Lehigh Valley’s Captain Nets First of the Year
October 21, 2016
Lehigh Valley, PA – Colin McDonald and Greg Carey both converted their first goals of the season Friday evening as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, proud AHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers, paid tribute to the legacy of the late Ed Snider, the co-founder and former owner of the Flyers. Fans were treated to a moving video tribute of Snider while the Phantoms took the ice in specialty jerseys, which will be auctioned off online to benefit the Ed Snider Hockey Foundation.
In the end, it was the visiting Bridgeport Sound Tigers, however, who captured the hard-fought affair with a 5-2 decision in front of 7,072 fans at PPL Center.
After leading the Springfield Falcons with 26 tallies last year, Carey landed his first with the Phantoms on Friday while Lehigh Valley’s captain, McDonald, converted his first of the new season after depositing 14 goals a season ago.
Reigning All-Star goaltender Anthony Stolarz made his second consecutive start between the pipes for the Phantoms netminder showcased his post-to-post athleticism throughout the evening in a 26-save performance.
Friday’s contest didn’t just include thrilling moments during play though as the evening also featured two Hometown Hero presentations, including a special edition in the third period honoring Sam Miele, the grandfather of Phantoms’ center Andy Miele. The moment stirred the PPL Center crowd to its feet as Andy presented his grandfather with a Phantoms jersey showcasing Andy’s number 21.
Carter Verhaeghe (goal, assist) and Bracken Kearns (2 assists) paced the offensive effort for the Sound Tigers while Christopher Gibson earned his second win of the season as he turned aside 18 of Lehigh Valley’s 20 total shots.
Neither side found the back of the net in the first period despite a combined 13 shots on goal. The Phantoms dominated puck possession in the opening frame and generated the better of the scoring chances in the game’s first 20 minutes thanks their blazing speed and offensive creativity. The goaltenders kept the rivalry tilt scoreless though as Stolarz turned aside the six Sound Tigers shots he faced in the first period while Gibson answer each of the Phantoms’ seven first-period offerings.
The Sound Tigers broke the scoreless dead lock early in the second period though when Kearns authored a cross-crease pass to Joshua Winquist who was able to convert his first goal of the season just inside the right post. Verhaeghe garnered the secondary assist on the even-strength strike notched just 47 seconds into the middle stanza.
Bridgeport doubled its advantage with just over five minutes remaining in the period when, in the midst of a Lehigh Valley power play, Kellen Jones intercepted the Phantoms’ entry which kick started an odd-man rush that was capped off by a scorching one-timer from the right wing by Connor Jones for his first goal of the season. The shorthanded marker came 14:31 into the middle frame.
The Phantoms bounced right back though and sliced the Sound Tigers’ lead in half just over a minute later when a left wing shot by Jordan Weal produced a rebound at the top of the goal crease that was promptly swatted home by McDonald for his first goal of the young season. Travis Sanheim collected the secondary assist on the power play tally netted 15:37 into the second period.
But Bridgeport was able to re-establish its two-goal edge before intermission when Michael Dal Colle and Joshua Ho-Sang expertly executed a two-on-one rush resulting in Dal Colle’s first career professional goal. Tanner Fritz collected the second assist on the even-strength strike netted with just two seconds remaining in the middle frame.
The Sound Tigers stretched their lead to a 4-1 advantage less than a minute into the third period when Ross Johnston feathered a cross-crease pass to Colin Markison who made no mistake in snapping home his first goal of the season. The five-on-five tally came 42 seconds into the final frame in regulation.
But once again, the Phantoms wouldn’t back down. Just over six minutes into the third period, brilliant passing at neutral ice between Miele and Chris Conner generated a breakaway for Carey who made absolutely no mistake in converting his first goal of the season.
Bridgeport responded just over four minutes later though as Verhaeghe notched his first goal of the year from Kearns and Adam Pelech 10:24 into the final frame to seal the outcome.
The Phantoms are back in action at PPL Center on Saturday, October 22 when the Hartford Wolf Pack, the AHL affiliate of the New York Rangers, invade downtown Allentown. Saturday’s game will feature a post-game autograph session with Phantoms players so be sure to stick around after the game for a chance to meet your favorite Phantoms up close and personal. A limited number of tickets remain for Saturday’s rivalry showdown and can be purchased by clicking HERE.
Bridgeport Sound Tigers 5 at Lehigh Valley Phantoms 2 – Status: Final
Friday, October 21, 2016 – PPL Center
Bridgeport 0 3 2 – 5
Lehigh Valley 0 1 1 – 2
1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Johnston Bri (interference, fighting), 3:51; Goulbourne Lv (fighting), 3:51; Goulbourne Lv (charging), 11:08; Burroughs Bri (slashing), 16:43.
2nd Period-1, Bridgeport, Winquist 1 (Kearns, Verhaeghe), 0:47. 2, Bridgeport, C. Jones 1 (K. Jones), 14:31 (SH). 3, Lehigh Valley, McDonald 1 (Weal, Sanheim), 15:37 (PP). 4, Bridgeport, Dal Colle 1 (Ho-Sang, Fritz), 19:58. Penalties-Carey Lv (hooking), 11:18; Mayfield Bri (holding), 13:45.
3rd Period-5, Bridgeport, Markison 1 (Johnston), 0:42. 6, Lehigh Valley, Carey 1 (Miele, Conner), 6:09. 7, Bridgeport, Verhaeghe 1 (Pelech, Kearns), 10:24. Penalties-Verhaeghe Bri (tripping), 1:20; Leduc Bri (high-sticking), 18:26.
Shots on Goal-Bridgeport 6-12-13-31. Lehigh Valley 7-5-8-20.
Power Play Opportunities-Bridgeport 0 / 2; Lehigh Valley 1 / 5.
Goalies-Bridgeport, Gibson 2-0-0-0 (20 shots-18 saves). Lehigh Valley, Stolarz 1-1-0-0 (31 shots-26 saves).
Referees-Pierre Lambert (47), Peter MacDougall (45).
Linesmen-Tim Lyons (33), Jason Mandroc (17).
RISE UP! Another thrilling season of Lehigh Valley Phantoms hockey at PPL Center is underway! Reserve your season tickets and group outings for the 2016-2017 season of Phantoms hockey today. 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 !
And for the latest Phantoms news, visit www.phantomshockey.com or follow the team on Facebook (www.facebook.com/lehighvalleyphantoms), Twitter (@lvphantoms), Instagram (@lehighvalleyphantoms) and Snapchat (lvphantoms).
The Phantoms are thrilled to host the 2017 Capital BlueCross AHL All-Star Classic at PPL Center January 28-30. The Capital BlueCross AHL All-Star Classic weekend includes a Phan Fest during the day on Saturday, January 28 and a Tailgate Party that evening, followed by the AHL All-Star Skills Competition on Sunday, January 29 and the 2017 AHL All-Star Game on Monday, January 30. Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime event. Packages starting at just $67 for the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic weekend are on sale now and include admission to Saturday’s Phan Fest & Tailgate Party, Sunday’s AHL All-Star Skills Competition and Monday’s All-Star Game. To purchase tickets, please visit www.phantomshockey.com or www.pplcenter.com.
The Phantoms are coming off their 20th Anniversary Season and second campaign in the Lehigh Valley playing at the state-of-the-art 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).