Phantoms open 2015 with 3-2 thriller in Norfolk, Va.
January 2, 2015
Norfolk, Va. – Nick Cousins buried his first career overtime winner to push the Lehigh Valley Phantoms to an exciting 3-2 victory in Norfolk, Va. on Friday night. Cousins’ eighth of the year from the right circle beat Admirals goaltender John Gibson blocker-side to the far post.
The Phantoms rallied from behind for the win. Trailing 1-0 most of the way, Brandon Alderson finally put Lehigh Valley on the board with a laser from the right-boards to the far-post with 6:59 remaining in the third period to even the score at 1-1. It was Alderson’s first game back with the Phantoms after spending slightly over a month with Reading in the ECHL. The speedy winger appeared to have regained his confidence with the enhanced playing time there as he was flying up the ice and creating chances. His goal came on his fifth shot of the game.
Jason Akeson’s shorthanded breakaway tally with 1:48 left put the Phantoms in front 2-1 and appeared to be the possible game-winner. Akeson has scored in three straight and now has six goals in his last seven games dating back to December 17. In just a little over a month with Lehigh Valley, Akeson has vaulted into a multi-way tie for the team lead in goals with eight along with Cousins, Andrew Gordon and Taylor Leier.
Former NHL All-Star Dany Heatley scored his first-ever AHL goals with the opener at 8:40 into the game and a late equalizer with just 35 seconds remaining on his impressive one-timer in the slot during a desperation 6-on-4 push for the Admirals.
Both Rob Zepp and John Gibson were stellar in their respective nets. Shortly before Cousins’ game-winner Zepp made a spectacular left-leg kick save to deny a quick drive from Heatley who was aiming for a hat-trick in the extra period.
The Phantoms are 6-5 in games decided after regulation this year including 3-4 in overtime and 3-1 in shootouts. The overtime victory was the team’s first since October 25 when Scott Laughton drove-home an extra-period strike at Binghamton in the league’s new 3-on-3 format. Brandon Manning has the other Lehigh Valley overtime goal this season coming on Opening Night, October 17 against the Adirondack Flames.
The Phantoms are 1-1 on their 5-game road-trip and boast a 3-0 record against the Norfolk Admirals this year. It is Lehigh Valley’s second extra-time 3-2 decision over Norfolk in one week; The Phantoms also upended Norfolk at PPL Center last Saturday by the same final score following an 8-round marathon shootout.
Lehigh Valley and Norfolk square off again on Saturday night at 7:15. Broadcast coverage of the game can be heard on NewsRadio 790, WAEB and on 790WAEB.com. This is a switch for one night only from the team’s regular flagship station, Fox 1470-AM.
The Phantoms return to PPL Center on Friday, January 16 and Saturday , January 17 against the Albany Devils and Binghamton Senators. The January 17 game is Legends Night featuring one of hockey’s all-time greats, Bobby Clarke, making a live appearance at the game. Tickets for both weekend contests are going fast as the team aims for their 8th and 9th PPL Center sellouts of the season. purchase tickets in advance at PPLCenter.com or by calling 610-347-TIXX (8499).
Check it out! Group outings are a fun and affordable way to enjoy all the excitement of Phantoms hockey. For more information on group rates and fan experiences at PPL Center call the Phantoms front office today at 610-224-GOAL (4625)!
Lehigh Valley Phantoms 3 (OT) at Norfolk Admirals 2 – Status: Final OT
Friday, January 2, 2015 – Norfolk Scope
Lehigh Valley 0 0 2 1 – 3
Norfolk 1 0 1 0 – 2
1st Period-1, Norfolk, Heatley 1 (Kerdiles, Gibson), 8:40 (PP). Penalties-Cousins Lv (high-sticking), 0:15; Kurtz Nor (tripping), 3:02; Manning Lv (hooking), 7:00; Lauridsen Lv (closing hand on puck), 16:13.
2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-O’Brien Nor (holding), 13:27.
3rd Period-2, Lehigh Valley, Alderson 3 (Manning, Flemming), 13:01. 3, Lehigh Valley, Akeson 8 18:12 (SH). 4, Norfolk, Heatley 2 (Wagner, Friberg), 19:25 (PP). Penalties-White Lv (slashing), 7:24; Gibson Nor (unsportsmanlike conduct), 7:24; Comrie Lv (boarding), 11:29; Sarault Nor (interference), 12:41; Gordon Lv (slashing), 17:43; Delisle Lv (fighting, game misconduct – secondary altercation), 20:00; Hextall Lv (fighting), 20:00; Cantin Nor (fighting, game misconduct – secondary altercation), 20:00; Kurtz Nor (fighting), 20:00.
OT Period-5, Lehigh Valley, Cousins 8 2:32. Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-Lehigh Valley 7-17-8-2-34. Norfolk 11-7-17-1-36.
Power Play Opportunities-Lehigh Valley 0 / 3; Norfolk 2 / 5.
Goalies-Lehigh Valley, Zepp 9-5-1 (36 shots-34 saves). Norfolk, Gibson 2-2-1 (34 shots-31 saves).
Referees-Darcy Burchell (42), Fred Leblanc (30).
Linesmen-Bill Lyons (27), Tom George (61).
Upcoming Home Games:
Friday, January 16, 2015, Albany Devils vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 7:05 PM
Saturday, January 17, 2015, Binghamton Senators Tigers vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 7:05 PM
(Legends Night! Bobby Clarke, one of hockey’s greatest legends and the architect of the Phantoms 1998 and 2005 Calder Cup championship teams, will be at the game! FREE Collector’s Edition Poster for all fans!)
Wednesday, January 21, 2015 Hershey Bears vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 7:05 PM
Saturday, January 24, 2015 St. John’s IceCaps vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 7:05 PM
(Free Shirt Giveaway for all fans in attendance! Specialty Jersey Night! Post-Game Jersey Auction! Inaugural Season Night!)
In their 19th season of operation, the Phantoms are currently in the midst of 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 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 18 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).