Phantoms Rally for Standings Point at Hershey

Bears Snag 4-3 Shootout Decision

February 25, 2023

Hershey, PA – The Phantoms overcame a 3-1 deficit i the third period on goals by Wyatte Wylie (3rd) and Hayden Hodgs0n (3rd) to earn a valuable standings point but the Hershey Bears prevailed in the fourth round of the shootout in a wild 4-3 verdict on Saturday night at GIANT Center. Tyson Foerster (18th) also scored for Lehigh Valley in the first period and also in the third round of the shootout but Henrik Borgstrom’s goal in the fourth round gave the Bears the additional standings point.

Lehigh Valley (25-21-6) has earned standings points in each of the last three encounters (2-0-1) in the season series against Hershey and, in so doing, moved into a tie for fourth place in the Atlantic Division with the Springfield Thunderbirds while distancing themselves from Bridgeport who also took a regulation loss to fall further behind the Phantoms.

Both teams had strong opportunities to secure the win late in the game. Hershey had a power play with under three minutes remaining in the third period but the Phantoms’ penalty kill rose the occasion as did goaltender Nolan Maier was more big stops. Lehigh Valley had a 4-on-3 power play with 2:15 left in overtime but couldn’t solve Bears netminder Zach Fucale.

The Phantoms took the initial lead with a very strong start in which they limited Hershey to just two shots on goal in the opening frame representing a new season best for Lehigh Valley. Tyson Foerster (18th) scored late in the period after Garrett Wilson stole the puck from Fucale behind the net. Wilson’s attempt for a wraparound was denied on a spectacular and scrambly save for Fucale but the rebound popped out to Foerster in the slot who buried his opportunity into a partly open net for the 1-0 lead.

Hershey struck back with 14 shots on goal in the second period. Maier made several terrific saves throughout the night, including in the second frame. But the Bears took the lead on goals by Riley Sutter (4th) on a backdoor chip following a strong cross-ice connection by Joe Snively and then Garrett Pilon (7th) speeding up the middle to accept a similar feed from the corner by Hendrix Lapierre.

In between the Bears goals came a penalty shot opportunity for Bobby Brink who was slashed on a breakaway. But Fucale denied the rookie talent on Lehigh Valley’s first penalty shot attempt since November 2021 (German Rubstov).

The Bears boosted their lead to 3-1 early in the third period on a disputable goal when Mike Sgarbossa (18th) knocked in a cross-crease distribution from former Phantom Mike Vecchione. Ethen Frank’s shot off the shoulder of Nolan Maier popped out to Vecchione of the cage who swatted the puck across to Sgarbossa on the backdoor. The Phantoms contended that Vecchione’s stick was too high when he made contact but the officials stayed with the initial decision to allow the goal to stand.

The Phantoms surged back from a two-goal deficit for the second time in the last four games. Wyatte Wylie knocked home a long drive from the right point after Wilson won the puck on the right boards for his second assist of the game. Wylie’s strike with 15:26 left pulled the Phantoms to within a goal at 3-2.

Lehigh Valley briefly thought it was a tie game at 3-3 when Adam Brooks deflected a Wylie point drive past Fucale. But this time the officials did call a high-stick touch and negated the goal.

The Phantoms kept pushing and would eventually find the equalizer a few minutes later when Louie Belpedio connected with Hayden Hodgson with his feet moving across the Hershey line. Hodgson circled around and past a Hershey defenseman to create a mini-breakaway allowing him to beat Fucale past the right skate with 9:23 left thus forging a 3-3 tie.

Both teams traded strong chances, as well as power plays, in the third period and the overtime.

Joe Snively scored for Hershey in the second round and then Tyson Foerster evened it with his backhander on the stick side of Fucale in the third round. Borgstrom scored five-hole past Maier in the fourth round to give the Bears the win.

Lehigh Valley’s road trip continues with a Sunday game at 5:00 p.m. at the Bridgeport Islanders.

1st 16:18 – LV T. Foerster (18) (G. Wilson) (PP) 1-0

2nd 7:00 – HER R. Sutter (4) (J. Snively, B. Nardella) 1-1
2nd 13:38 – HER G. Pilon (7) (H. Lapierre, M. Morelli) 1-2

3rd 0:33 – HER M. Sgarbossa (18) (M. Vecchione, E. Frank) 1-3
3rd 4:34 – LV W. Wylie (3) (G. Wilson) 2-3
3rd 10:37 – LV H. Hodgson (3) (L. Belpedio, E. Zamula)

Penalty Shot: 2nd 8:15 – LV B. Brink, No Goal

LV J. Bellerive X, B. Brink X, T. Foerster GOAL, A. Anisimov X
HER C. McMichael X, J. Snively GOAL, M. Sgarbossa X, H. Borgstrom GOAL

LV 28 – HER 28

LV 1/4, HER 0/3

LV – N. Maier (SOL) (2-1-2) (24/27)
HER – Z. Fucale (W) (16-9-2) (25/28)

Lehigh Valley (25-21-6)
Hershey (32-12-7)


Phantoms Tickets are available HERE

Saturday, February 25 (7:00) at Hershey Bears
Sunday, February 26 (5:00) at Bridgeport Islanders
Friday, March 3 (7:00) at Syracuse Crunch
Saturday, March 4 (7:05) vs. TORONTO MARLIES

Saturday, March 4 (7:05) vs. Toronto Marlies – Slap Shot Night with Dave Hanson!

Sunday, March 5 (7:05) vs. Providence Bruins – Team Poster Giveaway and Postgame Autographs

Saturday, March 11 (7:05) vs. Belleville Senators – Hockey Fiesta Weekend

Sunday, March 12 (4:05) vs. Utica Comets – meLVin Youth Jersey Day (first 2,000 kids age 4 and younger) and Hockey Fiesta Weekend