Lehigh Valley Claims Fourth Win Over Last Five Games
March 10, 2017
Lehigh Valley, PA – Corban Knight (8th) scored the eventual game winner with just over two minutes left in regulation Friday evening as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms downed the rival Hershey Bears 3-2 in front of 8,116 fans inside PPL Center. With the win, the Phantoms improved to 38-18-3 overall this season and remained just four standings points back of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for the top spot in the tightly-contested Atlantic Division. Friday’s triumph was Lehigh Valley’s fourth victory over the team’s last five games overall.
Scott Laughton (15th) and Travis Sanheim (9th) also converted for the Phantoms who improved to 6-4 against their in-state rivals this season and are now an impressive 19-7-2 when skating in front of their home fans at PPL Center.
Knight’s goal was part of a multi-point effort as the 26-year-old forward continued a torrid scoring pace that has seen him record 12 points (2 goals, 10 assists) over his last 11 games. Meanwhile, Laughton’s conversion extended his current scoring streak to five consecutive outings as the third-year forward has tallied an impressive six points (3 goals, 3 assists) during his recent surge. What’s more, the 22-year-old pivot has tallied points in eight of his last 10 games overall having notched nine points (4 goals, 5 assists) over that stretch.
But Friday’s effort wasn’t all about offense. The rivalry showdown was one of Lehigh Valley’s strongest defensive efforts of the year as well and it was anchored by a strong performance between the pipes by Anthony Stolarz who earned his 14th victory of the season after a solid 19-save performance. All told, the Phantoms out shot the Bears 36-21, including a lopsided 17-8 disparity during the second period.
Hershey opened the scoring late in the first period when Ryan Bourque won a battle for a loose puck in the Lehigh Valley goal crease before sending in his second goal of the season. Zach Sill and Stanislav Galiev assisted on the even-strength strike notched 19:00 into the opening frame.
The Phantoms leveled the contest early in the second period though when a beautiful four-on-two rush resulted in Sanheim’s ninth goal of the year. After a heads-up outlet pass by Samuel Morin transitioned Lehigh Valley from defense to offense, Greg Carey swung a pass off to Corban Knight who dropped a feed for Sanheim who promptly snapped home the equalizing marker. The five-on-five tally came just 1:30 into the middle stanza.
The Phantoms then grabbed their first lead of the night just past the midway point of the period when a perfectly executed tape-to-tape saucer pass from Cole Bardreau connected with Laughton in stride down the slot who quickly fired in his 15th goal of the season. Bardreau and Morin assisted on the go-ahead marker netted 12:52 into the second stanza. With the primary assist, Bardreau secured at least one point for the sixth time across his last eight games.
The Bears didn’t back down though and evened the rivalry tilt with a power play goal in the dying seconds of the period. With Knight in the penalty box, Hershey executed a smooth transition rush on the power play resulting in Paul Carey’s 17th goal of the year. Travis Boyd and Christian Djoos assisted on the man-advantage marker scored 19:56 into the middle frame.
The Phantoms remained resilient though and sealed the victory for good with just over two minutes left in regulation when a brilliant pass by Mark Zengerle connected with Knight who made no mistake in depositing his eighth goal of the season. The even-strength strike came 17:42 into the final frame as Lehigh Valley improved to 12-7-3 in one-goal games this season.
The Phantoms are back in action at PPL Center on Saturday when they welcome the Utica Comets to downtown Allentown for the final time this season. Fans are encouraged to stick around following Saturday’s tilt for a Post-Game Skate with Phantoms Players. Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to take the ice with your favorite Phantoms players. A limited number of tickets remain for Saturday’s game and can be purchased by clicking HERE.