Phantoms Point-Streak at Four After Pens Take 2-1 Decision
April 28, 2021
Wilkes-Barre, PA –
Felix Sandström and Alex D’Orio were magnificent in a tremendous goaltending display with a combined 73 saves on 76 shots in a game eventually taken by the Penguins 2-1 in overtime on Wednesday night in Wilkes-Barre.
The Phantoms fired a season-high 42 shots on goal including a season-high 18 shots in the third period. But D’Orio was only beaten once in the first period on a chip up the middle by Linus Sandin (5th) on the rush.
Sandstrom was equally capable and had a second splendid performance in a row with 32 saves on 34 shots. The Phantoms extended their point streak to four games (3-0-1) and have points in nine of their last ten (7-1-2). It was the fifth time in six meetings that the Phantoms and Penguins have played to overtime. Lehigh Valley is 3-1-2 against the Penguins following the team’s last visit to northeast Pennsylvania and with two more matchups at PPL Center remaining on the upcoming docket.
This was a low-scoring contest in comparison to the wild 6-5 victory at the Binghamton Devils of 48 hours prior. But the quality of chances were equal or better in comparison to that Monday night game in a contest that easily could have had as many goals again if not for the caliber of the goaltending on both ends of the ice.
Linus Sandin opened the scoring just past the midway mark of the first period rushing up the middle after a Chris Mueller intercept in the neutral zone that sent Brennan Saulnier speeding up the left-wing boards. Saulnier connected perfectly with Sandin for the deflection up high on the rush for a 1-0 lead. Sandin has scored each of the team’s last three goals after scoring the Phantoms’ fifth and sixth goals of the night in Newark on Monday and the team’s first goal in the Wednesday match at Wilkes-Barre.
Brennan Saulnier took exception to a checking to the head penalty dealt on him by Penguins’ rookie defenseman Will Reilly and, on his next opportunity on the ice, dropped the gloves in a one-sided bout as his revenge. Saulnier received a game misconduct for continuing the altercation.
The Penguins benefitted from consecutive penalties against the Phantoms in the early minutes of the third period and it didn’t take long for them to find the back of the net right from the beginning of their 5-on-3 with Anthony Angello (3rd) rifling one home through a screened Sandstrom for a 1-1 tie.
The Phantoms had the Penguins hemmed in with 10 minutes left and didn’t let them of the hook for over two minutes while they worked and cycled and continued peppering shots at D’Orio. One of D’Orio’s best saves came sliding to his left to deny Cal O’Reilly on the backdoor on a rapid centering feed from the corner by Connor Bunnaman. Somehow the Penguins held on and kept the game tied at 1-1.
Then it was Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s turn to surge. Anthony Angell turned the corner and was denied at the doorstep on the right pad of Sandstrom. And other big chances for Josh Currie and Jon Lizotte all the way up to the end of regulation were repelled to push the game onto overtime.
An open Tim Schaller was ready on the backdoor to swing in his one-timer just one-and-a-half minutes into overtime to put a conclusion to the breathless affair as Alex D’Orio received an extended standing ovation from the Penguins’ partisan contingent.
The Phantoms return to PPL Center on Saturday night against the Binghamton Devils. Tickets are available and on sale for all five remaining home games in the 2021 season at phantomshockey.com
1st 11:27 – LV, L. Sandin (5) (B. Saulnier, C. Mueller) 1-0
3rd 3:28 – WBS, A. Angello (3) (P. Joseph, J. Currie) (PP, 5×3) 1-1
OT 1:36 – WBS, T. Schaller (9) (J. Currie, P. Joseph)
LV 42 – WBS 34
LV 0/3, WBS 1/4
LV – Felix Sandstrom (32/34) (3-2-2)
WBS – Alex D’Orio (41/42) (3-3-1)