Ronnie Attard Scores Twice and Adds Assist
October 23, 2022
Lehigh Valley, PA – Rookie defenseman Ronnie Attard’s pair of goals were part of a three-point night to lead the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in an exciting Opening Weekend Finale. The Phantoms hung on with a hard-earned 5-4 win over the Cleveland Monsters on Sunday afternoon at PPL Center.
Lehigh Valley (2-1-1) earned three out of four points in their first two home games of the season and just missed their first hat trick of the campaign as Attard was denied on multiple efforts for the rest of the day. He had a point-blank chance as well as a 2-on-1 in the closing minutes of the first period as well as a shorthanded breakaway in the third that resulted in Willman’s rebound goal. Attard finished with a three-point performance, a season-high for Lehigh Valley.
It was a breathless finish for the Phantoms who had to hang on and kill a 6-on-4 for the last minute-and-a-half of the game. A big blocked shot by Jordy Bellerive in the closing seconds capped the victory.
Special teams were the order of the day in this one with the Phantoms converting on two power plays and tacking on a shorthanded goal while the Cleveland Monsters struck for three power-play goals in the topsy-turvy and frenetic contest.
The game was followed by a popular postgame photo opportunity with the players as fans were allowed onto the ice to meet their favorite Phantoms in the return of fan-interaction events to the Lehigh Valley home games. And the exciting contest was a terrific way to cap a thrilling Opening Weekend and the beginning of the team’s home schedule with a pair of heartstopping thrillers and electric crowds.
Tyson Foerster registered an exciting first goal of the season on a spin-o-rama in the right-circle to peel away from 1-on-2 coverage on the rush. And Max Willman scored on a rebound in the third period after Attard was denied on a shorthanded breakaway for the would-be hat trick. Garrett Wilson also registered his first of the season on an end-board rebound of a Cam York drive on the power play. Troy Grosenick racked up 39 saves for his second win of the season.
Cleveland (3-2-0) had a pair of goals from Trey Fix-Wolansky to pace their attack. His power-play blast from the left circle got the Monsters on the board first at 8:24 into the game.
But the Phantoms responded with two Attard conversions in the first period. The Western Michigan product had very similar goals at 11:30 into the first and then again a little over five minutes later. On both goals, he offered a hard wrister from the high slot to sizzle the puck past the glove of Cleveland goalie Jet Greaves. His first goal was set up by Alex Kile and Max Willman at even-strength and then he was left open on the power play in about the same spot for Jordy Bellerive and Olle Lycksell to connect with him again.
Brendan Gaunce for Cleveland scored his second goal of the weekend on an early second-period power play to knot the score again at 2-2.
But just 89 seconds later it was Cam York firing a power-play center-point drive off the end-boards for a perfect ricochet to Garrett Wilson who buried his first of the campaign. Cal O’Reilly received a secondary assist on the play for his first helper of the season and 536th of his career, eighth most in AHL history.
Carson Meyer lit the lamp with just 7.4 seconds left in the second period to again equalize for Cleveland with yet another power-play tally to forge a 3-3 deadlock at the second break.
Tyson Foerster’s first goal of the season was in typically spectacular fashion for the 2020 first-rounder. Garrett Wilson found Foerster up ice but he seemed well-covered in a 1-on-2. Foerster peeled away with a spin-o-rama and snapped off a quick release drive while fading away that found the net just 29 seconds into the third to put the Phantoms ahead for good at 4-3.
Cleveland was 3-for-3 on the power play and had another chance to even the score with an additional man advantage. But Attard instead emerged with a breakaway. His chance for the hatty was denied by the pads of Greaves but Willman was there to deposit the rebound to put the Phantoms ahead 5-3. It was the team’s first shorthanded goal of the season. Willman had two shorthanded tallies last year.
Fix-Wolansky scored on a 2-on-2 rush on a pass that was deflected in mid-air by Cal O’Reilly hustling back to defend. From just beneath his knees, Fix-Wolansky flipped the pick into the net for his second of the game to pull the Monsters back to within a goal.
Lehigh Valley had a late 5-on-3 with a chance to seal the win but the Monsters found a way to kill it off. At the end of the game, it was Cleveland with a power play and a pulled goalie for a 6-on-4 for almost the last 90 seconds but the Phantoms worked the clock down to zeros, with some more big blocks from Attard and Connauton among others as well as pivotal stops from Grosenick along the way, to finish the thrilling win.
The Phantoms continue their homestand during “Haunted on Hamilton” weekend with home engagements Friday and Saturday against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Bridgeport Islanders.
1st 8:24 – CLE, T. Fix-Wolansky (1) (G. Bayreuther, J. Christensen) (PP) 0-1
1st 11:30 – LV, R. Attard (1) (A. Kile, M. Willman) 1-1
1st 16:57 – LV, R. Attard (2 (J. Bellerive, O. Lycksell) (PP) 2-1
2nd 4:38 – CLE, B. Gaunce (3) (C. Meyer, E. Bemstrom) (PP) 2-2
2nd 6:07 – LV, G. Wilson (1) (C. York, C. O’Reilly) (PP) 3-2
2nd 19:52 – CLE, C. Meyer (2) (K. Marchenko, D. Jiricek) (PP) 3-3
3rd 0:29 – LV, T. Foerster (1) (G. Wilson) 4-3
3rd 5:22 – M. Willman (1) (R. Attard) 5-3
3rd 13:04 – T. Fix-Wolansky (3) (J. Richards, E. Bemstrom) 5-4
LV 29 – CLE 43
LV 2/6, CLE 3/6
LV – Troy Grosenick (W) (2-0-0) (39/43)
CLE – Jet Greaves (L) (2-2-0) (24/29)
Lehigh Valley (2-1-1)