Portland Hangs On Against Phantoms at Packed PPL Center

Lehigh Valley Nets Fifth Straight Sellout, 17th Sellout Overall

March 7, 2015

Lehigh Valley, PA – Andrew Gordon scored twice and Adam Comrie added a goal and an assist for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms Saturday evening but the Portland Pirates were able to hang on for a 5-4 win in front of 8,843 fans at PPL Center. Austin Fyten and Kevin Goumas also notched two assists each as the Phantoms earned a split in their weekend series in downtown Allentown.

P0307_0135The tightly-contested showdown featured yet another raucous crowd as Phantoms fans produced the team’s 17th standing room-only sellout of the season and fifth consecutive capacity crowd at the brand-new PPL Center. The 8,843 spectators on hand Saturday evening marked the fifth-largest crowd to enjoy a Phantoms game in downtown Allentown this season.

For Gordon, he converted his 16th and 17th goals of the season while recording his eighth multi-point game of the season and second two-goal effort this year. Meanwhile, the multi-point outing for Comrie was his third since joining the Phantoms via the Reading Royals in late December.

Scott Laughton also found the back of the net for the Phantoms as the blossoming 20-year-old forward produced his first marker in seven games since returning to Lehigh Valley after a 31-game stint with the Philadelphia Flyers.

Following the setback, the Phantoms moved to 26-24-6-1 overall this season and are now 14-10-4-1 at PPL Center. Lehigh Valley is now 11-5-1 in front of sold-out crowds.

Alexandre Buldoc paced the offensive effort for Portland with a goal and two assists while Dylan Reese, Jordan Martinook and Eric Selleck each contributed a pair of helpers for the Pirates.

Portland opened the scoring just under six and a half minutes into the contest when precision passing from the wing to the goal line and eventually into the slot produced Francis Wathier’s fourth goal of the season. Selleck and Darian Dziurzynski assisted on the even-strength strike netted 6:26 into the first period.

P0307_0626Lehigh Valley responded with a flurry though as the Phantoms rattled off three consecutive punishing shifts shortly thereafter en route to the equalizing marker. With physical work on the forecheck courtesy of Fyten, Goumas was able to circle behind the Pirates net before feeding a cross-crease pass to the back post that was expertly tapped in by Gordon. Goumas and Fyten assisted on Gordon’s 16th goal of the season, which evened the game at a goal apiece at the 12:08 mark of the opening frame.

Portland regained the lead just over two minutes later when Philip Samuelsson won a battle for a loose puck atop the Phantoms’ goal crease before sending in his third goal of the campaign. Lucas Lessio and Selleck assisted on the five-on-five conversion netted 14:10 into the first period.

The Pirates then stretched their lead to a two-goal advantage late in the middle stanza when, while on the power play, Bolduc sent a cross-ice pass to the left wing where Brendan Shinnimin promptly unleashed his 14th goal of the year. Reese grabbed the secondary assist on the man-advantage marker converted 16:52 into the second period.

Portland’s conversion snapped a string of 18 consecutive successful penalty kills by the Phantoms. Still, Lehigh Valley’s penalty kill has successfully killed 22 of the team’s last 25 man-down scenarios over the last seven games.

P0307_0305Lehigh Valley was quick to respond though as the Phantoms closed the deficit to just a single goal exactly one minute later when Comrie’s shot from the left point found daylight through a gritty net-front screen applied by Fyten and past Portland goaltender Mike McKenna. Powe garnered the primary assist while Fyten secured the secondary helper on the even strength goal tallied 17:52 into the middle frame.

The Pirates reclaimed their two-goal lead early in the third period when Henrik Samuelsson secured his 12th goal of the season just 3:09 into the final frame but the Phantoms were quick to respond again as Gordon’s power play conversion just 53 second later brought the tightly-contested affair back to a one-goal showdown. Bolduc and Martinook assisted on Samuelsson’s conversion while Comrie and Jason Akeson helped make Gordon’s second goal of the game and 17th tally of the year a reality.

Bolduc added an empty-net marker at the 18:22 mark of the third period before Laughton landed his seventh goal of the season with just 10 seconds remaining to cap the scoring in the back-and-forth tussle.

McKenna earned the victory in goal for the Pirates after 31 saves on 35 Lehigh Valley shots. Meanwhile, Rob Zepp suffered the setback between the pipes for the Phantoms despite 27 saves on 31 Portland offerings.

Both power plays checked in Saturday evening as Lehigh Valley went 1-for-5 with the man-advantage while the Pirates were 1-for-4 on the power play.

