Pennsylvania Rivalry Renewed at PPL Center as Penguins Outlast Phantoms 4-0

Fans Enjoy Ugly Holiday Sweater Phantoms Shirt Giveaway

December 11, 2015

Lehigh Valley, PA – It was another hard-fought rivalry showdown between a pair of in-state rivals Friday evening as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms welcomed the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to town for the first time this season. But just a week after the Phantoms handed the Penguins their first loss on home ice this year, it was Wilkes-Barre/Scranton that exacted a little payback on Friday as the Penguins earned a 4-0 victory in downtown Allentown.

Dominik Simon and Scott Wilson both scored twice for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton while goaltender Matt Murray earned his fourth shutout of the season by turning aside each of Lehigh Valley’s 23 shots on goal. A second-year netminder, Murray set the AHL rookie record with 12 shutouts last year.

Saturday’s contest was the second game in a five-game home stand for the Phantoms. Lehigh Valley opened the home stretch with a come-from-behind 3-2 overtime victory over the Hershey Bears on Wednesday.

Despite the setback, the Phantoms generated a number of positives from the outcome. Lehigh Valley out shot its opponent for the second consecutive game and has limited its opposition to just 41 combined shots in two games this week. What’s more, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s 20 shots were the fewest they’ve generated in a game this season. Finally, the Phantoms were able to generate seven power play opportunities – the third-most they’ve enjoyed in a game this season.

Fans also enjoyed another stellar giveaway Saturday evening as all fans in attendance received a free Ugly Holiday Sweater Phantoms shirt courtesy of Capital Blue Cross, Coca-Cola, Lehigh Valley Health Network, Mack Trucks, PenTeleData and WFMZ.

Tonight’s contest marked the third of 12 total meetings during the 2015-2016 regular season between the Phantoms and Penguins and the first of six rivalry showdowns hosted at PPL Center. And it won’t be long before the Pennsylvania foes renew their rivalry as the two sides are scheduled to square off again in downtown Allentown this Wednesday, December 16.

Saturday’s game also marked the return of forward Cole Bardreau to the Phantoms’ lineup. A first-year center from Fairport, New York, Bardreau had missed the previous 13 games due to injury.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton opened the scoring less than three minutes into the contest when, just two seconds after Lehigh Valley had successfully killed an early high-sticking penalty, Tim Erixon flipped a puck from the right point that was expertly redirected in the slot by Simon for his 10th goal of the season. Kevin Porter grabbed the secondary assist on the even-strength strike netted 2:49 into the contest.

The Penguins then doubled their advantage with just over five minutes remaining in the first frame thanks to a power play tally from Wilson. Just 19 seconds into their man-advantage opportunity, Conor Sheary moved a puck from the slot off to the right wing for Wilson who blasted home his 12th goal of the year. Derrick Pouliot earned the second assist on the power play marker converted 14:59 into the opening period.

The Phantoms didn’t back down though and controlled large portions of the second period in an effort to crack through Murray. Lehigh Valley out shot the Penguins 12-6 in the middle frame and that doesn’t include a pair of prime opportunities that rang off the goal post, including a point-blank scoring chance for Taylor Leier during one of three Phantoms’ power plays in the second stanza.

Despite Lehigh Valley’s domination, it was Wilkes-Barre/Scranton that landed the lone second-period goal when a cross-crease pass from Carter Rowney found Simon alone on the left wing who promptly sent in his second goal of the game and 11th of the season. Will O’Neill garnered the secondary assist on the five-on-five tally scored 16:32 into the middle frame.

The Penguins landed the game’s final conversion with just over five minutes left in regulation when a beautiful transition rush resulted in Wilson’s second goal of the night and 13th of the season. Tom Kostopoulos and Sheary assisted on the man-advantage marker scored 14:26 into the final period.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s power play finished the evening 2-for-5 while Lehigh Valley’s man-advantage was 0-for-7.

Murray collected his 12th win of the season while Anthony Stolarz, making his fifth consecutive start between the pipes, moved to 10-6-1 on the year after 16 saves on 20 shots.

The Phantoms continue their five-game home stand tomorrow when they welcome the Springfield Falcons for the team’s annual Teddy Bear Toss presented by Dan’s Camera City. Fans are encouraged to bring new teddy bears or stuffed animals to the game and throw them onto the ice when the Phantoms score their first goal. All bears and stuffed animals will then be donated to Valley Youth House to be distributed to children across the Lehigh Valley. Fans are then encouraged to stick around for a Post-Game Skate with Phantoms players presented by Big Woody’s Sports Bar & Restaurant. Bring your skates to the game and take the ice at PPL Center with your favorite Phantoms players shortly after the conclusion of Saturday’s game.

Tickets for Saturday’s game, along with each of the Phantoms’ 25 remaining home games, are available now at, by calling 610-347-TIXX [8499] or in-person at the Mealey’s Furniture Box Office at PPL Center [701 Hamilton Street].

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 4 at Lehigh Valley Phantoms 0 – Status: Final
Friday, December 11, 2015 – PPL Center

W-B/Scranton 2 1 1 – 4
Lehigh Valley 0 0 0 – 0

1st Period-1, W-B/Scranton, Simon 10 (Erixon, Porter), 2:49. 2, W-B/Scranton, Wilson 12 (Sheary, Pouliot), 14:59 (PP). Penalties-Leier Lv (high-sticking), 0:47; Dea Wbs (tripping), 7:13; Oleksy Wbs (interference), 12:40; Palushaj Lv (goaltender interference), 14:27.

2nd Period-3, W-B/Scranton, Simon 11 (Rowney, O’Neill), 16:32. Penalties-Mouillierat Wbs (tripping), 0:30; Simon Wbs (hooking), 7:21; Lashoff Lv (delay of game), 8:15; Oleksy Wbs (high-sticking), 12:22.

3rd Period-4, W-B/Scranton, Wilson 13 (Kostopoulos, Sheary), 14:26 (PP). Penalties-Oleksy Wbs (kneeing), 5:03; served by Kostopoulos Wbs (bench minor – too many men), 11:12; Lashoff Lv (tripping), 11:58; Alt Lv (tripping), 13:28; Pouliot Wbs (roughing), 15:46; Straka Lv (boarding), 15:46.

Shots on Goal-W-B/Scranton 8-6-6-20. Lehigh Valley 6-12-5-23.
Power Play Opportunities-W-B/Scranton 2 / 5; Lehigh Valley 0 / 7.
Goalies-W-B/Scranton, Murray 12-4-0 (23 shots-23 saves). Lehigh Valley, Stolarz 10-6-0 (20 shots-16 saves).
Referees-Mark Lemelin (41), Peter Tarnaris (17).
Linesmen-Tim Lyons (33), Scott Pomento (25).

Upcoming Home Games:

Saturday, December 12, 2015, Springfield Falcons vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 7:05 p.m. | TIX
(Teddy Bear Toss presented by Dan’s Camera City. Post-Game Skate with Phantoms Players presented by Big Woody’s Sports Bar & Restaurant.)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015, WB/Scranton Penguins vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 7:05 p.m. | TIX
(Military Appreciation Night.)

Phantoms Knit Hat 12.18.15Friday, December 18, 2015, Hershey Bears vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 7:05 p.m. | TIX
(Presented by PPL. Youth Winter Hat Giveaway presented by PPL Corporation. Free Youth Winter Hat to First 2,500 Kids 14 and Under.)

In the midst of their 20th season of operation, the Phantoms are coming off 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 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).