Four goals in under six minutes fuels Lehigh Valley to midweek victory
February 1, 2023
Lehigh Valley, PA – Louie Belpedio (5th), Bobby Brink (5th), Kevin Connauton (2nd) and Tyson Foerster (16th) all tallied within a six-minute stretch in the second period to propel the Lehigh Valley Phantoms past the Hershey Bears by a 5-2 count on Wednesday night at PPL Center. Cooper Marody tied a career-high with three helpers in a single game, doing so for the third time in his 206-game AHL career. Elliot Desnoyers contributed two assists and the Phantoms equaled a season-high with four goals in a single period which they also accomplished two weeks ago at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
More importantly, the Phantoms exacted revenge against the first-place Bears with an impressive rebound performance following a 7-3 setback on home ice in the last meeting on Saturday.
Lehigh Valley (21-16-5) will enter the weekend five games above the .500 plateau and now trail 3rd place Charlotte by only three points in the Atlantic Division. The Orange and Black are now 6-3-1 in their last 10 games.
Hershey opened the scoring at 8:22 of the first period after Connor McMichael redirected a shot from Lucas Johansen from the left point. The score stood 1-0 in favor of Lehigh Valley’s in-state rivals after 20 minutes, but the Phantoms soon turned the tide with vengeance.
Louie Belpedio brought the Phantoms even at the 6:23 mark of the middle frame for his fifth goal of the campaign. After a passing play on an odd-man rush wasn’t meant to be for Belpedio, he moments later blasted home a dart from the right point for the equalizer. Elliot Desnoyers and Cooper Marody recorded the assists as the momentum shifted.
Only 94 seconds later, the Phantoms cashed in on the power play. After an offensive zone faceoff win by Bobby Brink, Belpedio tight-roped the blueline with the puck to keep the play alive. Belpedio sent the puck deep, where Marody and Desnoyers combined on a pretty passing play finished by Brink on the backdoor. In addition to five different goal scorers and three assists for Marody, Desnoyers also finished the night with two helpers.
Brink has now scored five goals in five different arenas since debuting with the Phantoms on January 6. This was his first goal at PPL Center.
At 10:44, the Phantoms scoring train continued at full steam. On the transition, Kevin Connauton trailed the play, received a crisp pass from Garrett Wilson who connected from the right boards, and wristed home the eventual game-winner past Hershey goaltender Zach Fucale on a drive from just above the left dot. Marody recorded the secondary assist for his third helper of the night, tying a career-high. Marody’s last three-assist night came on April 10, 2019 against the Tucson Roadrunners as a member of the Bakersfield Condors.
Tyson Forester put the finishing touches on an explosive, four-goal second period to open a 4-1 cushion. After being denied on an almost-breakaway, Foerster slammed into the cage a cross-ice feed from Artem Anisimov for his team-leading 16th goal of the campaign at 12:16. Second-period shots on goal were 12-3 in a dominant and productive frame.
After Aliaksei Protas brought the Bears closer with his first goal of the season at 15:52, Lycksell spun a puck on edge from the Phantoms zone all the way down ice into an empty net at 17:17 to round out the 5-2 final.
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms will continue a fun, challenging week of hockey on Friday, February 3 against the Providence Bruins at PPL Center. It’s Phantoms Premier Member Appreciation Night with great prizes, as well as Berks $1 Hot Dog Night!