty kill successfully defended each of Hershey’s three man-advantage opportunities.
Phantoms’ goaltender Alex Lyon registered 10 saves on 13 Bears’ shots before leaving the game with an apparent lower-body injury with just 11:22 remaining in the third period.
Chris Bourque (2 goals), Stanislav Galiev (goal, assist) and Christian Djoos (goal, assist) paced the offensive effort for Hershey in front of goaltender Pheonix Copley who earned the win between the pipes with 30 saves on 34 Lehigh Valley shots.
It didn’t take long at all for the excitement to reach a fever pitch Saturday as both Scott Laughton and Colin McDonald connected on bone-crushing checks in the game’s opening seconds. McDonald’s collision ended up coercing a retaliatory penalty from the Bears, which produced the game’s opening conversion when Brennan’s perfect wrist shot from the left point sizzled through traffic en route to settling in the back of the Hershey cage. Carey and Conner assisted on Brennan’s first marker of the playoffs, which came just 1:10 into the first period.
The Bears responded quickly though and leveled the contest less than five minutes later when a nice cross-crease pass from Madison Bowey connected with Galiev on the right wing who promptly punched home his first goal of the postseason. Riley Barer collected the secondary assist on the even-strength strike netted 5:58 into the opening frame.
The Phantoms regained the lead though before the first intermission when, while on the power play, Miele cranked in a scorching snap shot from the bottom of the left wing circle for his first conversion of the playoffs. Conner and Brennan assisted on the man-advantage marker netted with just 11.5 seconds remaining in the opening period.
Hershey leveled the rivalry showdown once again less than four minutes into the middle stanza when a nice touch pass by Galiev at the face-off dot created a one-time opportunity for Djoos who quickly drove home his first goal of the postseason. Barber garnered the secondary assist on the five-on-five tally notched 3:47 into the second period.
Lehigh Valley rallied though and claimed a 4-2 advantage before the close of the middle frame thanks to a pair of Carey conversions less than three minutes apart. First, Carey jumped out of the penalty box and converted his first goal of the postseason 14:24 into the second period with an assist from Conner. Then, 17:12 into the middle frame, Carey used his exceptional hand-eye coordination to bat a loose rebound out of mid-air and into the back of the Hershey cage. Mark Zengerle and Corban Knight assisted on the even-strength strike.
The Bears didn’t quit though and were able to not only tie the game but claim the lead for good after a trio of goals in the game’s final 13 minutes. First, Bourque netted his first of the postseason 7:27 into the final frame from Madison Bowey and Hubert Labrie. Then, Tyler Lewington leveled the contest with a slap shot from the high slot that altered direction en route before settling in the back of the Lehigh Valley net. Lewington’s unassisted five-on-five tally came 9:55 into the third period. Then, Hershey completed its comeback win with Bourque’s game-winning conversion with just 33 seconds left in regulation.
The Phantoms continue their best-of-five division semifinals series with the Bears this Wednesday with Game 3 set for a 7:00 p.m. start time at Giant Center in Hershey. Fans are encouraged to head to Chickie’s & Pete’s at PPL Center for an Official Phantoms Watch Party.