The Phantoms kick off a five-game road trip this Wednesday, March 11th when Lehigh Valley heads to Toronto to battle the Marlies. From there, the Phantoms grapple with the Providence Bruins on Friday, March 13th, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Saturday, March 14th and the Hartford Wolf Pack on Friday, March 20th before wrapping up the five-game road swing on Saturday, March 21st at the Worcester Sharks. Be sure to catch each of Lehigh Valley’s next five games on Fox 1470 AM, online at www.fox1470.com or via the iHeartRadio app. Coverage begins 45 minutes before puck drop with the Nazareth Pallet Countdown to Faceoff.

The Phantoms then return to downtown Allentown on Sunday, March 22nd when they welcome the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to town for another Pennsylvania rivalry showdown. Sunday’s contest features a FREE youth street hockey stick giveaway for the first 3,000 kids in attendance ages 14 and under. A limited number of tickets for Lehigh Valley’s next home game are available now at pplcenter.com, by calling 610-347-TIXX (8499) or in person at the Mealey’s Furniture Box Office at PPL Center (701 Hamilton).

Check it out! Reserve your season tickets now for the 2015-2016 season of Lehigh Valley Phantoms hockey. For more information on how to reserve your seat at PPL Center to the hottest ticket in town call the Phantoms front office today at 610-224-GOAL (4625)!

Portland Pirates 5 at Lehigh Valley Phantoms 4 – Status: Final
Saturday, March 7, 2015 – PPL Center

Portland 2 1 2 – 5
Lehigh Valley 1 1 2 – 4

1st Period-1, Portland, Wathier 4 (Selleck, Dziurzynski), 6:26. 2, Lehigh Valley, Gordon 16 (Goumas, Fyten), 12:08. 3, Portland, P. Samuelsson 3 (Lessio, Selleck), 14:10. Penalties-Laughton Lv (interference), 3:25; P. Samuelsson Por (high-sticking), 8:54; Laughton Lv (cross-checking), 14:41; Lauridsen Lv (interference), 19:44.

2nd Period-4, Portland, Shinnimin 14 (Bolduc, Reese), 16:52 (PP). 5, Lehigh Valley, Comrie 3 (Powe, Fyten), 17:52. Penalties-Wathier Por (holding), 2:41; H. Samuelsson Por (slashing), 6:36; H. Samuelsson Por (roughing), 16:17; Rosehill Lv (boarding, roughing), 16:17; McNeill Por (delay of game), 19:19.

3rd Period-6, Portland, H. Samuelsson 12 (Bolduc, Martinook), 3:09. 7, Lehigh Valley, Gordon 17 (Akeson, Comrie), 4:02 (PP). 8, Portland, Bolduc 15 (Reese, Martinook), 18:22 (EN). 9, Lehigh Valley, Laughton 7 (Goumas, Leier), 19:50. Penalties-Selleck Por (tripping), 3:14.

Shots on Goal-Portland 12-10-10-32. Lehigh Valley 11-8-16-35.
Power Play Opportunities-Portland 1 / 4; Lehigh Valley 1 / 5.
Goalies-Portland, McKenna 22-14-0 (35 shots-31 saves). Lehigh Valley, Zepp 15-11-1 (31 shots-27 saves).
Referees-Terry Koharski (10).
Linesmen-Bill Lyons (27), Jud Ritter (34).

Upcoming Home Games:

Sunday, March 22, 2015 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 5:05 PM
(Youth Street Hockey Stick Giveaway (first 3,000 kids ages 14 and under)! Charities Night!)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015 Syracuse Crunch vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 7:05 PM
($2 Beer Night! $2 Coors Light drafts available from the time doors open until the start of the 2nd period.)

Saturday, March 28, 2015 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 7:05 PM
(Faith Night! Post-Game Concert!)

In their 19th season of operation, the Phantoms are currently in the midst of their Inaugural Season as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms playing at the brand-new PPL Center. Established in 1996, the Phantoms spent their first 13 seasons at the Spectrum before re-locating to Glens Falls, New York in 2009 where the team spent the next five seasons as the Adirondack Phantoms. A new era of Phantoms hockey began in the fall of 2014 when the Lehigh Valley Phantoms began play at the state-of-the-art PPL Center. Through 18 incredibly successful campaigns, the Phantoms have captured two Calder Cup Championships (1998, 2005), two Conference Championships (1998, 2005), two Regular Season Titles (1996-97, 1997-98) and four Division Championships (1996-97, 1997-98, 1998-99, 2003-04).