Phantoms Rally Again in High-Scoring Win

Logan Day Breaks Late 5-5 Tie

March 12, 2022

Lehigh Valley, PA – The Phantoms rallied from a two-goal deficit for the second night in a row in defeating the Hartford Wolf Pack 6-5 in a wild game at PPL Center on Saturday night.

Logan Day (4th) scored the winner with 4:07 left on a terrific cross-ice pass by Linus Sandin from the left boards finding his teammate moving up for the backdoor play.

Hayden Hodgson (17th, 18th) and Cal O’Reilly (15th, 16th) each had a pair of goals for the Phantoms who trailed 4-2 at the first intermission but then struck thrice in the middle period to take a 5-4 lead in the see-saw affair.

Felix Sandstrom (10-13-3) had 22 saves on 23 shots in a relief effort to backstop the comeback victory.

Lehigh Valley (20-24-10) had also come back from a two-goal deficit on Friday when they trailed 3-1 only to surge ahead for a 4-3 victory against the Laval Rocket.

Cal O’Reilly opened the scoring five minutes into the game with his deflection of a Charlie Gerard point-shot for a 1-0 lead.

But Hartford responded quickly with Ty Ronning converting just 21 seconds later followed by a Zac Jones power-play strike from the left wing that beat starting goalie Kirill Ustimenko just 43 seconds after that. The quick spurt of three goals within 64 seconds saw the Wolf Pack hold a 2-1 advantage.

But O’Reilly got after it again. A Hayden Hodgson power-play blast from the left circle off goalie Keith Kinkaid created a scramble in the crease. A defenseman tried to tuck the puck under the pad of Kinkaid for a whistle but O’Reilly kept the play alive and nudged it into the cage for a tally that was officially unassisted because Hartford had established possession. Just nine minutes into the contest the score was already 2-2.

Hartford (27-17-8) didn’t stop there. Lauri Pajuniemi beat Ustimenko on his shot from the left wing for a 3-2 lead. And Austin Rueschoff slipped through the defense to bury a feed from behind the net that found the big winger’s stick in the low slot which he put to the upper-left corner for a 4-2 Wolf Pack advantage at the first intermission.

Lehigh Valley switched goalies in the second period and Sandstrom was tested quickly with a big stop on Anthony Greco to keep the margin at two.

Tanner Laczynski deflected a Logan Day center-point shot that beat Kinkaid to the base of the right post to pull the Phantoms to within a goal.

A few minutes later, Hayden Hodgson twice stole the puck in the Hartford zone. His first shot went off the glove of Kinkaid but when he pounced on a bouncing puck at the blue line again he then shot to the stick side and beat Kinkaid past his right shoulder to forge a 4-4 tie with 12:59 remaining in the second period.

The Phantoms kept up the pressure and Hodgson would go on to score the go-ahead goal with 1:04 remaining in the second period on Isaac Ratcliffe’s strong pass from the left corner finding Hodgson for the quick push through the pads of Kinkaid.

The PPL Center crowd exploded with the excitement as the Phantoms led 5-4 at the second intermission.

Hartford started to push back later in the third period and eventually tied the game on a goal for Matt Lorito from the left of the cage that was pushed his way across the slot. It was the only time Sandstrom would be beaten on the night and with 7:05 left the game was deadlocked at 5-5.

Lehigh Valley struck for the winner when Linus Sandin on the left boards somehow spotted a cutting Logan Day rushing up from right point to the right dot where he buried his one-timer with 4:07 remaining for a 6-5 lead.

Lehigh Valley had to kill a power play and eventually a 6-on-4 in the closing minutes. Adam Clendening had a key block on a big slapper right on top of him and the veteran defenseman’s long shift on the kill was pivotal in the Phantoms’ efforts to maintain the lead and was also the capper of his overall strong performance.

Sandstrom made a couple other big saves down low in the closing minutes with the desperate Wolf Pack squad generating several chances from in tight. Hartford out shot the Phantoms 14-8 in the third period with most of their shots coming in the last few minutes. Nils Lundqvist had a chanse in the closing minutes which Sandstrom athletically got to with the right pad.

Eventually, the Phantoms thrilled the Saturday night house as they hung on for the incredile win while equaling the team’s highest scoring game of the season.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms open a stretch of six consecutive away games on Sunday at 5:00 p.m. at the Hershey Bears.

1st 5:01 – LV, C. O’Reilly (15) (C. Gerard, M. Willman) 1-0
1st 5:22 – HFD, T. Ronning (123) (J. Richards, A. Greco) 1-1
1st 6:05 – HFD, Z. Jones (5) (N. Lundkvist, A. Rueschhoff) (PP) 1-2
1st 9:01 – LV, C. O’Reilly (16) (Unassisted) (PP) 2-2
1st 12:05 – HFD, L. Pajuniemi (9) (T. Fritz, Z. Jones) (PP) 2-3
1st 18:56 – HFD, A. Rueschhoff (14) (T. Fristz, M. Lorito) 2-4

2nd 3:48 – LV, T. Laczynski (2) (L. Day, M. Sushko) 3-4
2nd 7:01 – LV, H. Hodgson (17) (Unassisted) 4-4
2nd 18:56 – LV, H. Hodgson (18) (I. Ratcliffe, C. Zech) 5-4

3rd 12:55 – HFD, M. Lorito (4) (L. Pahuniemi, H. Skinner) 5-5
3rd 15:53 – LV, L. Day (4) (L. Sandin, E. Zamula) 6-5

LV 32 – HFD 35

LV 1/3, HFD 2/3

LV – K. Ustimenko (ND) (8/12)
LV – F. Sandstrom (W) (10-13-3) (22/23)
HFD – K. Kinkaid (L) (18-6-2) (26/32)

Lehigh Valley (20-24-10)
Hartford (27-17-7)