Phantoms Rally to Best Bears 4-3
October 8, 2023
Lehigh Valley, PA – Tanner Laczynski slammed home the winning goal just 40 seconds into overtime on a terrific cross-ice feed from Victor Mete to put a bow on the preseason for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. A three-goal rally in the third period sparked the dramatic finish as Lehigh Valley prevailed 4-3 over the rival Hershey Bears. The next time we see the Phantoms take the ice, it will count!
Trailing 2-0 and 3-1 in the third period, the Phantoms received goals from Adam Ginning, Alexis Gendron and Evan Polei in the exciting rally while Cal Petersen made some strong stops in net to provide the Phantoms the opportunity. Hershey received goals from Tyson Empey, Ryan Hofer and Bogdan Trineyev but couldn’t put the game away.
“It’s a nice feeling,” Laczynski said. “You don’t want to be in those (overtime) for too long, you get a little tired. Great play by Vic (Victor Mete) there. It was nice.”
Hershey’s Tyson Empey deflected a point shot from Nicky Leivermann midway through the first period to provide the visitors with a 1-0 advantage after 20 minutes.
The Bears had a shorthanded breakaway in the second period that resulted in a penalty shot goal for Ryan Hofer with 9:30 remaining in the second period for a 2-0 advantage. Petersen went for the poke check and actually knocked the puck from Hofer but there was still enough for the deflection into the air to elude the kick attempt of the sprawled goaltender and tumble into the goal. Petersen had also maneuvered across earlier in the period to deny a strong backdoor try from Hofer who would later also clang one off the post in a close call.
The Phantoms finally broke through at 3:15 into the third period with defenseman Adam Ginning stepping up to support the team’s scoring try. Ronnie Attard found an opening from the point but Laczynski in the slot couldn’t deflect the puck past a defenseman. Ginning was right there behind him for a quick put back which he fired off the right post and into the goal while he was being tripped up and knocked down. Lehigh Valley was back in the game at 2-1.
Ginning laid a hard check on Dmitri Osipov’s challenge up the left wing but the puck came over to Trineyev who rifled home his first of the preseason from the left slot to beat Petersen to the stick side and a 3-1 advantage for Hershey with 13:30 to play.
The Phantoms kept pushing and secured consecutive goals just 24 seconds apart to even the score. Rookie forward Alexis Gendron cashed in from the right of the cage shortly after a power play had expired as the teenage talent pulled the Phantoms to within 3-2 on a play assisted by Louie Belpedio and Elliot Desnoyers shortly after a power play had expired.
“To be honest, that one feels good,” Gendron said. “Just before the regular season starts. The third was an intense period. Lot of chances, we start with one goal and then finish with three others. We just got to build from that period and start the regular season the right way.”
Shortly after the ensuing center faceoff, Ginning sent the Phantoms into transition with numbers providing the opportunity for Jordy Bellerive along the boards to connect with Evan Polei racing up the slot. The newcomer scored the tying tally with just 9:52 remaining.
Phantoms head coach Ian Laperriere was particularly pleased with what he received out of the trio that was listed as the team’s fourth line; Evan Polei, Jacob Gaucher and Jordy Bellerive.
“My favorite line was Gaucher’s line. I don’t have favorites…but I do tonight,” Laperriere quipped.
It appeared as though Hershey might score another go-ahead goal a few minutes later on a quick passing sequence in tight but an open Ethen Frank on the right of the cage was unable to bury his wide-open chance which he blasted off the iron.
Lehigh Valley won the opening faceoff for overtime. Despite a close call for Hershey to almost steal the puck, the Phantoms were able to maintain possession on some strong hustle from Matt Brown. Victor Mete on the right boards found Laczynski way across the ice near the bottom of the left circle who was perfect on his knee-drop one-timer past Hunter Shepard for the winning conversion just 40 seconds into the extra period.
UP NEXT – The highly anticipated 10th Season of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, presented by Service Electric, begins on Saturday, October 14 with an Opening Night clash against the Cleveland Monsters. Opening Weekend continues with a big 1:05 p.m. matinee on Sunday, October 15 taking on the Belleville Senators.
1st 9:56 – HER, T. Empey (N. Leivermann, H. Rybinski) (0-1)
2nd 10:30 – HER, R. Hofer (Penalty Shot) (SH) (0-2)
3rd 3:15 – LV, A. Ginning (T. Laczynski, R. Attard) (1-2)
3rd 6:30 – HER, B. Trineyev (D. Osipov) (1-3)
3rd 9:43 – LV, A. Gendron (E. Desnoyers, L. Belpedio) (2-3)
3rd 10:08 – LV, E. Polei (J. Bellerive, A. Ginning) (3-3)
OT 0:40 – LV, T. Laczynski (J. Bellerive, A. Ginning) (4-3)
LV 17 – HER 23
LV 0/4, HER 0/3
LV, C. Petersen (W) (20/23)
HER, H. Shepard (L) (14/17)
Saturday, October 14 (7:05) – Cleveland Monsters at Lehigh Valley Phantoms (OPENING NIGHT!)
Sunday, October 15 (1:05) – Belleville Senators at Lehigh Valley Phantoms (OPENING WEEKEND!!)